Monday morning, you are ready to head over to the office and put your key in the ignition!
What! Your car won't start. Now that you don't have a replacement battery in your trunk and need a quick solution to start the engine, you are looking for ways to jump start the vehicle.
In this article, we have covered all three ways to jump start a car, with or without another car, and summarized some important safety tips to follow in the jumpstart process. Stay with us!
Why Do I Need to Jump Start My Car?
Jump starting is needed when you have a dead battery in your car. Your car battery can die for various reasons, from leaving the headlights on overnight, having parasitic drain, too old battery, or freezing temperature.
No matter what caused your battery to die, you need to jump start your car to drive the vehicle without replacing the battery.
Jump starting is easy, requires no technical knowledge, and can be done within minutes.
What Do I Need to Jump Start the Car?
Depending on the method you are following to jump start the car, you need different materials.
Push start method requires you to gather only a couple of people to push your car, nothing else. Jump starter method on the other hand requires a jump box containing a charged battery and jumper cables. And if you have not enough manpower, have an automatic transmission vehicle, and don't have a jump box, then you need to get help from another properly functional vehicle with jumper cables to start your car.
How to Jump Start a Car Without Another Car?
You have two options to go with in case you have a dead battery sitting under the hood. One requires a couple of men, we call it "Push Start Method" and the other requires a portable jumpstart battery that you need to buy and store in your trunk before the problem pops up.
(a) Jump Starter Method
Starting the car with a jump starter is the easiest and fastest working method of all. This does not require you to wait for some other person to come and push your car and do not need another car to start the vehicle. So, here are 5 simple steps that you need to follow-
Tools You Need: Jump Box
Supplies Needed: Jumper Cables
Estimated Time: 15 Minutes
1. Prepare the Vehicle
Before you start finding ways to jump start the car, you should check whether the cables have a good connection with the battery terminals. Sometimes, rusty or dirty connectors or terminal can prevent enough power to go to the ignition system.
So, clean the cable connectors and the battery terminals before trying again to start the car.
If that becomes a failed try, remove the key from the ignition and head over to the next step.
2. Get the Jump Box
Get the jump starter out of your car. The box must have enough charge to jump start your car.
Most jump starters have volt and charge indicators to give you an idea about its internal condition. The most important thing to check in the jump box is its polarity protection mechanism. Although most of the modern products have them, we encourage double checking it to prevent any damage to the car.
In case you don't have a jump starter yet, here is our recommendation for the jump starter.
Advantages of Jump Starter
- Jump Boxes have some key advantages against the other methods of starting the car with a dead battery.
- These are fast and reliable.
- Don't require you to call friends or stop drivers for roadside assistance.
- Works Anytime, anywhere.
- These can be used as a portable power bank.
- You can help others as well with these without risking your vehicle
- Takes a small space but serves great.
- These portable batteries can save you in emergencies.
3. Connect the Jumper Cables
Before start connecting, turn off the jumper cable to prevent sparks or short circuits.
Most of the jump box nowadays come with pre-integrated jumper cables. Jump boxes with built-in cables are best as they save your time. Plus, there is no risk of losing cables.
When connecting the cables, start with the positive one. Connect the red cable to the positive post and the black cable to the negative battery terminal.
If you can't figure out which terminal is positive and which one is negative, see the colors. Red is the indicator for the positive or power, and the black indicates the negative or ground connection.
You will see '+' sign close to the positive terminal and '-' sign close to the negative post.
4. Start Your Vehicle
After connecting the cables, turn on the jump box so that it starts producing power to your car battery.
Now, get into the car and put the key into the ignition switch. You should now be able to start the car.
If the car is not starting after all these efforts, check if the cable connections are good. Sometimes loose cable connections can prevent the car from starting.
5. Disconnect the Jump Box
As soon as the car starts, get off the car and turn off the jump box first. Then disconnect both positive and the negative clamp from the battery and store the jump box somewhere in your car.
Be cautious when disconnecting the cables. Don't start disconnecting the clamps without turning the jump box off out of the excitement. This can create sparks and damage your car components.
(b) Push Start Method
As you can guess from the name, you need some people to push your car to get some momentum and ignite the engine. Here is what you need to do to jump start your manual transmission car -
1. Convince a couple of pedestrians to push your car. If your car is lightweight or the road is inclined, a person should be able to push your car and give it enough momentum to ignite.
2. Put your key and keep it in the run position. You don't need to do anything here, so leave the key in there.
3. Put the gear on the second position. This eliminates the risk of damaging the clutch or the transmission. Plus, it starts the car smoothly and you won't feel a sudden jerk.
