How to Jump Your Car Battery Correctly
In the world of automotive emergencies,
motorists need to learn certain procedures for "safety's sake." Two of the most valuable
lessons, changing a tire and hooking up jumper
cables are best learned before an emergency arises.
The process of boosting a battery is especially
important in cold weather. Jumper cables or cables
on a portable battery booster should be connected
properly to avoid sparks, which can cause an explosion
of the hydrogen gas emitting from a battery. Beyond
this, an incorrect hook up can damage critical,
and expensive, electronic components.
The procedure is simple:
First, connect the positive (+) clamp to the positive
terminal of the healthy battery and the other
positive clamp to the corresponding terminal of
the dead battery.
Next, the negative (-), or ground, terminal on
the good battery and, finally, the negative clamp
to the engine block, frame or other grounded metal
as far as possible from the battery. You want
to avoid sparks in the vicinity of the explosive
hydrogen gas that emits from the battery. Do not
connect it to the ground terminal (negative).
When using a portable battery booster, the process
is much the same.
Connect the positive clamp of the booster cable
to the positive clamp of the dead battery. Then
connect the negative cable to the engine block
or other grounded metal away from the battery.
The Council offers an additional suggestion: if
you are buying jumper cables or a portable battery
booster, buy the best quality you can afford.
Look for well-insulated clamps and 8-gauge wire.
(Note: the lower the wire gauge number, the heavier
the gauge.) Under the heavy electrical load of
boost starting, lightweight cables may not be
able to deliver enough current to start some engines.
In fact, they have been known to melt in the user's
If your battery is three-years old or older and
you haven't had it checked, it's a good preventive
measure to do so, suggests the Council. A battery's
power is reduced as the temperature drops. And
that's when the engine's starting demands are