How Do I Jumpstart My Car?

Bring Your Dead Battery Back to Life

A lot of things come together to make your car move and function properly with Jump start. Amongst those essential parts, a battery is one of the most essential parts. The battery doesn’t help start the car but also helps to keep the car running as most parts of the car rely solely on the power from the battery to function.

The traditional vehicles, that is, vehicles that run on gasoline, that battery performs three main functions which are SLI:

  • Starting the vehicle
  • Lighting
  • Ignition battery 


This way, the battery does not just start the vehicle but also supplies power to some components of the vehicle such as the radios and lights. While most vehicles only need the battery to start the car, after which the alternator takes over supplying energy to the car, without a functional battery, the car is almost useless and won’t even start.

Imagine the pain of inserting your vehicle keys in the ignition to start the vehicle and all the response you get is a sputter from your engine. Now imagine it is on a very hasty morning. 

What do you do when your battery is not responding? 

How do you jump start your vehicle when you have no mechanic? 

These questions above are the main questions we will be addressing as we process this article, so sit back and enjoy.

What can cause my battery to die?

Different reasons can be behind your battery not powering up your car.

Below is a list of some common ones:

  • Leaving lights and accessories on
  • Extreme temperatures
  • Parasitic drain
  • Infrequent trips and short trips
  • Faulty charging system 


While all of these things can render your vehicle immobile, a simple jump start could do all the magic you need to get your car started. A successful jumpstart is sure to get your car started and run enough for you to get to a mechanic workshop where you can figure out what exactly is wrong with your vehicle.

In this guide, we will be showing you how to jump-start your vehicle and the special tools you would need to jump-start your car.

Jump start

What to do before Jumpstart

We know you are in a hurry to get your car started and get back on the road, however, we advise you to take a chill pill first, take a step backwards, and do the following before you attempt a jumpstart:

  • Study your vehicle manual. While it is easy to just assume that we all know how to jumpstart a vehicle, it is necessary to get yourself acquainted with what your car manufacturer says about jump-starting your vehicle. Some manufacturers do not advise jumpstart, as such it is necessary to be aware of such.
  • Make sure to know where your car battery is. Most vehicles have their batteries under the hood in the front, however, some other models have the battery in the trunk. 
  • Inspect and identify the negative and positive terminals on the battery. Each terminal would be labelled with the plus (+) for the positive and the minus (-) sign for the negative terminal.
  • This is important to ensure the battery is properly connected for a successful jumpstart and to avoid any form of accidents.

What Do Jumpstart Cables Look Like?

A set of jumpstart cables typically consists of one red cable and another black cable. As with all electrical systems, electricity flows from the negative terminal of the battery to the positive through a system of wires, this would then power the vehicle’s starter.

For a battery, jump, it is expedient that the correct terminals are connected to the correct cables.

The positive cable, which is the red cable, should be connected to the positive terminal of the battery, while the black cable which is the negative cable should likewise be connected to the negative terminal of the battery.

Jump-Starting my car with a portable jump starter or with the help of another vehicle

The first step is to ensure that all tools for the jumpstart and the vehicle itself have been turned off, to be on the safer side we would even advise that the key be removed from the ignition. Since car batteries contain high voltages, the chances of sparks, fire, or even explosions are very high and as such you must ensure that there is no flammable object or material nearby

 How Do I use Jumper cables if I am jumpstarting my car with another car?

As earlier discussed, the first thing is identifying where the batteries for both vehicles are located on the vehicle. After establishing their location, you would need to then park the vehicles close to each other in a way that you can connect the cables to both vehicles.

However, we advise parking the vehicles too close to each other that they touch; this can lead to electricity flow between the vehicles other than through the jumper cables. Finally, before connecting any cables, ensure that both vehicles are both off and in the park.

Before connecting the cables to the terminals, identify which terminal is positive and which terminal is negative. Please note that the red cable is usually positive and should go to the positive terminal on each battery, while the black cable is negative and should be connected to the negative terminal of both batteries.