However, you can start the engine leaving the gear on the first position as well. But do this only when you have a very short distance in front of the car to drive or is not getting enough momentum to run it on the second gear.
4. Press the clutch all the way in and hold it there.
5. If your emergency brake is engaged, release it.
6. Now, ask your friends to push the car so that the wheels start rolling. When you get some momentum on it, release the clutch pedal and press it again fast.
With enough momentum, this should start the engine and you will be able to drive the car normally.
Can I Push Start an Automatic Car?
In most of the cases, you can't push start an automatic car. You need to use either the jump box or another functional car to jump start an automatic transmission vehicle.
However, some automatic cars start when you apply the push start method. Automatic transmission vehicles that are equipped with rear and front hydraulic pumps respond to the push start method.
But we don't recommend applying the push start method on any vehicle unless you have no other options available.
How to Jump Start a Car With Another Car Safely?
The final method of jump starting your manual or automatic vehicle is to use another car with a functional battery. To be successful igniting the engine, follow these steps carefully-
Note: Remove the clamps from the terminals of the dead battery. And reconnect them after cleaning the terminals. Sometimes, a loose connection can cause problems that won't start the car. If it becomes a failed try, follow the step by step process elaborated below.
1. Position & Prepare Both Vehicles
Position both the cars close to each other. Keep around a meter distance between the cars so that they do not touch but the jumper cables can reach both batteries.
As you have one dead car, you need to move the working vehicle to the position. When moving towards the non-functional car, make sure to go very slow. Sometimes, people end up hitting the other car while taking position.
After positioning, remove keys from both of the vehicles, Open the hoods, and locate the batteries.
2. Connect Batteries with Jumper Cables
Take jumper cables and start connecting. Start from the dead battery first to prevent sparks. Connect the red cable to the positive lead but don't connect the black clamp to the negative terminal of the dead battery. For now, leave it on a non-conductive surface.
When connecting the cables, be cautious. Don't let the positive connector to touch negative connectors. This can cause short bursts destroying your battery.
Now, go to the functional car and connect the other end of the red cable to its positive and black cable to its negative terminal.
After doing this, go back to your car and find a thick bare metal in the engine bay. Some cars have grounding spots for jumping the car. If you have one, make use of that. If not, use any bare metal spot that does not move when you start the engine and, is not connected to any electric components.
Connect the clamps properly so that you achieve good connections with the battery.
After connecting both the vehicles, make sure the cables are not in the way of any moving parts like a serpentine belt or cooling fan.
3. Start the Functional Car
Now, start the vehicle with the good battery and let it run for 5 minutes. Let the good battery pass some juice to the dead battery so that it can start your engine.
Depending on the different conditions of both the batteries, it may take from 2 to 10 minutes to give the dead battery enough power to start the engine.
4. Try to Start Your Car
Now, put the key in the ignition of the car with dead battery and try to start the engine.
Following these steps should start your engine. If not, try to connect the negative terminal with some other bare piece of metal. In most cases, this should solve the problem.
If the problem persists, go to the functional car and run it at 2000 RPM for two more minutes and try again.
5. Disconnect Jumper Cables
After all these steps, your car should start and it is time to disconnect the jumper cables.
Start from the bad battery. Remove the black grounding clamp and don't let it touch anything. Then, remove the red cable from the dead battery. And again, don't let them touch each other.
After that, disconnect the positive cable first and the negative one at the end from the functional battery.
Following this sequence will prevent sparks and is the safest.
How to Jump Start an Automatic Car Without Another Car?
You need to have a jump box to jump start an automatic car without another car.
Because the automatic cars won't let you close the clutch like manual cars, push start method won't work.
You need to have either a jump starter or a functional car to jump start your automatic car. Except push start method, all the jump starting methods are the same for both manual and automatic transmission vehicles.
Pro Safety Tips About Jump Starting a Vehicle with Dead Battery
- Before you jump start your vehicle, read the owner's manual. Some manufacturers don't recommend jump starting the vehicle. To run those vehicles again, you need to replace the battery with a new one.
- Ensure that the donor battery has enough voltage to give your dead battery enough power. Always use a healthy battery for jump starting.
- DO NOT try to jump a physically damaged battery. This can cause a short circuit, explosion or electrical components burn out.
- DO NOT try to jump a frozen battery. This is a very risky job to do and you may end up exploding the battery.
- Turn off every electrical components in your car. From your door speakers to the radios, dash cams to the headlights. Everything should be turned off for safety and fast recovery.