Learning proper maintenance tips for your car is important to help it run correctly. If you do not know the basics of car maintenance, you can find yourself stranded without help. Learning how to change a tire, check the oil, and jump a battery can save you from a nightmare. Understanding the right way to jump a car can also save you from a painful shock. Use this basic guide to help you learn how to jump a battery.

Test the Battery

If you try to turn the car on and nothing happens, you need to make sure the battery is the problem. If the headlights are dim, the battery is likely to blame, and you will need a new battery. If the dashboard lights turn on without a problem, the issue may be with the ignition switch. If the car tries to crank on, it usually means you have a dead battery. Another way to test your battery is with a digital multimeter. Follow the instructions to correctly hook it up to your battery and give it a go to see if the issue is the battery or the alternator.

Locate the Battery

Open the hood of your car and locate the battery. Some vehicles have the battery secured in a plastic box. You may need a screwdriver to reach the battery. Once you find the battery, remove anything around it so it doesn’t get tangled with your cords. Find your positive and negative terminals. The positive terminal is normally red, or it has the red cable attached to it, and it will have a plus sign. The negative terminal is black and has the black cable attached to it with a negative sign. Park a working car next to your dead car so you can prepare to jump the car. Open the hood of the other car and locate the positive and negative terminals.

A Simple How-To Guide For Jumping Your Car Battery

Jumper Cables

You will need a set of jumper cables that can attach to the two batteries. Wear thick gloves to prevent yourself from getting a shock when you attach the jumper cables to the batteries. Attach the red clamp to the terminal of the dead battery, then attach the red clamp on the other end of the jumper cables to the live battery. Attach the black clamp to the negative terminal on the dead battery and then attach it to the functioning battery. Turn on the working car and rev the engine for about 30-60 seconds. Once you do this, you want to start the other car.

If it doesn’t start, turn off the working car, disconnect the clamps and wiggle them before connecting them again. Try the process until it works. Once it does, disconnect the jumper cables in the following order: disconnect the black clamp from the dead car, then disconnect the black clamp on the working car, disconnect the red clamp from the dead car, then connect the red clamp on the live car. Once you do this, hold the cables out in front of you for a few seconds before winding them up and placing them back in the trunk.

Run the Car

Keep the dead car running for at least five minutes before you start to drive it. Head over to your local auto shop to pick up a new battery. If you notice that the charge starts to drop while you are driving, you need to get a new battery soon, as it is going to die again. You could also have an issue with a dead alternator if the new battery cannot hold a charge.

Johnny Rockland is a freelance writer based in Nashville, TN. If you’re looking for batteries, Johnny strongly suggests visiting Battery Plex, your choice for batteries and chargers.

Image credit goes to FailedImitator.