The safest order to attach the jumper cables is as follows:

  1. Attach one red jumper cable clamp to the positive terminal on the dead battery.
  2. Attach the other end of the same cable, the second red jumper cable clamp, to the positive terminal on the working (live) car battery.
  3. Attach one black jumper cable clamp to the negative terminal of the working (live) car’s battery.
  4. Attach the other end of that cable, the second black jumper cable clamp, to an unpainted piece of stationary metal on the car with the dead battery. Do not attach this clamp to the negative terminal on the dead car’s battery.


Some technicians argue that it is safe to attach the negative jumper cable clamp to the negative terminal of the dead battery, the risk of explosion if the jumpstart doesn’t go as planned is usually higher.

We advise that you find a spot away from the battery to avoid an explosion resulting from sparks igniting hydrogen gas coming from the battery. Some safer options include a bolt on the engine, the chassis, a designated grounding terminal away from the battery, or the alternator bracket.

Start the car with the live battery

The next step is to start the live battery. Once the car with the live battery has been put on, it immediately starts charging the dead battery. Starting the car with the live battery sometimes turns on the dead battery.

Once you’ve succeeded at this stage, the next thing is to leave both cars running for a few minutes, that way you can charge your dead battery.

After charging for a few minutes, then you can attempt starting your car, turn the key in the ignition for a few seconds, and try it a couple of times until it comes on. Usually, if the jumpstart is successful, it comes on.

Depending on the cause of your dead battery, you may want to have the car immediately looked at. In other circumstances, your car may be okay after the jump start. Driving the car for a while will help to recharge the battery. 

Upon successful jumpstart, the next action to perform is disconnecting the cables, as with the connection, the disconnection also needs to follow a laid-down procedure or order to avoid sparks or explosion. Below is the correct order for disconnecting the cables:

  • First, disconnect the negative(black) jumper cable from the terminal of the car that received the jump
  • Disconnect the negative jumper cable from the working battery’s negative terminal
  • Disconnect the positive jumper cable from the live battery’s positive terminal
  • And lastly, disconnect the positive jumper cable from the jumped car.


At this point, you are free to beam a smile and also thank the friend who was kind enough to let you use their live battery. While the jumpstart may be enough to run your battery for a while, we advise you go get the vehicle checked at an auto shop to avoid a similar situation next time.

How to Jump a Car

How do I Jump start my car with a portable Jump starter?

As the name implies, portable jumpstarters are small enough to be carried around in your vehicle, either in the glove box or any other compartment.

However, it is necessary to read the guide to avoid doing anything that may hurt the efficiency of the jump starter, one such thing to avoid when storing the jumpstarter is to avoid hot temperature areas of the vehicle.

As with every jumpstart, it is necessary to ensure that both the car and the jump starter are off when you begin the process and the connection.

Most portable jumpstarters have two clamps; the positive and the negative clamp, usually the red clamp is the positive, while the black is the negative.

It is necessary to ensure that the clamps are properly connected to the right positions on the portable jumpstarter if they are not connected originally, also we advise that you avoid both cables touching each other as this may lead to a spark.

Once all precautions have been taken, the next step is to connect the positive clamp (red cable) to the positive terminal of the dead battery and then connect the negative (black) clamp to the negative terminal of the dead battery (not directly to the battery as we earlier advised).

It is best to take the negative clamp as far away from the terminal as possible to reduce the risk of sparks or explosions.

Once you are satisfied that you followed all the right procedures and the connections are in place, turn on the Jumpstarter and then try turning on your car.

As earlier described, turn the key in the ignition, hold it in place for a few seconds, and try it over and over again until the engine comes alive. If the jumpstart is successful, then the engine will come alive. However, if the engine doesn’t come alive, then you should consider a tow service to a repair shop.

If you can no longer hear our voice above the noise of your running vehicle, then we are glad to say congratulations, you’ve succeeded in jump starting your car, if not, you may want the vehicle to cool down again and try one more time. Nonetheless, we advise that you allow a professional to look at your car to avoid future problems. 

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