How to Jump Start a Car


Being able to jump start a car is an important piece of car ownership. It’s not just helpful for you – knowing how to jump start a car will allow you to help out others you come across on the road, or in the parking lots. Sure, you could call a tow truck or AAA, but that could be costly, or could take a long time to show up and give a jump… or both!

How to Jump Start a Car |  Halterman's Toyota in East Stroudsburg | Jumper Cables Laying on Floor of Service Bay
How to Jump Start a Car |  Halterman's Toyota in East Stroudsburg | Service Advisor Holding Up Jumper Cables
How to Jump Start a Car |  Halterman's Toyota in East Stroudsburg | Service Advisor Using Jumper Cables On Vehicle

Being Ready for a Jump Start

It all starts by having the equipment you need. You should always have a set of jumper cables in your vehicle at all times. We recommend having a full emergency kit in your vehicle, especially for longer trips, but if there is one absolutely necessary piece of gear to have in your vehicle at all times, it’s jumper cables.

Another option to keep in your vehicle would be a portable jump starter. While these aren’t cheap, they will prevent you from having to hunt down a running donor car. This is particularly handy if you’re looking for a jump in the middle of nowhere, or at weird times. It’s one thing to get a jump from a cubicle buddy at work – it’s a whole other one to be asking a stranger in a Home Depot parking lot at 9 at night.

Parking and Prepping

Getting the vehicles in the right spot is important and prepping the vehicles to start them up will make the jump that much faster.

Obviously, the dead car isn’t getting started and moving anywhere. So consider where the battery is in the dead car, and where it is in the working car that will be helping to jump. Park the working car so that the batteries are as close as possible, to make it easier to hook up the jumper cable. Don’t let the cars themselves touch.

Get the jumper cables out and unwind and untangle them. Get them in position to make the attaching portion easier.

 
How to Jump Start a Car |  Halterman's Toyota in East Stroudsburg | Man Looking Under Hood of Vehicle

Attach the Cables – Order Matters!

Hook the red positive clamp to the positive terminal of the dead battery. Then, attach the other red positive clamp to the positive terminal of the working battery. Clamp the black negative clamp to the negative terminal of the working battery. Finally, attach the remaining black negative clamp to an unpainted metal surface of the dead car – DO NOT attach it to the negative terminal on the dead car’s battery.

Order is very important to prevent accidental sparks or fires. Connecting the correct poles (red to red, black to ground) is most important of all – reversing jumper cables can damage a battery beyond repair. Also, make sure that the jumper clips do not come in contact with each other while doing any of this.

Start ‘Em Up!

Start up the working car, let it run for a moment, then start up the car with the dead battery.

Remove the Cables – Order Still Matters!

Just like when you attached them, the order of removal of the cables is important. The two negatives first, then the two positive clamps. Just like with attaching, failure to detach in the correct order can lead to sparking and potential damages to the electrical system, fires, or shocks.

 
How to Jump Start a Car |  Halterman's Toyota in East Stroudsburg | Woman Starting Up Car After Jumping It

Running and Recharging

Once the dead car is up and running again, you’ll need to leave it running for at least 15 minutes whether simply idling in a parking spot or driving around on the road. This will allow your battery to build up enough of a charge so that it can be restarted after the next time the vehicle is shut off. Failing to let the jumped vehicle recharge could result in needing yet another jump start – and successive jump starts are inconvenient and potentially harmful.

Now that the vehicle is running, it should also be taken in to identify the source of the problem. If you know it – maybe you realize you left a light on overnight – it’s not a big deal. But if it happens out of the blue, it could be a dying battery or a potential electrical leak in the system. Get it diagnosed and fixed, so you’re not left stranded again!


Just because your car, truck, or SUV won’t start doesn’t mean all hope is lost, as long as you know how to jump it. Keep these pointers in mind and don’t panic if your vehicle won’t start right away. Find yourself a running vehicle, and jump start yours back to life!


If you want to learn more about how to jump start your vehicle, contact us at Halterman’s Toyota. And if you’re in need of a new battery, you can visit the experts at our dealership located in East Stroudsburg.