Car Care 101: How To Jumpstart A Car

how to jumpstart a car
By Derrick Johnson

It’s frustrating if you’re running late for a meeting and when you try to turn on the ignition on your car, you experience the horror of your car refusing to start. The situation gets more frustrating if you do not even know how to jumpstart a car‘s engine.

If you are a car owner you should be prepared for any predicament that involves your car; from how you can escape when you accidentally drive off a bridge into an ice-cold river, what to do when the engine bursts into flames and, of course, how to jumpstart your car when the battery dies.

First of all, how exactly do you know if a car’s battery is empty? Quite simple really, the battery is dead when you turn on the ignition and you only hear audible clicks coming from the engine, or if you do not hear anything at all. If you turn the key and the car’s engine turns over, it is most likely a more complicated mechanical problem which you cannot do anything about.

If you do find that the car’s battery is drained then here’s what you should do:

How To Jumpstart A Car With Cables (Works for both automatic and manual transmission)

  1. Take out the jumper cables and pop open the hood of both cars. Every responsible car owner always carries jumper cables in the car. If you do not have any, then this is a good time to get some.
  2. Connect one end of the red positive cable to the positive terminal of the good battery and the other end on the dead one.
  3. Then connect one end of the black negative cable on the negative terminal of the good car, and attach the other end on any unpainted metal part of the car with the dead battery; this will prevent sparks from flying and possibly singeing your arm hairs off.
  4. Start the car with the good battery for 2 to 3 minutes, this will build up enough charge in the other battery so that it can start on its own, then take the cables off in reverse order. Leave the stalled car idling for half an hour to make sure that the battery gets a sufficient amount of charge before going on your way.

How To Jumpstart A Car By Push Starting (for stick shift only)

If you have a car that has a manual transmission then you can get it started even without cables. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Put the car in first gear, turn on the ignition, and then step on the clutch all the way.
  2. If you’re parked facing downwards on a hill then you are in luck. You just need to release the parking brake let your car roll downhill to pick up some speed, and then release the clutch immediately. This will cause the engine to turn over and start on its own. If not, just press and release the clutch again. If you are not on a hill you should get a couple of buddies of yours to give you a push.

Keep this info in your back pocket and you’ll never have to worry about how to jumpstart a stalled car ever again.