How to jump a car battery

February 29, 2012 12:00 AM

Knowing how to jump start a car is one of the more useful skills that a driver can have, as it can help both themselves and any relatives or friends who need help with a dead battery.

To start, make sure that both engines are off. Take the red cable and connect it to the positive terminal on the dead battery. Then connect the other end of this cable to the corresponding terminal on the "good" battery.

Next, take the black cable and attach it to the negative terminal on the charged battery. Here's where many drivers make their mistake: the other end of the cable does not attach to the battery. It needs to be grounded on any metal part of the dead car. Simply attach the cable to an unpainted bolt or bracket as far from the battery as possible.

Turn on the car with the good battery and let both vehicles sit for a few minutes as the charge transfers. After five to 10 minutes, try to start the engine of the car with the dead battery. If it doesn't work, you may need to adjust the cables or simply let the cars idle longer, according to Edmunds.

Once you've got the car jumped, you may want to drive straight to a car repair shop. An auto maintenance expert can take a look at your vehicle and determine if this was simply a one-time mishap or if there are larger problems with your electrical system.

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