WHAT DO YOU NEED TO JUMP A CAR?
Before you can recharge and get going, you need a few basics:
- Jumper cables
- Power source – either a portable jump battery (a jump box) or another vehicle
Jumper cables are long, thickly insulated cables with toothy clips on one or both ends. These clips are called alligator clips (because they look like alligator heads). The clips are distinguished by color, usually red and black, to indicate positive and negative polarity. The red clip is positive. The black clip is negative.
Jump boxes—portable batteries used to jump start a vehicle without connecting to another vehicle—come with special jump cables. These cables connect the jump battery directly to the dead car battery. Road side assistance usually uses a jump box when helping stalled vehicles.
What you need to know about car batteries to jump start a car
Car batteries have two larger nubs, called terminals. There is a positive terminal and a negative terminal. Each should be clearly marked. Connecting cables to the right terminal is important to completing the circuit and gives power to the dead battery.
- Positive terminal – The positive terminal is usually the bigger of the two terminals. It is marked with “POS” or “+”. It will connect to the positive clip on the jumper cable, which is usually red.
- Negative terminal – The negative terminal on the battery is usually marked with “NEG” or “-“. This will attach to the other clip, which is usually black.
Cautions when jump starting a car:
- READ THE OWNER’S MANUAL. Some cars are not recommended for jump starting because they have sensitive circuitry
- DO NOT JUMP corroded, cracked, leaking, or visibly damaged batteries
- DO NOT JUMP frozen batteries
- DO NOT JUMP dry batteries
- DO NOT TOUCH CLIPS together. This is true when connected, but get in the habit by never touching the cilps together.
What if the car doesn’t start after the jump start?
If the dead car doesn’t start after a few minutes of being powered then:
- Check the connections and repeat letting the car giving the jump run.
- Try starting the car again.
- If the car does not start after several attempts, the battery may be too far gone to be jump started