Jump leads are an invaluable piece of car kit, especially in winter when your battery is more likely to become flat. You may have accidentally left the radio or car lights on overnight but never fear, it’s easy to fix with a good quality set of jump leads and a car with full battery charge.
Before jump starting your car you will need to bear in mind the following:
- Jump leads can be dangerous so follow instructions carefully as otherwise you may damage your car or even yourself
- Check the flat battery for signs of cracks or leaks. If you try to start a car with a damaged battery there is a risk of fire or explosion.
- Never join the ends of the leads together and ensure that the leads can’t come into contact with any moving engine parts
- Keep metal objects out of the way of the battery – jewellery, stray wires, anything that could touch the battery might cause a spark
- Don’t smoke or have a naked flame near the battery as the battery has flammable gases and you don’t want an explosion on your hands
- Keep loose fitting clothes and scarves away from the engine
How to jump start your car – the process
- The fully charged car (donor engine) should have the same voltage battery
- Locate that batteries under the bonnet of each car and park the donor car opposite with a walking space in between.
- Switch off the ignition and ensure that all electrical items within each car are turned off (lights heaters etc) and that handbrakes are on
- Open both bonnets
- Connect one end of the red cable to the positive positive (+) terminal on the flat battery and then the other end of the red cable to the positive terminal on the donor car’s battery. Ensure neither end of the red lead touches any vehicle metal
- Connect one end of the black negative (-) cable on the negative terminal on the donor car and the other end to a suitable earthing point on the flat car’s engine or chassis (on the engine block or a bolt or metal bracket). Ensure that the lead is well away from the battery and fuel system
- Leaving the leads connected, start the donor car’s engine straightaway and run for about 15 minutes at a fast idle
- After 15 minutes turn the donor car’s engine off and start the car with the flat battery and it should start straight away
- If it doesn’t start straight away, leave connected and try again in a minute or so
- Once the car is running, you can disconnect the leads
- With the engine still running (on the flat battery car) remove the jump leads in reverse order making sure that the ends of the leads don’t touch or the cars’ bodywork – ie start with the negative lead on the flat battery
- If the leads are hot, allow to cool for a few minutes to avoid starting a fire
- Run the engine of the newly charged car for a few minutes and drive the car for at least 20 minutes as otherwise there might be a problem with the ignition or charging
Now you can revive your battery should it become flat or rescue another driver in a similar situation. However, if you have any doubts or questions about jump leads or your car battery, we’d happily have a chat to you at MEB the Motor Centre, in Edmonton.