How to Jump Start a Car

How to Jump Start a Car

When a car is properly maintained, it might go on for years without you having to jump start it often. Let’s face it: It can be a real headache when you have somewhere to be and your car battery starts dying on you. While this is a common vehicle problem, unfortunately, everyone knows how to jump start a car. 

Knowing how to jump start a car battery with the right equipment can prevent unnecessary hassle. Jump starting a car is a critical skill every driver should have. 

Read on to learn how to do it.  

Tools You Need to Jump Start a Car

To make jumping a car easier, you need to keep the following tools in your car at all times:

  • Jumper Cables: These electrical cables will be used to connect your dead battery to an auxiliary power source — such as another battery or another vehicle.  
  • Mechanic Gloves: These are necessary for your hand protection in case the battery explodes while jump-starting it. 
  • A Flashlight: This will come in handy when you need a battery jump start at night. 
  • Paper Coverall: You’ll need this to keep your clothes from getting messy.
  • Owner’s Manual: Read the owner’s manual to know if your car is safe for jump-starting.

How to Jump Start a Car

Now that you have the necessary tools, learn the correct way to jumpstart a car with these steps:

Step 1: Get the vehicles ready

First, you’ll need a donor car to give your dead battery a jolt. Make sure that the donor’s battery has enough voltage. If everything looks good, position the vehicles close enough for the jumper cables to reach each battery.  

To ensure your safety, do the following:

  • Put both cars in park or neutral.
  • Turn off the ignitions.
  • Put on the parking brake.
  • Open the hood and secure them. 

Step 2: Get your tools ready

Protect your hands and clothes using mechanical gloves and coveralls. Prepare the jumper cables and see if they are long enough to reach each of the vehicle’s batteries.  If you need help locating the batteries, check your owner’s manual. If it’s too dark to see, use your flashlight.

Step 3: Attach the jumper cables

Once everything is ready, put the jumper cables in place and get your batteries back in working condition. 

Make sure to attach the clips to the terminals in the following order:

  1. Red to Dead – Connect the positive (red) clip to the positive terminal on the dead battery
  2. Red to Donor – Connect the other end of the positive (red) clip to the positive terminal on the donor battery
  3. Black to Donor – Connect the black clip to the negative terminal of the donor battery
  4. Black to Metal – Connect the other end of the black clip to a non-painted metal part of your car (dead car). A metal nut or bolt that is far away from the batteries is a good place to attach the second black clip.

Step 4: Start the Donor Car

Once all of the connections are hooked up, start up the donor car and let it run for a few minutes so that it can supply power to the dead battery.

Step 5: Test the Dead Battery

After a few minutes, check if power is getting to the car being jumped (yours) by turning on one of the interior lights. If it goes on, there may be enough power to start your car. 

Step 6: Start the Dead Car

If you’ve done everything right, your car should start right up and be drivable again. But if it doesn’t, wait several more minutes (15 – 20 minutes) and try again. 

(Note: If after many tries it still doesn’t work, stop. Contact car jump start experts since they know how to jumpstart a car with another car.)

Step 7: Unclip the Jumper Cable

Now that your car is up and running again, unhook each clip, reversing the order in which you connected them: 

  • The black clip on the non-painted metal
  • The black clip from the negative terminal
  • The red clip from the donor battery
  • The red clip from your battery

Step 8: Keep Your Car Running

After the jumper cables are removed, keep your car running for 20 minutes or more so that the alternator can recharge the battery.  

Step 9: Drive to a Safe Location

Now, you can drive home or near an auto shop before shutting off the engine because it might need to be jump started again depending on your battery and alternator’s condition. 

Step 10: Double-Check Your Batteries

Once you’re in a safe location, shut off your engines and try starting them back on. If it starts easily then you’re good to go. If not, consider taking your car to a mechanic for an inspection. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Which car do you put jumper cables on first?

You should connect the red clip to the positive terminal of the dead car’s battery first. 

What happens if you connect the negative terminal first?

Connecting the negative terminal first can lead to a short circuit as you may accidentally touch the car with the other cables. When a battery is short-circuited, it may cause fire or explosion.

How long should I run my car after a jump start?

You should let your car run for at least 20 minutes to give the alternator ample time to recharge your battery.

Can you leave jumper cables on too long?

You can. But if your car has already started and you want to be on your way, then there’s no reason to leave the jumper cables on too long.

Can you jump start a car with a spare battery?

Yes you can. The donor battery doesn’t need to be in the car to jump start a dead battery. 


There’s no need to worry about being stuck on the road for hours because you already know how to jump start your car. Preparation is everything. 

If your car is too slow to start or your headlights are dim, then your battery may need a replacement. Regardless of your needs, be sure to call Neighborhood Roadside Assistance for a fast and affordable jump start service in New Jersey. 

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Stefon McRae
Stefon McRae
Stefon is a New Jersey native and entrepreneur. With over 8 years of experience in the automobile field , his thriving company ‘Neighborhood Roadside Assistance’ started in 2020 amidst a global pandemic , helping over 1000 customers in need. He believes and commits to prompt and professional customer work! Hard work , honesty and servicing the community with unbeatable pricing and fast arrivals is Stefon’s mantra.


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