Nothing can ruin your day like getting in your car and it won’t start. The culprit may very well be a dead battery. Using a kit available at auto parts stores, you can jump start a car’s battery and get back on the road – assuming there’s another car to provide juice for the jump.
First, here are a few precautions. Check the dead battery for low electrolyte level and top up with distilled water as necessary. If the loss is due to a cracked case, you’ll need a replacement battery. A bulging case or ice in the cells indicates a frozen battery. Remove the battery, if necessary, and thaw in a warm place. Do not try to jump start a frozen battery – it may rupture or explode.
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Step-by-step jump-starting process
Get out your car’s owner’s manual and refer to vehicle-specific instructions and procedures. In general, here are the steps to follow to jump start your car, as recommended by AAA:Position the two vehicles to allow jumper cables to reach each car’s batteries. But don’t have the vehicles touching. Next, do the following on each vehicle:
Refer to the diagram and connect cables to specified locations in the following order:
Attempt to start your car. If the engine seems to be turning too slowly, stop cranking. Start the other car to avoid draining both batteries. Try to start your car again. After your car starts, allow it to run at high idle for 30 seconds or more. Then, turn on the headlights and heater blower motor to provide an electrical path for any voltage spikes that may occur when disconnecting jumper cables. Remove jumper cables in reverse order of installation. Turn off the headlights and heater blower motor.