If your car battery is bad, you may be able to jump-start it with the help of a Good Samaritan’s car using jumper cables. If you’re able to reliably use jumper cables on your car, ensure the Good Samaritan’s battery has at least the same voltage as yours. It doesn’t matter if your car has negative ground and the other car has positive ground, or if your car has an alternator and the other car has a generator as long as the cables are correctly connected.
Eight steps to jump-start your car safely
- Get your jumper cables ready. Buying a set of jumper cables and keeping them in the trunk compartment is a good idea. If you don’t have jumper cables, you’ll need to find a helpful Samaritan who not only wants to help but also has jumper cables.
- Put both cars in Park or Neutral and turn off the ignitions in both. Engage both cars’ parking brakes.
- Connect one of the red clips to your battery’s positive terminal. It’s labeled “POS” or “+,” or it’s larger than the negative terminal.
- Connect the other red clip to the other car’s positive terminal.
- Connect one of the black clips to the second battery’s negative terminal.
- The last black clip should be placed on an unpainted metal spot on your car that isn’t near the battery.
- Start the working car’s engine and let it run for some minutes.
- Start your car. If your car doesn’t start, double-check the cables and have the other person run his engine for over five minutes. Then try again to start your car. If it still doesn’t start, it’s possible that your battery is beyond restoration and needs replacement.
Don’t turn off your engine if the jump-start works and your car starts! To recharge your battery, drive for at least 15 minutes. Your car battery isn’t storing enough charges and needs to be changed if your car doesn’t start again. Also, restoring your headlights if they are bad and drains battery power is a great way to conserve your battery.