The Right Way to Jumpstart a Dead Battery

The Right Way to Jumpstart a Dead BatteryImagine this: you’re headed out on your next big road trip adventure. You’ve carefully packed your bags, stowed away snacks, filled up your gas tank ahead of time, and found the perfect routes to get where you want, with amazing sights along the way. It’s only when you’re greeted by a dreaded “click” after placing your key in the ignition that you realize you’re not going anywhere. At least until you jumpstart your battery.

Don’t fret! Reviving your battery doesn’t need to be filled with sparks and hours wasted. Just follow these simple steps to get powered up and back to your vacation.

Get powered up with these must-haves:

Jumper cables: You should always keep a handy pair of jumper cables in your car. They can come in varying lengths, normally 10-20 feet. While longer cables can reach farther, you risk losing power as the energy travels along the extra length. Ensure that the cables you use are not rusted, frayed or damaged.

A car with a working battery: Unless you’ve got a power box on hand, you’ll need another car to get your battery juiced up. However, it must be the same voltage as the car being jumped. Most car batteries are 12.6 volts or above. If you own a more unique vehicle, such as an RV, consult your owner’s manual before getting or giving a jump.

Rag or paper towel: This one is optional, but useful if your battery terminals are dirty. Before jumping, wipe them clean to allow for an optimal jump.

Recharge with these steps:

  1. Get all materials out and ready. Clean off your terminals if they’re dirty, and make sure any kids or little ones are out of the way. It’s also useful to unplug any unnecessary devices from your vehicle, such as a phone charger.
  2. Once both cars have been parked close together, place each car in park or neutral and shut off the ignition in both vehicles. Make sure the parking brake is engaged.
  3. Attach one of the red cables to the positive terminal on the dead battery. The terminal may say “POS” or “+” to help you identify it.
  4. Attach the other red cable to the positive terminal in the working car.
  5. While at the working car’s battery, attach one of the black cables to the negative terminal. It may be labeled “NEG” or “-”.
  6. Attach the final black clip to an unpainted metal surface under your hood that is far from the battery. This will ground the circuit and prevent sparking.
  7. Start the working vehicle and let it run for a few minutes. The more “dead” your battery is, the longer you may need to run the working vehicle.
  8. Attempt to start your vehicle. If it doesn’t start, continue running the working vehicle for a few more minutes.
  9. If your vehicle DOES start, don’t turn it off! Remove the cables in the reverse order that you put them on (Black – dead battery, Black – good battery, Red – good battery, Red – dead battery).
  10. Hit the road for at least 15-30 minutes to make sure your battery gets charged up.

If your car won’t start the next time you take it for a spin, you may have a battery problem. Stop by your local Firestone Complete Auto Care for a free battery check! And if you’re in the market for a new battery, compare car batteries online and check out our special online pricing.

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