How to Safely Jump-Start a Car
Jump-starting a car is easy, but you should do it with caution. Since the battery is located in the engine compartment, where flammable gases may be present, a spark could set off a fire. Connecting the jumper cables in the right order will minimize the chance of sparking.
- Place both vehicles in Park or Neutral and shut off the ignition in both cars. Engage both parking brakes as well.
- Open the hood of each car to locate each battery and its terminals. In some cases, the battery itself may be hidden, with remote positive (+) and negative (-) posts provided for jump-starting instead.
- Clamp one of the positive (red) jumper cable ends to the dead battery’s positive battery terminal. Be sure the clamp “bites” onto the battery terminal to provide a strong electrical connection.
- Clamp the other end of the positive jumper cable to the positive battery terminal in the booster car. Again, confirm that a plus sign is next to the battery terminal. Connect the negative cable end to the negative battery terminal in the booster car. Now that the negative cable is connected to the battery terminal, you can attach the other end to an unpainted metal surface on the engine of the car with the dead battery.
- Start the vehicle with the dead battery and let the two vehicles idle for a few minutes. Once the jump-started vehicle is running smoothly, carefully disconnect the jumper cables, reversing the connection order. The first cable you remove (the negative one that’s attached to the formerly dead battery) is the most critical.
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