How to Jump a Car

6 Simple Steps

The knowledge of how to jumpstart a car with a failing battery is essential for every driver out there since it can help you deal with an emergency situation and get you back on the road.

Here’s how to jump start a car in six simple steps.


car interior steering wheel

First, park the car that has the healthy battery in front of the failing one in a bumper to bumper arrangement, and as close as possible but without them touching. With the two cars and all of their subsystems (radio, headlights, etc.) turned off.

Be Safe

glove leather safety

Ensure that you remove any rings or bracelets, that you don’t stand on wet surfaces and that you have adequately covered the battery compartment in the case that it is raining.

If you have gloves in the car, wear them.

Negative and Positive

jump start car battery dead

Identify the negative and positive poles of the healthy battery and start by removing the negative one first.

To be able to tell them apart, try to locate any “+” or “-” markings on them.

If there are no markings, the bigger pole is usually the positive terminal. Make sure that you have identified the poles correctly as this is quite important. If the poles are too dirty from dried acid residue, try to rub them with some baking soda.


jump start car battery

Connect the two positive terminals by using the red cable, starting with the dead battery.

Then connect the black cable clamp to the negative pole of the healthy battery and the other end of the cable to the metallic rod holding the hood of the dead battery car.

If this is impossible, connect it to another point that is away from the battery compartment, is also metallic, and is preferably not painted so it has good grounding/conduction properties.

Make sure that the black and red cables are not entangled or touching each other. Also, make sure that they don’t rest upon belts that will start moving once the engine is turned on.

Start the Engine

car engine battery

Start the engine of the healthy battery car and let it run at idle for a couple of minutes so it gradually charges the failing battery of the other car. The ideal way to do this is to maintain an rpm level of about 600-900 for one minute.

Test the Battery

car test drive nature beautiful

After a minute has passed, try to start the dead battery car. If it starts, get out and remove the clamps in the reverse order in which you attached them.

Do not turn off the failing battery car now as you may have to repeat the charging again. If the car won’t start, try a three-minute charge.

If that still doesn’t work, your battery or alternator or both have failed completely. 

Knowing how to do the above is essential for every car owner. Remember, safety comes first, so make sure that you follow all of the procedures described in this quick guide without deviation and you’ll be fine. Finally, having your own jumper cables on your car will make it easier to deal with an emergency situation as finding a working car is much easier than finding a working car with jumper cables.

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