How to Use a Jump Starter

Using a jump starter to give your car battery a boost when it is dead can be a little bit daunting. Many people are nervous about handling high voltage electricity, especially when it involves their vehicles!

It all seems very technical, almost like in the movies when the characters have to disable a bomb. Use the blue wire, no the red one!

Well, rest assured that using a jump starter for your car is actually much simpler than that-and definitely less dangerous!

This guide will give you a step-by-step description of how to safely and effectively use a jump starter to give your battery the boost that it needs to get you back on the road.

Determine that your battery is actually dead

While a dead car battery is certainly annoying, it’s hardly the worst thing that can happen to your car. When you turn the key in the ignition and the car won’t start, there could be many reasons why.

Before grabbing your jump starter, it’s important to determine whether your battery is really the cause of the problem.

Sometimes your dashboard will have a light shaped like a battery that will let you know of trouble brewing. But if your battery is really dead, that light may not even come on. In that case, here a few signs that your car battery is dead:

a) You hear a clicking noise. The clicking is a tell tail sign of a dead battery

b) The dashboard lights blink but the car wont turn on

c) You hear a humming noise, like the engine is trying to start

d) Your car won’t turn on at all

Make sure your battery isn’t leaking/frozen/ is safe to charge

Never try and jump-start a frozen battery. If the weather is very, very cold, and you suspect the battery might not be working because it is frozen, do not attempt to use a jump-starter. Doing so can be dangerous.If you see that the battery is any way damaged or leaking, do not attempt to jump- start it, as it could be dangerous.

Park and turn off the car

Never perform any battery maintenance when the car is on. Put the car in park and turn it off.

Locate your battery

The first step to shocking a battery back to life is opening the hood of your car to expose the battery. Different cars have different mechanisms.

Sometimes you can simply press on the hood and it will pop up, other times you need to press a release from inside the front drivers seat. Refer to your cars manual if you are unsure how to pop the hood.

Examine your jump starter

Make sure it is not damaged, wet, or otherwise compromised. Make sure the cables are in good shape and that the alligator clips are not rusty and are in good condition. Make sure the jump starter battery is charged.

Attach the jump starter to your car battery

Make sure that the jumper cables are plugged into the jump starter. Then, locate the two alligator clamps attached to the cords.

It is very important to use the correct clips, as they are absolutely not interchangeable. Using them incorrectly can lead to injury, so be very careful.

The red clamp is “POSITIVE”(+) and the black clamp is “NEGATIVE” (-). It is important to clamp them onto the battery in the correct order.

First, clamp the red “positive” clamp to the side of the battery that shows a “+” sign.

Second, Clamp the black “negative” clamp to the other side of the battery, which will be indicated by a “-“ sign.

Plug in or turn on your jump starter

If you have a battery-operated jump-starter, look for an “on/off” switch. Not all jump starters have one, some models are always “live” and do not need to be switched on.

Leave the clamps attached to the battery, and start your vehicle. Do it once. If it doesn’t immediately work, wait a bit and try again. If it still won’t work, don’t keep trying and call a professional.

If the vehicle starts, remove the clamps from the battery. Turn off the jump starter if your model has an “on/off” switch.

After your car is running, drive around in your car for at least 20 minutes to give your battery a chance to charge. If it doesn’t have sufficient time to charge, you might find a dead battery when you try again and you may need to jump start the car a second time,

Check your jump starter

Check the battery on your jump starter to make sure you keep it in operating condition. If it is a battery operated charger, make sure to charge it until it is full, so the next time you need to jump start your battery you will be ready.