Every driver on the road should have an emergency vehicle toolkit- an essential part to this toolkit is owning a working set of jumper cables. Improper use of jumper cables can be dangerous and potentially life threatening. Most jumper cables have an instruction card or label, follow directions precisely to make sure you’re connecting them the correctly.

First Step: Get the vehicles close, but not touching

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Get the vehicle as close as possible so that your cords can reach both batteries without excessive stretching, but make sure that the cars aren’t touching.

Second Step: Open the hood to both cars, and locate the batteries


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You should refer to the owner’s manual for battery location. Usually, the two terminals on each battery will be covered in red or black, with a + or – sign on top. Inspect the batteries to make sure you can tell which is positive and negative. This distinction is crucial to the success of your jump. If your battery terminals are dirty, wipe them off with a cloth before connecting.

Third Step: Attach the jumper cables


This comes in a three-step process:

1. Attach the red, positive cable clamp to the positive (+) battery terminal of the dead battery. This may require some initial adjustment of the clamp onto the terminal: you want a solid connection to the battery terminal

2. Attach the other red, positive cable clamp onto the functioning vehicle’s positive (+) battery terminal.

3. Connect the black, negative cable clamp to the working battery’s negative (-) battery terminal. Walk over to the car with the dead battery. To ensure a safe jump, attach that clamp to an unpainted metal part of the car such as a clean nut on the engine block. It is not advised to connect the black, negative cable clamp to the dead battery.

Fourth Step: Start and Jump the vehicle

You will begin this step by starting the working vehicle. Wait a minute or so, depending on how long since it died you may need to let your car run for a bit. After some time, try starting the dead vehicle. Slightly revving the engine of the working car while charging the dead battery usually helps.

Final Steps: Removing jumper cables/Test Drive

Once your dead vehicle is running, you want disconnect the jumper cables. Start with the black negative cable clamps: do not let any of your clamps touch each other while still attached to a car. Now, take a brief cruise around the block. The drive allows the vehicle’s alternator to charge the battery and ensures that your vehicle does not die again once you shut it off.

We hope you have found this article useful for your vehicle care needs. If you are wondering what other items you need to have in your vehicle emergency tool kit, stay tuned for future blog posts. Next week we will be covering Allergy Prevention Tips for the upcoming pollen season!


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