How to Jump a Dead Battery

Somebody leaves a light on, or a door open, in your car and your battery loses all its charge.  The symptoms are obvious; when you go to turn the key to start the car, nothing happens – nothing makes a clicking sound, no lights come on. When that occurs, the fastest way to get it up and running is to “jump it” with another vehicle. We have a guide that will step you through it! Keep reading to learn how to jump a dead battery!

1. Find someone with a battery under their car’s hood (not in the trunk) that will give you a jump.
2. Make sure somebody has a good pair of jumper cables.
3. Bring the two vehicles close together.  Head to head is best but side-by-side is okay too.  Try and position the vehicles so that the two batteries are close to each other.
4. Make sure both vehicles are turned off.  Put automatic transmission cars in Park, manuals in Neutral.  Engage the parking brakes on both vehicles.
5. On the vehicles’ batteries, identify the terminal with “+” polarity sign (red) indicator for positive, and terminal with the “-” sign (black) indicator for negative. Those polarity signs are typically on the battery but you might have to wipe the battery off with a rag to see them.
6. Attach an end of the positive cable (red) clamp to the “dead” battery’s positive terminal. Attach the other end of the positive cable to the “good” battery’s positive terminal. (“Positive” goes to “positive”).
7. Attach an end of the negative cable to the “good” battery’s negative cable. Attach the negative cable’s other end to the negative terminal of the “dead” battery. (In other words, “negative” matches up with “negative”).
8. Start the good car’s engine. Allow it to run for about 4-5 minutes while giving the engine a bit of gas to pick up the idle speed.
9. Try to start the engine of the dead car. If it starts, remove the jumper cables and close the hood on both cars.
10. If the dead car does not make a loud clicking sound when you turn the key, the booster cables might not have great connections.  Try rocking the cable clamps back and forth a little bit to get the clamps to dig into the terminals. This is what the Service team at Patrick Hyundai, a full-service car dealership in Schaumburg, IL, says to try.

Note: if you don’t possess a set of jumper cables, you should buy some and keep them in your vehicle. You never know when you’ll want them.  Our advice is not to purchase the inexpensive $10-$20 cables because they usually have small gauge wires and may not pass enough current to start your vehicle.  Look for the heavier cables, generally $30 and up.  They will be fantastic cables that you can count on.

A dead battery happens to every car owner at some point. It is only wise to be prepared!

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