Jumpstarting a battery is a skill anyone can, and should, learn. It can get your car going again in just a few minutes, which can be crucial if you’ve got a meeting to attend, a plane to catch, or a boss who watches the clock.
You’ll need a working vehicle and a good set of jumper cables. Popular Mechanics advises getting one at least 4 to 6 gauge and 20 feet long. Don’t go cheap. You may need the power and the length.
Jumper cables have two red clamps and two black clamps. Never allow the red and black to touch. Park the running vehicle next to yours and open both hoods. Your battery will have a positive (red) and negative (black) terminal, which should be marked by a plus or minus sign on the battery next to the terminal.
This next part is extremely important. First connect one end of the red clamp to the positive post on the dead battery. Then connect the matching end of the red clamp to the positive post on the functioning battery, says Popular Mechanics. Now, connect the black (negative) clamp to the negative terminal on the good battery. For safety, the final negative clamp should be attached to some metal part of the frame of your car and not to the negative terminal on the dead battery.
Start the other car, then start yours. Leave it running while you carefully disconnect the cables, making sure none of the clamps touch while you’re doing this. If your car still doesn’t start, check the clamp connections to make sure they’re making contact with the terminals. If no other vehicle is available to jump start your battery from, you can use a portable jump starter, if you have one. If your car still doesn’t start, consult your mechanic.
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