How to Jump your Car and Make Sure it Starts Again

  • May 11, 2021
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One day you’re driving along and you park in a parking lot to go get some groceries or a new hat. Maybe you sit in your car for a few minutes talking on the phone to your cousin Darrell. Or maybe you just get out of the car. Either way, when you return you go to put your key in the ignition and nothing happens: No lights turn on, the key doesn’t roll over, your car is officially dead. Well don’t call the coroner just yet! Your vehicle is probably fine. The battery is just dead, but it can be recharged!

The big question when this happens is: do you have jumper cables? This makes the situation a lot easier. We recommend everyone keep a set of jumper cables in their car. But if you don’t, you need to find someone who does. Ask people around you if they’re able to help and you will likely find someone willing to give you a jump. They drive up to your car so your hoods are close, you both pop the hoods of your vehicles open, but now what?

Start by ensuring both vehicles are in park and are turned off. Next, attach one of the red clips to the positive terminal of your battery, and attach the other red clip to the positive terminal of the other car. The positive clip will have a “POS” or “+” on it, or it’s bigger than the negative terminal. Then attach one of the black clips to the negative terminal on the other car’s battery and attach the last black clip to an unpainted metal surface on your car that isn’t near the battery.

Once the cables are all in place, you can now start the other car. Give it a few minutes to run before trying your own. If it’s been a few minutes and your car still won’t start, check the connections and let the vehicle run a few more minutes. If your car’s battery is still dead it may be beyond help and we recommend calling a tow truck to take it to Warrenton Auto for a new battery installation.

So how can you keep this from happening to you? There are a few things you can do to make sure your battery stays charged and lasts you a long time. The biggest one is to run your car regularly and for more than just a few minutes each time. Giving your car a 15-20 minute drive is good for it and will ensure the battery will stay charged.

There are some big no’s you should avoid as well. A common way people kill their car battery is by sitting in it and listening to music with their lights on. Without the motor running your battery may not have enough power in it to sustain that energy draw and turn on again later. So just remember not to keep the radio on for more than a minute or two without the car running. 

Lastly, get your battery regularly replaced. When you take your car in for its oil change, ask them to test the battery for you. This will help you understand how much life your car battery has left, and when you need to take it in to be replaced before it completely dies on you. Every 3 years is a good rule of thumb for most battery replacements. 

If you need your battery changed, get in touch with our experts at Warrenton Auto. Our team will have you back on the road with a new battery in no time so you can drive with confidence.