How to Jump-Start a Car

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Dead battery while out on the road? You may be able to avoid the tow truck by jump-starting your battery. A jump-start provides your dead battery with power from another car’s battery so that you can get moving on the road again. Although the process may seem tricky if you haven’t done it before, we’ve outlined how to jump-start a car in a simple step-by-step process so that you can be prepared.


To jump-start a car, you will need:

  • jumper cables
  • A working car battery from another vehicle


Step 1: Place both cars near each other and put them in Park or Neutral and turn the ignitions off.


You’ll need the two batteries to be close enough to each other that the jumper cables will reach them.


Step 2: Attach one of the red clips to the positive terminal of your battery.


The positive terminal will be labeled “POS” or “+” and will be larger than the negative terminal.


Step 3: Attach the other red clip to the working battery’s positive terminal.


Same process as Step 2. Identify the positive terminal and attach the clip.


Step 4: Attach one of the black clips to the negative terminal of the working car’s battery.


The black clip will go on the other car’s battery on the negative terminal, labeled “NEG” or “-”


Step 5: Attach the other black clip to an unpainted metal surface that’s not too close to the battery. 


A good place for this clip would be the metal struts that hold your hood open.


Step 6: Start the working car’s engine and let it run for 5 minutes.


Step 7: Try and start your car.


If you still cannot start your car, double-check and make sure all of the cables are connected and in the right place and let the battery charge by letting the working car run for another 5 minutes. Try to start your car again, and if it still will not start, you may be out of luck and will need to replace your car’s battery.


And there you have it! An easy step-by-step process on how to jump-start your car in case you ever need to revive your battery. Remember that it’s a good idea to carry jumper cables in the trunk of your car in case you ever need a jump (or help somebody else out with theirs). Now you are prepared to avoid the tow truck and get your battery restarted with the help of a Good Samaritan.


Have more car battery questions? Check out our answers to common car battery questions here.


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