If you’ve never had experience hooking up jumper cables before, it may seem like an overwhelming concept that you may hesitate to try out. However, what most people don’t realize is that there are simple ways to hook up your jumper cables. You may even be surprised by how easy it is to do.
So what are some of the pure teachings on how to hook up jumper cables? All you need is a nice pair of jumper cables and a good comprehension on which side of the battery each clamp needs to go on.
While this may sound like a simple solution to getting started on how to hook up jumper cables, you want to be careful about what side do you put each clamp-on especially in correspondence with another vehicle and their battery.
If you don’t know which side goes to which, you could potentially short out both batteries, so it’s essential to have this information ahead of time.
Know Your Jumper Cables
When you go to try to start your car, and you don’t even get the satisfaction of it trying to turn, your car probably has a dead battery. Your battery can die from some different situations, situations such as:
- Cold weather
- Leaving on an interior light or radio while the car isn’t running
- Not starting your vehicle for an extended period.
These are just some of the situations that are the potential cause for your car not wanting to turn over. It can be a frustrating experience, but thankfully the solution is easy to come by. Hopefully, at this point, you have a pair of jumper cables that you can use to get yourself out of the situation. Additionally, having jumper cables can help a friend or family member in a pinch.
What To Look For In Jumper Cables
Being able to utilize jumper cables and do so safely will be very rewarding in the long run. There are many different types of jumper cables to choose from, but the most common that you’ll usually start with our ones that reach at least 20 feet in length and measure between four to six gauge in size.
You want to make sure that you give yourself enough length so that in the event you’re stuck and you aren’t in the best place for another car who help you out, you’ll at least have long cables that will reach the other vehicle.
You can always pick up beefier cables that have heavy-duty clamps on them to provide a better connection and remains durable for longer, and these kinds of wires would be ideal for people who drive larger rigs or trucks where their battery wattage is usually more.
Thankfully jumper cables aren’t usually expensive, especially if you are getting the bare basics to have something on hand when you need it. If you’re looking for an excellent set to start with, we like the Cartman brand jumper cables because they have better grip and come approved and guaranteed to remain flexible and -13-degree weather.
Setting Up Your Connection
When you first start in setting up your jumper cable connection, you have to make sure that both cars are off and placed in the park. It’s imperative that you keep the red and black handles from touching each other while you’re getting it’s set up between the two cars. Usually, it’s easier to let the other driver who’s helping you hold one end while you set up the other.
If you do let the clamps touch each other, it could cause a short in either vehicle and create dangerous sparks that could hurt you, so it’s important to make sure you’re paying attention to where the position of each clamp.
With each car part close enough that the cables can reach between the two vehicles, And then take your time to identify where the battery is on each car. Depending on the make and model, each vehicle usually has a different place where they place their cells.
Likewise, there’s usually a plastic hood that covers the battery to protect it from the elements and to provide a more aesthetic look. You will have to remove this plastic Hood if there is one to access the post that is on the battery. It’s important to have the proper tools with you if your battery does die, so getting familiar with your battery type is essential.
When you have the battery post exposed and available to use, you must determine which position is the positive and which one is negative. Most of the time the positive post will have a red cable attached to indicate that it is the correct one.
The negative most often the knot will come with a black cable attached to it. If your batteries don’t have colored indicators attached to them, you can usually look on the plastic casing near each post. Each one will feature a plus or a minus sign next to it, and that indicates which polarity it is.
Make sure that your battery posts are clean and clear of any debris or rubbish that might interfere with the connection and then gently clamp the red clamp onto the positive post of your dead battery. Afterward, you’ll take the matching red end to the positive post of the functioning battery.
Next to take the black clamp and attach it to the negative post of the good battery and then once you’ve done that you’ll want to make the remaining black clamp and connect it to piece of the vehicle’s frame or an unpainted engine bolt. Doing this helps prevent any shortages that could occur and creates an all-around safe jump situation.
Get Your Engines Started
Once you both are attached to the way that you’re supposed to be, have the person who’s helping you turn on their working vehicle and let it run for a couple of moments.
