How to Jump a Car Battery

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How To Jump A Car

One of the most useful and sometimes life-saving skills in all driving is how to jump-start your car. Jump starting involves connecting the positive terminal of one battery to the negative terminal (or vice versa) using jumper cables (also called booster cables). It’s easy to do if you follow these step-by-step instructions carefully, so you never find yourself stranded on the side of the road with a dead battery again!

Safety First

If you’ve never jumped a car battery before make sure you either have someone there to guide you or watch a video to familiarize yourself with the process – it’s actually quite easy but it can be dangerous if not done correctly.

Before you start –

You need jumper cables! 20-30 years ago everyone carried jumper cables but today, with cars being more reliable and the advent of mobile phones people are much less prepared for emergencies. Start by purchasing a good set of jumper cables. We have a couple sets that we like from Amazon but you can easily purchase them from Walmart or an Autozone or NAPA auto parts store.


AUTOGEN Heavy Duty Jumper Cables 1 Gauge x 25 FT 900Amp Smart Booster Cable

AUTOGEN Heavy Duty Jumper Cables 1 Gauge x 25 FT 900Amp

Get it now!
NOCO Boost Plus GB40 1000 Amp 12-Volt UltraSafe Lithium Jump Starter Box

NOCO Boost Plus GB40 1000 Amp 12-Volt UltraSafe Lithium Jump Starter Box

Get it now!

Step 1:

Make sure you can find both batteries. I know this sounds crazy but today’s cars often hide the batteries in the trunk or out of the way places on the car. BMW and Volvo are notorious for this. (We’ve even had a hard time finding a battery in a Subaru!) If you open the hood and can’t find the battery, grab your owners manual, flip to the index and search for ‘battery’ – this will give you detailed instructions on where to find the battery.

Step 2:

Pull the car (that you can start) up to the dead battery. Set the parking brakes on both vehicles and turn off both cars. Do a quick check that your jumper cables will reach both batteries. Most jumper cables are around 10-12 feet in length. If you have a chance to buy 20-25 foot cables, they are a better investment.

Step 3:

Safety first – Never allow the cable ends to touch.
Always start with the dead battery, connect the positive cable to the positive terminal on the battery – This will be the red cable and red post on your battery.

Step 4:

Now go to the booster car and connect the positive cable to the positive terminal. (Remember, the booster car still has not been started)

Step 5:

Connect the negative cable to the negative terminal (the black cable to the black post)

Step 6:

Go back to the dead battery and connect the negative terminal (the black cable to the black post)

Step 7:

Make sure everyone stands back, get in the booster car and start the car

Step 8:

Let the car run for 1-2 minutes before attempting to start the dead car

Step 9:

Start the dead car – it should start immediately. Do not shut the car off. The alternator in the car will charge the dead battery.

Step 10:

Removing the cables
Take off the cables in reverse order First remove the negative cable from the car that is jumped, then the negative cable from the car with the working battery. Then remove the positive cable from the car with the working battery. Take great care not to touch the ends of any of the cables with each other or any other metal object.


In conclusion, it’s essential to use the proper safety precautions when jumping a car. If you follow these steps and use your brain, you’ll know how to jump a car like an expert. And remember: jumper cables can look different depending on which type of vehicle they’re designed for, so always read through your owner’s manual or consult your mechanic before starting any project related to jumping or charging your battery. As always, thanks for reading!

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