There’s nothing quite like that sinking feeling you get when you hop in your car, ready to face the day, and… it won’t start. Your battery is officially dead, and your perfect “get to work on time” streak is officially over.
If you have a set of jumper cables, and a person (with a vehicle) who’s willing to help, and can tell the difference between the colors red and black, chances are you’ll be able to jump-start the car at least until you can take it in to see a mechanic. One quick warning before we begin, if either your vehicle or the “helper” vehicle has an electronic ignition system or uses any type of alternative fuel, using jumper cables might damage it!
Five Steps to Jump-Starting a Vehicle
- Make sure both vehicles are in Park or Neutral, and turn off the ignition of both cars. It wouldn’t hurt to engage both parking brakes either.
- Attach one red clip to the POSITIVE terminal of YOUR battery. (It should either say “POS” or “+”)
- Attach the other red clip to the POSITIVE terminal of the OTHER car’s battery.
- Attach one of the black clips to the NEGATIVE terminal on the OTHER car’s battery.
- Attach the last black clip to an unpainted metal surface on your car that isn’t near the battery. (This is important!!) You could use one of the metal struts that holds open the hood.
Here’s what your situation should look like:
Now, try to start your vehicle! Hopefully you’ll be on your way, but if not, double check that all the wires are connected properly, and have your friend run his engine for a couple minutes. If you still can’t start your car, you might need to replace your battery. Schedule an appointment for a free battery check at a Sears Auto Center near you!