You’re in a hurry… you’ve woken up late and are trying to get ready for work, a quick wash or shower, you get dressed, and you go out to your car to realise that your car won’t start… you need help jump starting a car.
Or, you’re trying to drop your kids off at school as you’re running late, and your car won’t start…
You might’ve left your car’s radio on overnight, or have a bulb that just won’t go out.
Or even, it’s a cold day, in the sub 0 degrees figures and you’ve got an old car, so you try to start it during the harsh winter months, and it simply just won’t start!
You’re frustrated, your heart is racing at some fast pace, wondering whether your new job interview that you’re trying to get to in time is going to end up being a disaster and that you just won’t make it, because your car won’t start.
These are the signs that you will need to jump start your car, either with car jump leads, or a battery jump starter.
In this article, I’m going to tell you how to safely jump start your car with jump leads, and how you can speed the process up in future with the purchase of a battery jump starter.
Locate Your Car’s Battery
If you’ve never jump started a car before, you might be clueless as to how to go about jump starting your car. This is especially true with newer cars, or an expensive car, the batteries are usually hidden somewhere and might not always be easily accessible for you to get to.
You’ll firstly need to to locate the battery in your car. You can refer to your car’s handbook to find where the battery is located, here’s some common places to check where your car’s battery is for jump starting your car:
- Under your car’s front passenger seat, that’s right, in some vehicles such as Land Rover Defender’s the car’s battery is actually located under the front passenger’s seat on the inside of the car.
- In the car’s boot – not as uncommon as you might think, your car’s battery likes to be kept at the right temperature, and car batteries also weigh quite a bit, so having the battery in the boot of the car helps with weight distribution.
- And finally, the most obvious place, is under your car’s bonnet, it’ll likely be covered with some insulating protector, just remove this and you should be good to go!
Having found where your car’s battery is located, you should be ready to begin the process of jump starting your car…
How Do I Connect Jump Leads To Jump Start My Car?
As discussed a little above, jump starting your car can be challenging and off-putting for some people, so we’re going to keep this straightforward for you.
You want to connect the jump starter leads to your car safely to prevent the risk of fires and/or hazardous electric shocks.
- Firstly, position the car that’s going to be jump starting your car in front of your car with the flat battery.
- Next, make sure that both of the cars are initially switched off, this is important when you’re connecting the jump leads to the car batteries.
- Next, take one end of the red lead, and go ahead and connect it to the positive terminal of your car, connect the other end to the positive terminal of the booster’s car. Your leads shouldn’t touch any metal!
- Then, take one end of the black lead, and connect it to the negative terminal of the booster’s car, and the other end of the black lead to some metal or a bolt of your car – as far away from your flat battery as possible!
- Afterwards, make sure the connections are secure and double – triple check, you can then go ahead and start the engine of the booster’s car, that’s the car with the working battery that’s jump starting your car.
- You should leave them connected for around 5 – 10 minutes to allow enough charge to build up in your flat battery, if it’s a nice summer’s day, you might be able to get away with slightly less time.
- Finally, go ahead and try starting your car! If all is successful, your car should start. You’ll want to keep your car’s engine running and if possible, take it for a drive!
That’s the process of connecting jump leads to your car to jump start it.
Pretty simple right?
Everything went well? Now, this process might not be always a straightforward as I’ve just made it – remember what I said about the battery positions of your car? And where your car’s battery is located…
Your dead car might be parked in a position whereby it makes it difficult to access the battery, for instance you might’ve drove into a car park space at a shopping centre, against a wall, unable to get a booster’s car in front of yours!
This is where a battery jump starter can do wonders, you carry one in your car with you, they’re pretty portable, and they can be charged via USB, we’ll mention some of these in some upcoming articles if you’re interested.
But most importantly…
Jump Start Your Car Safely – Be Careful!
Jump starting your car once you’ve gotten the hang of it is pretty straightforward, but even if you’ve done everything correctly, there’s always still the risk that something could go wrong…
Either before, or after jump starting your car.
The last thing you want when jump starting your car is to injure yourself, or someone else, and that’s why I’ve put together a list of things to check when you’re attempting to jump start a car so that you can do it safely:
- It’s obvious, but No Smoking! Smoking or even vaping near a car’s battery when you’re trying to jump start a car is dangerous, and could easily cause an explosion.
