How to jump start your car in 4 easy steps

Updated Aug 17, 2022 | Same topic: Handy Maintenance Tips

You're stuck with a dead battery and need to jump start your car. Following these essential steps to do this properly!

Jumpstarting a car isn't everyone's forte and it can actually be terribly challenging for some car owners to perform. If you’re one of those people, or you’re simply not convinced by the old push-down-the-hill trick, try this step-by-step procedure has prepared to jumpstart your car.

1. Checking the battery

If you’re planning to jumpstart your car, you have to make sure that the battery is the problem first. One simply cannot jump into an unsure conclusion and assume that it is the battery that has a problem.

Jumpstarting a car without the actual knowledge of what’s really the problem is unsafe for both you and your vehicle. Follow these steps to safely check if the vehicle’s battery really is the problem.

  • Check the interior lighting - One way to know if your battery is out of juice is by checking the interior lighting. If it’s dim and barely serviceable, then that’s a plus one possibility that your battery may be at fault.

Jumpstart your car_check interior light

One way to know if your battery is out of juice is by checking the interior lighting.

  • Look at the headlight - Turn the headlight on and look at your car's headlights. If you see them dim, then it might be your battery but if not then there could be another problem and jumpstarting the car will not help.
  • Stick in your key - Try to turn on the lights on your dashboard just before you turn the key to start the engine. Test your stereo as well and take good notice of the results of these two tests. If your dashboard lights are okay or maybe dim and your stereo works fine, then it may be your battery indeed. If not there could be a chance that the problem is in your ignition switch.
  • Start the engine - Turn the key and listen to the sound your car makes. How does the car deliver the noise? Is it in a slow turn over or a quick crank and then dead? If it cranks almost slowly then you may have a dead battery indeed, if not, then the battery may not be the problem.

Jumpstart your car _ deadbattery

If the car cranks almost slowly then you may have a dead battery indeed, if not, then the battery may not be the problem.

How to Properly Jump Start a Car

>>> You might like to read: Car Won't Start? Here's a list of possible car starting problems

2. Make Your Attempt to Jump the Battery

Now that you’re sure that the battery is the problem, you can now proceed with the procedure with assurance in your mind. All you need to do now is to follow the guided instructions that we’ve prepared to help you out. Make sure to take safety precautions seriously as we value your health and safety while attempting to jumpstart your car.

  • Get the batteries ready - Pop the hood of the cars that will be participating in this jumpstart attempt. The batteries in most car models can be found near the car’s front cavity, if for some reason it’s not there, try looking for it in the area close to the firewall right in between the passenger compartment and the engine. There could also be a chance that you’ll find the battery in the trunk in some car models. If it’s not in any of the places we’ve suggested, check your car’s manual to properly locate the battery.

Jumstart your car_jump the battery

The batteries in most car models can be found near the car’s front cavity

  • Locate the terminals - Look for the plus sign that indicates positive and the negative terminal that has a minus sign. If you have blurry vision and can’t see the signs, take a look at the color of the cable; red is for positive while blue is for negative.
  • Get the cars in position - Ready the two cars and have their batteries positioned as close they could be to each other but do not park the two cars in a way that they’re actually touching each other. A hazardous electric arc can develop between the two vehicles if they touch each other while jumpstarting the car.
  • Shut everything off - Don’t forget to turn off the working mechanisms in your car like the air-conditioning system, the fans, the lights, the radio and anything else that you have in there that’s turned on.
  • Do a safety inspection - Take a pair of safety gloves, goggles and wear safety clothing before trying to handle the battery. Once you are suited up, inspect the battery for leaks, damages or even the smallest crack. If you find it necessary, safely take out the battery first from both terminals and clean the corrosion off of it with a strong brush. You can also clean the cables of the terminals.

Jumpstart your car_ inspect the battery leak

Inspect the battery for leaks, damages or even the smallest crack.

  • Ready Your Cables - The color coding for the wires and the jumper cables already correspond with the battery terminals so you just have to clip them unto the same color. While doing this, make sure that you never let the ends of the jumper cable touch each other after you’ve connected them to the batteries. If you do, this can result in a real problem and can even damage the vehicles involved or even hurt you.
  • Call off the jumpstart session if you find damage in the battery and opt for the safer solution – get yourself a tow truck service and have the battery replaced.

>>> Read more to know how to choose the right battery for your car 

3. Connect The Cables 

Then, the battery is ready in use, connect the cables in the following order:

  • Connect the red clip to the dead battery’s positive terminal.
  • Then connect the remaining red clip to the working battery’s positive terminal.
  • Take the black clamp and clip it unto the negative terminal of the working battery.
  • Clamp the remaining negative clip unto a chunk of grounded metal somewhere on the dead car. This could be a bolt or a bare, solid nut that is still attached to the engine. If successfully executed, you will see a spark once the clamp touches the metal.

Jumpstart your car_clumbing the battery

Connect the clamps in their designated terminals

4. Work on Your Car

Turn on the engine of the working car and let it roar smoothly for a few minutes. This charges the dead car’s batteries and sometimes you may need more than 30 or 60 seconds to do it. Once done, try to start the idle car. If the procedure failed, shut the host car’s engine off and temporarily disconnect the last clamp. Retry the same procedure after a few minutes to charge the batteries again.

Once the idle car starts, disconnect the clamps in reverse order and remember to not let the ends of the jumper cable touch each other. If it still doesn’t work, have your car towed.

>>> Visit our website regularly for more useful tips on car maintenance.

Hanna Sanchez

Hanna Sanchez


Hanna is one of the most competitive swimmers in the country during her day. It was not long before she discovered her passion for the automotive industry as well. Nowadays, she balances her passion through writing as well as coaching.

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