You go to turn on your car and….nothing. Before you panic, you hope that it’s just a dead battery and that you can jump your car and head down to the nearest dealership for a new battery. It can be installed in minutes and get you right on your way. But first, you must learn how to jump start your car so that you can actually do this. It’s not that hard (but it’s also not fun).
What You Need
A second car and a pair of jumper cables are all you need to do this. It’s not a tool-heavy fix, but it does require a little knowledge in addition to these two pieces of equipment. It also helps to know what your battery looks like and where it’s located (trust me, it sounds silly but even took a mechanic a while to find the battery in my BMW since it’s located in the trunk under the storage trays along the side).
You will also need to park your second car either right next to yours or right in front of it with enough space for you to walk back and forth between them. Turn your cars OFF before you connect your cables.
Attaching the Cables to the Battery
This is where it’s very important you pay attention. Your jumper cables have to connections. The red connection is the POSITIVE connection. The black connection is the NEGATIVE connection. You will need to attach the red cable to the battery and the black cable to a piece of bare metal in the engine compartment, such as a nut or bolt. If you get these cables backward, you will cause serious damage to your vehicle.
The good battery is hooked up the same way as far as the positive connection. The negative connection, however, is connected to the negative connector on the good battery.
Start the Cars
Now that everything is connected, go start the good battery car. You might want to wait a minute or two to start your dead car to let the juices flow. Now it’s time to start your dead car. You might want to hit the gas (while the car is in park) while you do this to help the battery receive juice for the other one. Once it starts, head to the nearest dealership or part store to have your battery tested to see if it needs to be replaced so that this does not happen again.
And for those of you who would prefer visual help – here you go!
(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)