Issue 12  •  Spring 2013

How to Jumpstart Your Car

Written by Carrie Oleynik
So maybe you forgot to turn off your car lights. Or maybe your car engine won’t start without you even knowing why. Before you start to panic, take these easy steps in jump starting your engine so you can make it to your desired destination.
This article was first published in ChickSpeak. Check out other D.I.Y. articles, and more, on their site.
 
So maybe you forgot to turn off your car lights. Or maybe your car engine won’t start without you even knowing why. Before you start to panic, take these easy steps in jump starting your engine so you can make it to your desired destination.

First thing’s first. Pop your hood open and check to see if you find any cracks in the car battery. If so, jump starting will not help you. It means that your battery is dead.


  1. 1. Assuming there are no cracks in your battery, whether you’re in a social mood or not, now’s the time to suck it up and make a new friend. Find someone nearby that would be willing to help you.

  2. 2. If you don’t own jumper cables, now is the time to find someone with them. BUT to prevent spending a great amount of time looking for someone that has them to help you, you might want to purchase your own. Expected cost: approximately $20.

  3. 3. So, now you’ve got your cables and someone to graciously volunteer their time and car. Next, make sure the other person’s car (that will be giving you a jump) is parked close by.

  4. 4. Now it’s time to go back under the hood. Check your battery and locate the two knobs. These are called terminals. One terminal is positive; it is indicated with a plus sign. The other is negative, and is marked with a negative sign. 

  5. 5. The positive terminal should have a plastic casing, which should pop off easily. The negative terminal should be uncovered.

  6. 6. Now take one cable and attach it to the dead battery’s (your car’s) positive terminal (the terminal that you uncovered in step 5).

  7. 7. Take the clamp on the other side of the cable and attach it to the positive terminal of the car that is jump starting yours.

  8. 8. Next, clamp the second cable and attach it to the negative terminal of the other person’s car.

  9. 9. Take the clamp on the other end of this same cable and attach it to a non-painted metal surface (for instance, a nut) on the main engine block of your car.

  10. 10. Now, the person that is jump starting you should start their engine and let it run for a couple of minutes. After a few minutes, try starting your car and see what happens. If your car doesn’t start on the first try, try it again a few minutes later.

  11. 11. If your car doesn’t start after two tries, it’s time to call it quits. If this happens, you’re S.O.L. and you need to find a ride. You should most likely be up and running on the first try or two.

  12. 12. As you disconnect the cables, make sure that you detach them in opposite order (disconnect the clamps on your engine block first and work backwards).

  13. 13. Thank your new friend for helping, and you should be good to go!

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