Jumpstarting Your Car in 10 Easy Steps

Car Audio Troubleshooting Learn

Your battery is dead and you don't know what to do! It might seem like a difficult task, but jump starting your car, boat or vehicle is actually quite simple. Follow the steps below and jump start your car with ease and confidence!

  1. Park your car! If you are using jumper cables, make sure that the two vehicles are nose-to-nose to ensure that the cables will reach. If you have a portable jump starter or battery charger, park wherever is convenient.
  2. Place your car in park if it is an automatic. If it is a manual, place it into neutral. Apply the parking brake and turn your engine(s) off.
  3. Grab your jump starter, battery charger or jumper cables. Note the color of the clamps – one red and one black. Red is for positive (+) and black is for negative (-)
  4. Open your car hood(s) and locate the battery(ies) and where the battery terminals are. Identify which terminal is positive (+) and negative (-). In most cases, the positive terminal will have a red plastic cover. Both should be labeled with a (+) and (-) to help you identify which is which.
  5. Connect the red cable to the positive terminal on the battery (+). If you are using jumper cables, ensure that this is first placed on the dead car battery, not the charged. Ensure that there is a solid connection on the terminal by wiggling the clamp. In some cases you may need a wire brush to brush the corrosion off of the terminal.
  6. This step only applies to those who are using a jumper cable. For those using a battery charger or jump starter, disregard. Now, clamp the other end of the red cable to the charged battery in the other vehicle (+).
  7. This step only applies to those who are using a jumper cable. For those using a battery charger or jump starter, disregard. Next, attach the black cable clamp to the charged battery on the other vehicle (-).
  8. Now you will connect the black negative cable to a metal, unpainted area of the car with the dead battery. This is important. You can do this by finding an exposed bolt or nut on the engine block, or on the vehicle's chassis.
  9. For those who are using jumper cables, start the vehicle with the charged battery and wait a minute or two before trying to start the vehicle with the dead battery. In some cases you can rev the vehicle with the charged battery to help give your dead battery some extra juice. For those using a battery charger or jump starter, turn your charger/jumper on and start your car. Let your vehicle(s) run for at least 5 minutes before turning off.
  10. To disconnect, start with the black cable clamps. Then move to the red, ensuring they do not touch any part of the other cable or the car.

And that's it! You're an expert at jumping your car safely now. Good luck!

Still struggling to get your car started? We try to cover all of the scenarios but the reality is that each vehicle's situation might be unique. To address the issues that might not be mentioned in our post, we've partnered with JustAnswer to help answer any of your questions about jumpstarting your vehicle. They'll help you diagnose and fix whatever's wrong! To ask a question, simply start typing in the JustAnswers chat.

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