Step-by-step guide: Conventional and Modern ways to jump-start a vehicle.

Flat batteries in vehicles are a nuisance to all drivers, and the solution is to jump-start the vehicle. On occasions, this problem may be more substantial than originally thought and you will need professional assistance to fix this issue. Further implications can arise if those who jump-start their vehicle do not follow the process correctly.

If you are eager to complete this task by yourself, please read the instructions in your driver handbook and follow those steps if they are different to the instructions below.



Safety with jump leads:

It is important to remember that all batteries used in vehicles produce flammable gases. Learn how to check the battery and jump leads safely:

  • Do not jump-start a vehicle if the flat battery looks damaged or is leaking.
  • Do not use jump leads that are damaged.
  • It is important to stop using the jump leads if they get hot.

 Safety in your environment:

  • Do not smoke or have a flame near the vehicle when going through the jump-starting process.
  • Remove clothing which can get caught in the engine parts such as a scarf or tie.
  • Remove anything metal, such as rings, necklaces, clips, stray wires etc. If the battery is on and in contact with another metal object, it has the potential to cause a spark and make the battery explode.

 Conventional step-by-step guide to jump-start a car

You will need a fully functioning vehicle to proceed with this process. Make sure the vehicle has a charged battery and the vehicle used is similar in battery voltage as your own (usually 12 volts).

  1. Positioning of vehicles.
  • Park the cars next to or opposite one another (not touching).
  • Put the handbrakes on and make sure the vehicle ignition is off.
  1. Connecting the red jump lead.
  • Use the red jump lead and connect it to the flat battery’s positive (+) station as well as the working battery’s positive (+) station.
  1. Connecting the black jump lead.
  • Attach the black jump lead to the negative (-) station on the working battery.
  • With the opposite end of the black jump lead, attach it to an earthing point (chassis or unpainted metal on the engine block) away from the fuel system and flat battery.
  1. Starting the other car.
  • It is important to keep both vehicle engines off and wait for a total of 3 minutes, then start the fully functioning vehicle, and let it run for a minute.
  1. Start the flat battery vehicle.
  • Wait a couple of minutes and then turn the engine with the flat battery on.
  1. Leave them to run.
  • Leave both vehicles running once turned on for several minutes (roughly 10 minutes).
  1. Turn off and disconnect.
  • Once the time is completed, turn off both vehicles, remove the keys and then carefully disconnect the leads in the opposite order to how they were first connected (removing the black lead from the flat battery car first and finishing with the red lead from the functioning car.)
  • Please ensure that both leads do not touch either car or one another when removing them.
  1. Restart your car.
  • With the flat battery vehicle, please try turning the key in its ignition to see if your car will start.

If your car does not start, then there can be a more serious problem which will need to be seen by a professional.

Modern method to jump-start a car

You will need a jump starter battery pack to proceed with this process.

  1. Keep the flat battery vehicle off with the keys out of the ignition.
  2. Using the battery pack, connect the RED positive cable to the positive thermal on the battery.
  3. Proceed to connect the BLACK negative cable to the engine block or a non-conductive piece of metal in your car.
  4. Once both cables are connected correctly, you can turn on the portable jump starter battery pack. Leave the vehicle still switched off.
  5. After a couple of minutes, proceed to switch on the vehicle and it should start. This is because the flow of electricity from the device will have travelled in the battery of the car.

How to remove jump leads: step-by-step guide

When removing the jump leads, this process will be in the opposite order when using the conventional or modern method. Here are the correct steps to remove jump leads.

  • Make sure to switch off the engines on both vehicles or vehicle and battery pack.
  • Take the black jump lead off the earthing point (chassis or unpainted metal on the engine block). For the battery pack, it will be the same.
  • Following the above point, remove the other end of the black jump lead from the charged battery’s negative (-) station. Will not be relevant for the battery pack.
  • Now remove the red from the charged battery’s positive (+) station. Will not be relevant for the battery pack.
  • Remove the other end of the red lead from the positive (+) station on the flat battery. Do the same for the battery pack.
  • Make sure the jump leads do not touch either or any metal.

What to do after the process has worked:

If the vehicle has jump-started, you will need the alternator to put the charge back in the battery fully. To do so, drive the vehicle like normal for as long as possible (30 minutes is enough) without using the vehicle lights or radio for an efficient recharge. Avoid driving in stop-start traffic.

When to change a car battery?

A car battery should only be changed when it displays symptoms of deterioration. However, the average car battery should last between three to four years. Take into equation different models and brands, some batteries may last longer than four years and some may need changing more frequently.

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