Flat tire? Waiting for a tow truck to come jump-start your car can leave you hanging for an hour or more. Our auto expert, Steve Strope, is here to show you how you can bring your car's dead battery back to life in just a few minutes.
"A dead battery can ruin your day if you're not prepared to deal with it quickly. And the quickest way to do that is by jump-start your battery with your own pair of jumper cables," says Steve. "I highly recommend keeping a quality set of jumper cables in your car at all times. I've had these for years. What you're looking for is thick-gauge wire and quality clamps."
You'll need to find someone who's willing to pull their vehicle next to yours and give you a jump.
Line the cars up so the batteries are as close together possible. Then, put both cars in park and make sure the ignition is off in both.
Next, look at both batteries and identify the positive and negative terminals. Most batteries are marked "+"" and "-," but if it's not, you can always tell the positive terminal by the red battery cable.
Unravel your jumper cables so they're straight and determine which cable is positive and which is negative. Typically, the positive cable is red or orange and the negative cable is black.
There's a specific order of connecting the battery cables to the batteries. First, you want to take your red or positive cable and attach it to the positive terminal of the dead battery. Next, attach the other red cable clamp to the positive terminal on the fully-charged battery. Take the black clamp and attach it to the negative terminal of the good battery.
The fourth and final clamp attaches to the negative terminal of the dead battery.
When you're sure you've connected the cables properly, start the car with the good battery and let it run for a minute or two. Now try starting the car with the dead battery.
Sometimes it will jump-start right away. If it sounds like it's trying to crank, but won't turn over completely, give it a few minutes and then rev the engine a little of the car with the good battery and try again.
Once you've got your engine started, disconnect the jumper cables in the reverse order that you connected them.
"A dead battery can leave you stranded," says Steve. "But not for long if you have a pair of good jumper cable and know how to use them!"
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