Most of us have been there: you get up in the morning, get ready, run out the door, finally sit down in the car, turn the key, and are filled with a sense of dread when nothing happens.
You hope that it’s just a fluke and you try again, but to no avail. The lights on the dashboard are either flashing or won’t turn on at all, your car shudders and makes a futile humming noise. There’s no denying it: your battery is dead.
There are a lot of reasons a car battery can die; just leaving an internal light in the car overnight can be enough. Or you may have left your headlights on. Sometimes batteries just get old and need to be replaced.
Other times, you can save your battery (and your sanity!) by just giving your car battery a little boost. For times like these, you’ll want to have a jump starter.
When you think of a dead car battery, you might have this picture in mind: two frustrated people standing at the side of the road next to their vehicles with the hoods up, their cars hooked together with what look like electrical cords.
These people, one of whom is usually a Good Samaritan helping out a fellow traveler, are trying to restart a dead battery. The car with the good battery is giving a boost to the car with the dead battery.
But you won’t always have another car at your disposal. This is when a jump starter comes in handy. Whether they are battery operated or need to be plugged in, these handy devices will provide the electrical voltage needed to give your battery a jolt.
Most jump starters will not continue to charge your battery for you, they simply supply that quick and powerful bolt of electricity that your car battery needs to get going. Then, most times you drive around for a while so the battery has a chance to recharge.
A jump starter, also known as a “booster,” is a portable electrical device used for the transmission of energy from an external power source to your cars battery. It is essentially a charger (powered either by a powerful internal battery or via an electrical outlet) with two cables. One cable is negative and the other is positive.
At the end of each cable is an alligator clip, usually one red and one black. The voltage contained in the jump starter, when properly connected to your car’s battery via the alligator clips, is enough to give your car the spark of energy it needs to begin charging itself again.
A jump starter is something that most people can use with just a little bit of practice. They come in many different sizes, voltages, and shapes. Some jump starters are big bulky things that need to be stored in the trunk of your car, others are so small they can fit right in your glove compartment or even in your pocket!
While all jump starters contain the same basic elements (a power source, two cables, and two alligator clips) many of them include other extra features such as a flashlight, a compass and/or an air compressor to inflate tires, etc.
These handy extras make jump starters a multifaceted tool that can be used to charge your personal electronics such as cellphones, tablets or laptops during outdoor activities, like camping or hiking, as well as for automobile emergencies.
All reputable jump starters are also equipped with a variety of safety features. Even though jump-starting a car is a common enough occurrence for car owners, it still involves dealing with high voltage of electricity, and jump starters are made with safety in mind. Many jump starters contain functions that prevent problems such as over voltages, sparks, and short-circuiting.
A jump starter is an important tool for most vehicle owners to have. There are many different types, and the different models, from bare bones simple to dressed up with extra gadgets, there is a jump starter for every budget.
They are simple to use and a safe solution to a very common car problem. You won’t need it often, but it’s likely that one day your car battery will die. And you’ll be very glad you have a jump starter!