- When starting out, make sure that both engines of the cars are switched off, and that they’re in the parked position.
- Don’t attempt to jump start a car with damaged jump leads, or a battery that might appear to be leaking!
- Remove all forms of jewellery such as rings and bracelets. These wearables could increase the risk of an electrical shock to yourself or someone else.
- If possible, keep your phone away from your car when trying to jump start a car, otherwise it could act as an ignition source.
- If you can, you need to also avoid loose-fitting clothing, this type of clothing could make it easier for you to trip over, or someone might get caught in a jump starter lead.
If you follow these general safety rules, jump starting your car should keep you as safe as you can be, however, I’m no safety expert, and more often that not…
Common sense is needed when jump starting a car.
Does Your Car Have A Flat Battery?
It might seem obvious that you have a flat battery and that your car needs to be jump started, but it could be another underlying problem and your battery on your car might be just fine!
Modern car batteries are pretty smart, and typically will last several years before they need replacing with a new battery, most car batteries will come with some form of warranty or guarantee.
Here’s some things to check to find out if your car’s battery is actually flat:
- You’ve recently already had to jump-start your car to get it going. There could be an underlying problem if you’ve already tried to jump start your car before and your car’s battery has gone flat again!
- The starter motor won’t turn over on ignition when you try and turn the key.
- The interior and exterior lights aren’t working or are extremely dim.
- Your car’s doors won’t unlock.
Despite these possible reasons, the list goes on, there are many, many reasons why your car’s battery is flat and might need jump starting. We simply can’t cover them all in this article.
Does Your Car’s Flat Battery Need Replacing?
If you’ve bought a used car, or even a new car and have had your car for a few years, it’s possible that your car’s battery has reached the time where it now needs replacing.
Car batteries don’t last forever, and with the newer stop-start systems in modern cars, this could be another reason that is arguably reducing your battery lifespan.
If you can’t afford a decent car battery, and need to put some money by in order to afford one, then a portable battery jump starter might be ideal for you, they’re typically affordable, and will be cheaper than replacing a car battery and can usually jump start a car’s battery many times in a row before it needs charging.
Can A Car Battery Be Too Flat To Jump Start?
Unfortunately, if this section is a little hard to answer, the short answer could be a simple…
A car battery can be too flat for it to be jump started, batteries don’t last forever, and will at some point be unable to hold enough charge in them to support jump starting.
If your car’s battery has reached this point, it’s likely time to get your car’s battery replaced by a professional…
If you’re comfortable with replacing the battery yourself, remember our tips about staying safe when jump starting a car battery with jump leads? The same safety precautions will apply when replacing a car’s battery.
What About Electric Cars And Jump Starting Starting Them?
Most people might think that jump starting an electric car isn’t actually possible right?
You can. There are typically two types of car batteries that can come in an electric car, these are:
- 12 Volt Battery (lead-acid battery) – these are the same types that are used in diesel and petrol cars.
- Lithium-ion battery – this type of battery is what powers the motors.
These two battery types will likely both be found in an electric vehicle, and it’s the 12 Volt battery that is responsible for allowing that the Lithium-ion battery can be charged.
So there you have it, a myth is now debunked, you can absolutely jump start an electric car!
How To Avoid A Flat Battery In Your Car
Most of us don’t really pay that much attention to the battery on our car, when in reality, it’s actually quite an important part of a car.
If your car’s battery has gone flat, and needs to be jump started, we need to look at the potential source of the flat battery and why it went flat in the first place.
Here’s some tips to avoid a flat battery:
- Keep your car serviced at the correct service intervals, these can be found inside of your car’s service book.
- Keep the battery terminals on your car clean, and free from corrosion.
- Keep car electrics turned off when leaving your car for an extended period of time.
- Put your car onto a battery charger if you’re not using your car.
- Drive your car regularly, on longer journeys or at motorway speeds to keep your battery charged.
Is A Car Battery Charger Worth It?
A car battery charger is a device that connects to your car’s battery and will keep it charged, usually by trickle charging the battery over a period of time.
Battery chargers usually aren’t that expensive either, and in the long run are a good solution to keeping your car’s battery in great condition!
The next steps now are to action what we’ve covered in this article on jump starting your car!
Either way, we advise that jump starting your car should be done safely, taking into account everything we’ve covered.