Leave aside the crisis situations like getting late for office/date or stuck in parking; a sudden death of car battery can bring panic attacks under usual conditions. Battery is akin to a magic wand which turns the vehicle on. Other auxiliary sections- radio, lights, charging point- breathe life from the battery. Once the engine starts beating, the energy drawn by the car is produced by its alternator. When turning the key supplies no or some spluttering, but the engine disappoints, raise your eyebrows towards the battery. Probably it is whitewashed in the crime.


What made the car battery ditch you and how to identify it?

Some usual suspects for battery drainage which do not require you to be Sherlock Homes are: 

Headlamps left on- we tend to forget to switch off the headlights once the car is parked. However, automakers have now come up with alarms to notify the driver.


Charging electronic devices- using ignition mode to charge devices for a long period will exhaust the car battery.

Music System- it is the most usual culprit. When the battery mode is on, playing a song for long will mute the battery.


So, how do you determine if the engine glitch is due to dead battery or is other automotive concern? Don’t jumpstart the battery if you hear a cranking sound from engine when the ignition is turned on. Otherwise, measure the voltage of the battery by multimeter if the engine doesn’t crank. Voltages can differ from vehicle to vehicle. So, it should deliver at least 12 volts with turned off engine. If not, draw your jumpstart cable.

Why to jump start your car?

Car battery forms the backbone of ignition process. When the ignition is turned on, electric current injects the starter motors. This enables the motor to rotate the car’s flywheel and thereby process the crankshaft cycling which starts compression stroke. The spark plugs attend to the rest. Modestly put, the starter motor relies on the battery for high electric current to operate. When the battery fails to do so, the starter motor turns incompetent to start the car. Thus, jumpstarting the car provides for the extra electric charge needed by the starter motor. Yes!! Of course you can push start the car only if your fitness level is way ahead than your car’s battery.

Jump start car- Do it yourself!!!

Prior information on jump start for your vehicle is necessary. Read your car’s manual. There may be specific recommendations on jump start for your model or certain manufacturers do not endorse jump start. Understand where the battery is housed. Usually it is in the front with engine. In some models the battery is located in the trunk. In such scenario, designated terminals under the bonnet are used for jump start.

Identify the negative (-) and positive (+) terminals of battery for a fruitful execution of jump start. Jumper cables are color coded- red and black. The red cable should be appended to the positive terminal and the black one to the negative. In an electrical system, current drifts from negative to positive terminal through wires energizing the entities alongside. In order to have accident free jump start correct connection is therefore mandatory. Avoid touching the cable clamps to anything but the target zone.


Commence the task by making sure the concerned cars and tools are turned off. Ensure that nothing flammable is in the vicinity. Sparks, fires and explosions are a rare possibility. Accidents are circumstantial in nature. Park the cars at close distance so that the jumper cables are connected to both cars’ batteries with ease. Ensure the cars do not touch each other in any way.

Generally, a 10-20 feet cable is used for jump start. A longer one makes the current ineffective. Low gauged cables are stronger and denser, so try to use it.

Electric shock is a possibility so be watchful in securing the area. Use gloves and goggles for added protection.


Steps Involved

1.  Check if the live and dead batteries are coherent in terms of voltage.                 Otherwise, damage risk to the electrical components is increased. 

2.  Turn off the cars and detach the car keys from the ignition. Put on the                 brakes to avoid car movement.

3.  Mark the positive and negative terminals of both batteries and connect the         jumper cables in the mentioned order


a)      Fasten the positive, red jumper cable clamp to the positive terminal of the dead battery.

b)      Fasten the other end of the same cable, the positive red jumper cable clamp, to the positive terminal of the operational battery.

c)       Fasten the negative, black jumper cable clamp to the negative terminal of the operational battery.

d)      Fasten the other end of the same cable, the negative black jumper cable clamp, to an unpainted immobile metal part of the engine module on the dead battery car. Reliable selections include the car’s chassis, a bolt on the engine, the alternator bracket, or a designated grounding terminal away from the battery. Avoid connecting the negative clamp to the negative terminal of the dead battery as it could detonate the gases from the battery.

e)      Start the car with operational battery. This will instantaneously process the revival of the dead battery.

f)       Let the car’s engine run for a few minutes to establish a flow of current from live to dead battery. 

g)      Try starting the dead battery car in a gentle manner and let the engine run. This facilitates the car’s alternator to recharge its own battery with sufficient power.

h)      Disconnect the jumper cables in a reverse fashion.

  • Separate the negative (black) jumper cable clamp from the terminal on the receiving car.
  • Separate the negative (black) jumper cable clamp from the operational battery’s negative terminal

  • Separate the positive (red) jumper cable clamp from the operational battery’s positive terminal

  • Separate the positive (red) jumper cable clamp from the receiver car.

Here finishes a successful, power packed jump start. Be sure to acknowledge the good deeds of the fellow person.

What’s with the portable jump starter?

Portable jump starters are designed to adjust in car’s trunk. However, some are not compatible with the high temperatures that car can touch in summers. So instructions are necessary when using it. 

It has the same set of red and black cable clamps. The process involved is identical as with using another car. Follow the same steps as mentioned above. Disconnect the process in the reverse order as stated above. This will conclude your jump start from portable device. Enjoy your drive ahead then.


Even after the jump start if the problem in the car persists, better to approach the car’s health care worker. Professional help should also be sought if jump start appears to be tricky. 

The proverb, Prevention is better than Cure, fits so nicely with battery exhaustion caused by irresponsible conduct when in car. So, the best is not to let the battery die.

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