Park the functioning car so that the vehicles face each other, preferably only about 18 inches apart, but never touching each other. For automatic transmission cars, put the vehicle in park; for a manual transmission, set the vehicle to neutral. Set the parking brakes on both, so neither car moves unexpectedly.
Both cars should be turned off, with keys removed. Set down the jumper cables on the ground, making sure the clamps do not touch each other.
Open the hood to both cars, and locate the batteries (refer to the owner’s manual for battery location) and battery terminals. Usually, the two terminals on each battery will be covered in red or black, with a + or – sign on top. Look at the batteries and make sure that you can identify which is positive, and which is negative. This distinction is crucial to the success of your jump. If the battery
terminals are dirty, wipe them off with a rag or wire brush.
Attach the red, positive cable clamp to the positive (+) battery terminal of the dead battery. You want a solid connection to the battery terminal, which may require some initial wiggling of the clamps
Attach the red, positive cable clamp on the
other side of the jumper cables to the
functioning vehicle’s positive (+) battery
Connect the black, negative cable clamp to the working battery’s negative (-) battery terminal.
Walk over to the car with the dead battery. Do not connect the black, negative cable clamp to the dead battery. Instead, attach that clamp to an unpainted, metal part of the car such as a shiny, clean nut on the engine block. This will help ensure a safe jump.
Now you’re ready to attempt the jump-start. Follow the instructions below to find out how and how long to charge your car’s dead battery:
Start the working vehicle. Wait a minute or so. Depending on the age of the battery and how long since it died, you may need to let the car run for a minute or two to get the jump to work.
Try starting the dead car. If the car doesn't start, allow the working vehicle to charge the battery for an additional minute or two before attempting again.
In some instances, slightly revving the engine of the working car while charging the dead battery may help.
Once the dead car is running, you may disconnect the jumper cables, starting with the black, negative cable clamps. Do not let the clamps touch each other while any part of the cables is still attached to a car.
Now, take a short drive. This will allow the battery to build up a charge. This driving allows the vehicle’s alternator to charge the battery and ensures that your vehicle does not die again once you turn it off.
If the jump fails to start your car after a few short attempts, or if the car starts but then dies again, you have some other issues you need to address. Most batteries are rated to last 4-6 years. If your battery is old, you may need to replace it. If the battery should be working well, you should consider other possible problems with other components, including:
When you do not know what is wrong, your best bet is to take the car in to your local Meineke Car Care Center for service and repair. Many centers conveniently offer free battery inspections and diagnostic scans and can help you understand your vehicle’s issues.
Dealing with a dead car battery is a pain. Luckily, getting your car working again is not terribly difficult. By following these instructions, using your jumper cables sensibly, practicing safety and addressing other potential concerns, your car will run better, be safer, and last longer. For professional advice and assistance,
talk to your local mechanic at your neighborhood Meineke Car Care Center.
Often the battery is too old and you may need to replace it.