Having a dead car battery is an inconvenience and can be dangerous. Whether you'll be late for work or in an empty parking lot late at night, fixing the problem and getting back on the road is important. Without a car charger, quick thinking, a roadside maintenance kit and basic knowledge will help. Having jumper cables and a helpful citizen nearby will help you get your battery charged and the ability to get back on the road while putting you out of harm's way.
Things You'll Need
- Jumper cables
Keep an auto repair kit in your trunk. The kit includes a blanket, screwdriver, extra fuses, flashlight and other items needed at the most inconvenient of times during emergencies.
Take the jumper cables out of the kit. The jumper cables have two metal clamps on each end. They are colored in red and black plastic for the positive and negative terminals of the charging and charged car.
Keep your cell phone charged in case of emergency. Call friends or family to meet you and help you to jump start your car or find a nearby business to have someone help you jump the car.
Turn your keys to the "off" position. Ensure your car is in a safe position and won't move. If you are on a hill, engage the parking brake. Lift your car's hood.
Place your negative jumper cables on the battery terminals. Place the black clamps on the metal frame of your car. Place the connection so it is secure and won't move easily. If you don't have a connection that is secure, place the black clamps on the black terminal. Place the other end of the black clamp on the good battery's negative terminal.
Place the other pair of jumper cables on the red, positive terminals of each car. Place the red clamps on the positive terminal (marked positive) of your car. Place the other end of the red clamps on the positive terminal of the good battery. The charging car operator should start her vehicle first and let it run for a minute or two.
Allow your car battery to draw a charge for a few minutes. Start your car. Your car should start immediately. If it doesn't, wait a few minutes and start it again. Once the car is started, let it run and gain a charge before turning it off. Disconnect the battery cables.
Tips & Warnings
- Clean the battery terminals with a wire brush before jump-starting a car, if possible. A Brillo pad also will work. Clean terminals provide better current.
- If you're on the side of a highway or street and close to traffic and have flares or reflectors in your auto repair kit, place them behind and on the side closest to the street.
- Never place a positive (red) jumper cable on a black terminal. Placing one end of the cable on a positive terminal of the charged battery and the other end on the negative (black) terminal can cause the receiving battery to explode and cause injury.