Jump Starting Your Car in 6 Easy Steps - Service Information at Capitol Chevrolet

Turning the key in your ignition in the morning only to find that the battery is dead can be a frustrating experience. Whether it's because you left the lights on overnight, the battery is nearing the end of its life, or there's something else that's caused the battery to drain, the result is the same: your car won't start. If you have access to a set of jumper cables and another car that is working, you can likely perform a jump start. This is a simple enough task, but it's important that you know the right steps--and the right order in which to do them. Whether you've never jumped a car before or you just need a refresher, you'll find the steps below.

With both vehicles close to each other, begin attaching the cables in the right order 

Step 1: Make Sure Both Vehicles Are Ready

Before you start, you should make sure that the two vehicles are ready. First off, make sure that the engine compartments are within reach of the jumper cables. Then, ensure that both cars are turned off and automatic transmissions are in park and manual transmissions are in neutral with the parking brake on in either case. Then, pop the hoods of both cars.

Step 2: Attach the Positive Cable Clamps

You'll start off by attaching the positive ends of the cables. Usually, these are the red cables and they connect to the battery post or terminal indicated with a plus sign. Begin by attaching one end to the positive battery terminal of the car with the dead battery. Then, connect the other end to the positive battery terminal of the donor vehicle.

Attaching and detaching the cables in the right order is important 

Step 3: Attach the Negative Cable Clamps

After this, it's time to attach the negative clamps, which are usually black in color. Begin by attaching one clip to the negative battery terminal of the donor vehicle, which is indicated by a minus sign. Then, attach the other end to an unpainted metal surface in the car with the dead battery. Make sure that you do not attach this clamp to the battery terminal, but to an unpainted metal surface that's away from the battery. Some vehicles have metal components specifically designed for this purpose.

Be sure to give the dead vehicle a few minutes to charge once you've started the donor car 

Step 4: Start the Donor Vehicle

Once all the cables are attached, start the vehicle with the good battery. Let it idle for a few minutes so that it can send some power to the battery in the other vehicle. Gently revving the engine of the donor car may also help as this will spin the alternator faster.

Step 5: Start the Dead Vehicle

Next up, it's time to cross your fingers and hope that the battery was the problem. If the car doesn't start right away, don't keep trying over and over again. Instead, wait a few minutes to give it extra time to get power from the working battery. After a few minutes, try it again. If you're still not having any luck, the battery may be bad or there could be something else causing the no start conditions.

Step 6: Remove Clamps in Reverse Order

Once the jump start has been successful, it's time to remove the clamps. Make sure to do this in reverse order. That is, you should remove the negative clip from the formerly dead car, and then the other negative clip from the donor vehicle. Then, remove the positive clip from the donor vehicle, and end by removing the positive clip from the vehicle that had been dead. Be sure not to stop the engine; instead, give it at least ten minutes for the battery to recharge. We recommend driving to a dealership service center so you can have the battery inspected.

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