How to Jump a Battery in a Few Quick Steps

Jumper Cables How To

To find jumper cables locally, key in “Jumper cables Walmart” or “jumper cables Autozone.” Be sure to select heavy-duty jumper cables to get you through tough times. Why did we show this picture above? Because the clamps have rust on them and you need to remove such rust with an emery cloth or a piece of sandpaper because any deposit on the cables or on the battery posts could reduce the charge you are getting. Rub the teeth of the cables with an abrasive to expose shiny metal for the best connection.


1—How to check car battery power? Insert key in the ignition or if it is a keyless starter, push the starter button to try to start the car. If the engine does no turn over or if it turns over sluggishly, there may be an issue with the battery. The battery could have been drained of power if the headlights were left on or if the battery is old and no longer functions properly.

2—Call a friend with a car or find a person who will help you “jump start” your car by connecting cables between your car’s battery and the second car’s battery.

3—Once you have a car with a strong battery to help you, the two cars need to be brought as close together as possible, side-by-side or head-to-head is usually best. If you are reading this page to learn how to jump start a dead car battery and are assembling the various equipment you would need in case of an emergency, buy cables with 16- to 20-foot cables. Get heavy-duty cables in which one is red and the other is black. We will explain in a moment. You can get cables that are only eight feet long and under ideal conditions those cables will reach from one car to another. Rarely, it seems, are there ideal conditions when you battery needs a jump start. Usually it is freezing cold or snowing or both.  Next, attach the jumper cables. Learn how to do this, not relying on someone else. It is simple and once you “get it,” you will keep the knowledge with you for all emergencies.

4–How to put on jumper cables? How to connect a car battery to jumper cables is simple and easy if you remember two things: you need to connect the positive terminal in your car with a cable to the positive terminal in the car that is helping you. How to connect jumper cables begins by looking at the two jumper cables and realizing that one cable is typically a black cable with clamps and the other is a red cable with clamps as in the picture above and below.

5–Bring the two cars that will be used in this jumping process as close together as necessary, depending on the length of the cable that you have. Do not let the two cars touch each other!

A Car battery with red and black battery Jumper or booster cables with copper clamps attached to the terminals. This shows how to hook up jumper cables and if you have a spare battery handy you can jump start car without another car, but the extra battery has to be fully charged to work at its best.

6—Turn off the engines of both cars and put both cars in park before connecting the cables. First connect the red cable, the positive cable to your car battery’s positive terminal that is marked with a (+) by squeezing open the clamp and clamping it around the terminal and the holder that is already in place that furnishes your car with electricity.  Then take the other end of the cable and connect it to the positive terminal in the helper car at the terminal marked (+). Now take the negative cable, the black cable, and connect it to the negative terminal in your car, marked by a (-). Now you have to be careful because any metal part of the other car that you touch with the metal clamp will make an electrical connection and likely spark. As you connect the negative cable to the helper car negative terminal, it will spark.

7—Before you try to jump start your car, allow the other driver to start his or her engine and rev it up slightly, which causes electrical energy to run into the battery. This helps keep the helper car battery fully charged as you try to start your car. If everything else is in working order, your car should start rather quickly.

8—Always make sure your headlights are off and all other systems that could drain the battery such as the radio or air conditioning are turned off.

9—If you try starting the car for a few minutes and it does not start, chances are you might have “flooded” the carburetor with fuel and you might need a few minutes for that fuel to drain away or evaporate before trying to start it again.

10—Whether or not you get the car started, you need to remove the cables in the proper order after jumping the car. Remove the negative cable from the helper car without touching any other metal, and then remove the negative cable from your car. Now the connection is broken and the positive cable can be removed in any order without sparking.

11—If your car has been started, it needs to run for half an hour or more for the battery to charge up. If you turn off your engine shortly after you get a jump start, the battery could well be too weak to start your car they next time you try, so keep it running.

12 —The individual who helped you with his or her car, also needs to let their car run for awhile to recharge the battery as the electrical energy in that formerly fully charge battery could have been substantially drained trying to start your car.

