How to Jumpstart a Car

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Everyone show know how to jumpstart a car. It is an important facet of driver safety, and should probably be getting taught in driver’s education classes all over the world. Knowing how to jump your car, yourself, can save you time and money.

If you’re like most people, and you aren’t technologically savvy, these steps may cause you some anxiety. Not to fear, it is highly unlikely, and practically impossible, that you will electrocute yourself while attempting to jumpstart your car. Now, there is a possibility that you will shock yourself, but it’s not anything that’ll result in your untimely death. There is, however, a possibility of causing the car battery to explode. So whatever you do, do not attach the black, negative cable to the negative terminal of your car, under any circumstances. Attaching that negative cable to your car will cause an explosion. This explosion will send battery acid and pieces of the battery flying into the air.

Tow truck companies make the majority of their money on people who do not know how to perform the basic things their car needs to keep driving: jumps and flat tires. A tow truck can charge anywhere between $35-$75 just to put it on the flatbed, but will then charge $2-$5 per mile to drop it off. Those miles will add up, depending on where your car stopped, and where your mechanic is located. Your best and cheapest option may be to jumpstart your car yourself.

How Do I Jump Start My Car?

The only things you need to successfully jumpstart your car yourself is a pair of jumper cables and another car.

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To safely jump your car, follow these steps:

  1. Position both cars so they are facing each other, but not touching.
  2. Make sure that both cars are turned off.
  3. Engage the parking brake on both cars.
  4. Open the hoods of both cars.
  5. Locate the batteries.
  6. Pull out your jumper cables.
  7. Attach one positive (red) cables to the positive terminal on your battery.
  8. Attach the other end of the positive (red) cable to the positive terminal on the other car.
  9. Attach one of the black cables to the negative terminal on the other car.
  10. Attach the other end of the black cable to a metal (unpainted) surface, away from the battery.
  11. Start the other car and let the engine run for a few minutes.
  12. Attempt to start your car.
  13. If it works, unhook the cables in the reverse order that they were connected, but do not turn off your engine.
  14. Drive or just let the car run for at least 30 minutes, to recharge your battery.

Why do car batteries need a jump?

If your car won’t start the next time you attempt to drive it, you may need to replace your battery, because it should hold a charge. Most batteries have a lifespan of 4-6 years. If yours is past the 6 year mark, it’s safe to say you may need to go ahead and replace it as soon as possible.

If the battery is in good health, but your car still isn’t starting properly, there may be another issue:

  • Starter connection
  • Battery corrosion
  • Old spark plugs
  • Cracked fuel pump
  • Alternator
  • Fuses
  • Ignition switch
  • Wheel lock
  • Ran out of gas
  • Frozen fuel line

This is a list of things to see your mechanic about. You should only allow a certified professional mechanic to do work on your car. It is probably more appealing to go the cheaper route and hire an alley mechanic to take care of your car problems; however, if something goes wrong, you will have a leg to stand on. Plus, you can trust that the person will actually know what they are doing, since they actually went to school for it. Professional mechanics are reliable, they will present you with all of the issues and allow you to make the best decision, and they consider the safety of you and your car.

What should I do after I jump my car?

Keep in mind that some mechanics will try to bombard you with more problems than you were prepared to handle, but an honest mechanic will tell you what is pertinent to your safety and what will get your car back up and running. It is best to know the basic information about your car, to avoid being swindled and told misinformation. If you allow an unlicensed mechanic to work on your vehicle, you run the risk of voiding the warranty on parts, and maybe even your entire vehicle.

When searching for a licensed mechanic, a great place to start is your car dealership. Most car dealerships have service stations attached to them for your convenience. If you did not happen to buy your car from a dealership with a service center, you can use a search engine to find thousands of listings of professional mechanics in your area.

Knowing how to jumpstart your own car is an important skill to have, it can essentially save you time and money. It is important to always be safe and make good decisions while working under the hood of your car. If your car still won’t turn over after you have jumped it, take it to your local licensed mechanic, and figure out what the actual problem is.

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