Getting ready to leave for work in the morning only to find out your car won’t start is never the best way to start your day. Perhaps you left the car lights on or didn’t completely close the boot overnight. Whatever the cause may be, a flat battery can be extremely frustrating. But there is no need to beat yourself up over it, we’ve all been there before.
If you, unfortunately, find yourself with a dead or weak car battery, it doesn’t have to mean the end of a potentially good day. Jump starting your vehicle is easy and safe, as long as you know what you are doing. With the right information and these few tips from Novus, you’ll have your car running in a flash.
Preparing to Jump Start Your Car
Find Some Cables:
Jumper cables are the most important item you’ll need to get your car back up and running after dealing with any battery issues. Essentially, the jump-starting process can’t begin without these, so it’s a good idea to keep some in your vehicle’s trunk at all times.
If you happen to be caught without any, check your garage, ask your neighbour, or call a friend to help. However, keeping a set of jumper cables in your vehicle can not only be beneficial to you but to other motorists as well. Knowing the frustration of being helpless with a flat battery, having such a small item on hand can make all the difference.
While jump-starting a car is typically quite simple, you must do it safely. Injuries can occur when helping someone jump their car, so if you are to buy a set of jumper cables, ensure you know how to use them properly and safely.
Find Another Functioning Car:
Without another functioning car, the jumper cables are obsolete. The next step is to find someone with a car nearby that has a functioning battery and is willing to help you out of your situation.
For the jump start to work, you need to ensure both car batteries are the same voltage and polarity. The standard is generally a 12-volt battery with a negative ground polarity, however, you can check the specifics in your car manual stored in your glovebox.
Park the working car as close as possible to yours so the front noses are very close without touching. This is to ensure the leads can reach both batteries once the bonnets are open. The two cars mustn’t be touching in any way as this can cause serious electrical damage to both vehicles during the jumping process.
Safety goggles and gloves are also recommended for your safety. Ideally you will have some stored in your car or garage somewhere to minimise and safety risks while jumping the car.
It is also important to shut off the ignition switch, lights and accessories in both cars before you jumpstart the car. Having the car in park with the hand brake on is important to optimise your safety and ensure the procedure goes accordingly.
Not only is smoking a hindrance when performing any physical task but is a disaster waiting to happen when jump-starting your car. Any spark near a battery is a major concern, so to prevent an explosion in your face it’s best to keep any matches, lighters and cigarettes away from both cars and everyone involved in the car jumping.
Although Australian winter doesn’t call for arctic frost, it can still have the potential to wreak havoc on your battery. Before jump-starting, check if the battery has frozen slightly overnight by looking through the inspection cap at the water. One or more sides of the battery case will bulge if it’s frozen, and if this is the case certainly don’t try to jump it at the risk of explosion.
When jumping the car, it is ideal to remove any jewellery and lose clothing such as scarves or ties that could accidentally interfere or touch the battery during the jump.
Steps to Jump Starting your Vehicle
1. Connect the Red Jump Lead
Using the red jump lead, connect the working battery’s positive (+) terminal to the flat battery’s positive (+) terminal.
2. Connect the Black Jump Lead
Remove the black jump lead and attach it to the working battery’s negative (-) terminal. Then attach the other end to an earthing point (unpainted metal on the engine block or chassis), ensuring it is well away from the flat battery and fuel system.
Caution: you mustn’t attach the negative cable to the negative terminal of the weak battery when jumping a car battery. No matter if you have done it before without harm, this is a common mistake that has the potential to ignite hydrogen gas over the battery causing an explosion.
3. Start the Working Car
Turn on the engine of the working car, allowing it to run for a few minutes.
4. Start your car
After the working car has been running for a few minutes, start your car’s engine with the flat battery and let both cars run idle for around ten minutes.
If it won’t start, ensure the cables are properly connected and try to start your car again. If it still won’t start, your battery may be beyond help.
5. Turn off and disconnect
After running it for about ten minutes, if your car does start, turn off both car engines and carefully disconnect the leads in the reverse order to the way they were connected. So, remove the black lead from your car first, followed by the red lead from the other car.
Ensure the leads don’t touch one another or the car as you remove them.
6. Start your car
Now that the cars are disconnected, try turning the keys in the ignition to see if your car will start up on its own.
While following these tips are generally a foolproof way to restart your car battery, if the car still won’t start there is likely a larger issue at play. If this is the case, there is still no need for concern, professionals deal with these issues daily and can help take care of the process for you. Jump-starting your car can be hazardous, so whether it didn’t work or you are simply in doubt, call a professional to ease some of the stress.
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