13—If you were not able to start your car, you need to bite the bullet and call a mechanic to look at your car. It could be that the battery is in such poor condition that it was not able to accept a charge from the helper car. It also could be that the car’s starting motor is bad. It could be a hundred different things that only a qualified mechanic can discover. [For example, on a freezing cold day, the gas line of your car could freeze due to a build up of moisture in the gas tank. You could try over and over to start your car, but if there is gas-line freeze, you need to put an additive in the gas tank to remove the moisture. Then the car needs above freezing temperatures for the freeze to melt. Now, with an additive in the gas, the car should start. What could occur in such a situation is that your battery to wear down as you keep trying to start  your car over and over. So in addition to a gas additive, you might well need a jump start as well to get the car running.]

14—What if there is no car available to jump start your car? If you can access an emergency battery pack, you can connect the cables of that battery pack to your car’s battery and jump start it that way. You can also keep an extra battery handy for such emergencies, but it needs to be regularly charged it could be drained of energy just when you need it.

15—If you own a manual transmission car or truck, you can start it as follows: You need to have a vehicle on an incline. Put the car in second gear, turn the ignition on, push in the clutch and begin rolling down the incline. When the car or truck gets up to a speed 25 to 30 miles per hour, pop the clutch to engage the engine. All things being equal, the car or truck should sputter and start. Once it starts, rev it to drive electrical energy into the battery and keep it running for half an hour or longer.

EMERGENCY TIP: If you were to connect the car boost cables to your car battery and then touch the other ends together, it creates a powerful spark, on that could harm you if you touched it. But that powerful spark could come in handy if you are every stranded somewhere in your car without matches and need to create a campfire to keep warm. Connect those cables and touch then together with a piece of paper and a fire will start quickly. Use this to start a regular campfire. If you are stranded on a road or ditch in the cold and need to keep warm, don’t run your car engine for six hours and use up all of your fuel. Instead, start the fire as above and build a healthy fire alongside of your car. Not so close that the car catches on fire, but close enough that the whole structure of the car is warmed. This will allow you to stay in your car and keep relatively warm while waiting for help. It also doesn’t hurt to have a nice, bright fire going at night to alert rescuers and to keep large animals away.

How to Buy the Best Jumper Cable for Your Situation

When you select new jumper cables from a local automotive story or from the list below, you should keep six things in mind,namely thickness, wire gauge, clamps, length, insulation and pricing.

  1. Thickness — Check out the thickness of the cables based on the wire gauge, which we will get to in a moment. Disregard labels like “heavy duty” or “rugged” or any other such word that only confuses.
  2. Wire gauge — Go by the wire gauge of starter cables and make your own decision about so called “heavy duty.” The American wire gauge (AWG) is a standardized wire thickness system used since 1857 in North America. The thing you need to remember about wire gauge is that the higher the number the gauge number the smaller the diameter of the wire. You can buy jumper cables that have a wire gauge of 4, 6, 8, 10. 10 is crap and 4 is for starting trucks and other equipment that draw large amounts of electrical current. That leaves you with a gauge of 6 or a gauge of 8 to select from. A gauge of 6 is more “heavy duty” than a gauge of 8.
  3. Length of cable — Always buy more length than you think you need, because when you need it, you need it! Driving two cars to meet head to head and connecting cables to the batteries only requires about 8 feet of cable. So why buy more? Because when you have a dead battery, it is likely to be in a situation where there are cars or now or water around you and you cannot get the two cars all that close, so go with 16 or 20 feet just to be on the safe side.
  4. Insulation — Buy jumper cables with thick insulation to reduce the heat of the cable as electric current passes through them.
  5. Price — Price should be your last consideration. Use the above criteria to select several cables and once you have equal quality cables,  to get look for the best price. Going for cheap with jumper cables will leave you disappointed at the worst possible time.


  1. Like!! Great article post.Really thank you! Really Cool.

  2. I went over this site and I think you have a lot of good information, saved to fav 🙂

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