If your battery is drained dry, then attempting to start it immediately after it’s been hooked up will likely consume the other cars battery faster, so it’s important to let your car charge a little bit longer before that happens.
After you’ve given at the appropriate amount of time, give your car a try. If your car doesn’t even try to turn over, give it a couple more minutes and then try again. If the jump does end up being successful and your car starts, it’s important not to shut off your engine.
Instead, you should take the car for a drive for at least 15 minutes after you’ve gotten it started up so that the alternator can return the charge into the battery as it’s supposed to do.
If your battery ends up not charging, and you can’t get it working again, your battery may be beyond help at that point. Most insurance companies provide some form of roadside assistance with your plan, so it’s best if you can get ahold of them and have your car towed either to your home or to the nearest repair shop to have your battery replaced.
The same thing is exact if you get your car home and the next day the battery is dead again. That means that it cannot hold a charge and you’ll be stuck trying to jump it until you can get a new battery put in. It’s best to test your batteries charged as soon as you wake up in the morning to make sure that it is holding a charge.
If Your Car Doesn’t Start
So what happens if you jump start your car and it’s still not turning over? Or what if you do manage to get it home and it dies the next day? Your issue might not be strictly related to your battery; in fact, there is a multitude of different problems that could create issues when getting your car started for the day.
Your Car Hates Cold Mornings
Don’t get me wrong, nobody likes a cold morning, and that may be especially true for your vehicle if they have a carburetor. You’ll want to check the choke if your car is having difficulties getting started in the morning. Is it closed, or does it open?
These are questions that you’ll have to find answers for, and if you have a fuel injection system in your car, you will likely need to have a professional mechanic take a look at your car and give a diagnosis as to what is causing your vehicle to have problems starting up and colder weather.
The Car Is Silent When You Try To Turn The Key
The first thing you want to do when you check to see if it is a battery issue is to check the battery cable connections. Overtime while we drive our cars, bolts will loosen, and cables won’t have their hold like they used to. Or, on older models, the wires will eventually erode due to the type of material that the manufacturer used when they built your vehicle.
Thankfully there’s an easy way to check to see if this is the issue. When you go to check your cable connections, look to see if they appear old and worn out at all. If they do look slightly corroded, take the flat-end of the point of a screwdriver with an insulated handle. Wedge it between the connector and the terminal post as firmly as you possibly can.
Next, you want to try to start the engine, and if it starts, then you know that you need to clean your cables or even replace them entirely in order to keep your car functioning properly. If they don’t look corroded, then check and see if they’re loose and use the appropriate tool to tighten the bolts on.
Usually, it’s a small issue like this that causes our battery problems, but if your car refuses to start after you’ve done such, then there are a few other options to try.
Your Car Won’t Start On Damp Or Rainy Days
If you find that you’re having difficulties getting your car started on days where you’re experiencing a lot of rain or dampness, it could be a sign that there is water in your distributor cap. If you look under your distributor cap and you find moisture, the best way to solve this issue is to get some mechanics solvent from any automotive shop that’s nearby.
They use this to clean the inside of car parts, and when you apply it to the inside of your distributor cap, it will help evaporate the dampness. You want to switch the solution around a couple of times and then dry the cap as best as you can with a lint-free rag before replacing it.
Using only clean solvent for this is essential. If there’s any kind of dirt or contaminants in the solvents, it can ruin all of the points on your spark plugs and thus create more issues later on down the road.
Your Car Clicks When You Turn It
This factor is one of the surest signs that your battery is dead, but it could also mean that your connection is facing interference that your battery isn’t responsible for on its own. Check all of your contacts, including your wiring, from the starter back to the cell.
Usually, you can download a schematic of your make and model online. Otherwise, there are books you can purchase that specifically go over every inch of your car.
In The End
All in all, these are some of the most simple teachings on how to hook up jumper cables to show you that with a little knowledge, you can take on this relatively simple tasks to jumpstart your car. You don’t have to worry about being stranded or relying on someone who may know how to do it properly to get you home when your battery decides to fail.
All it takes is getting the right jumpers and some basic tools that you can keep in the trunk of your car for that inevitable time in your life where your battery will fail you. Having these on hand will guarantee that you can get help where and when you need it.