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How to jump-start a dead battery

When your car is dead, so is your day (at least to an extent). So to avoid losing time out of your schedule, you either have to call in an expert or head to the local auto shop for an entirely new, expensive battery. Or do you?

You can do this!
How to jump start your car

Save yourself pain, money and time by learning to jump-start a car all on your own.


Locate a car with a good battery

Maybe you have two cars, or you’ll need to call a friend over. Either way, you need to locate a good battery to help jump-start your dead one, says Howard Fleischmann, owner of Community Tire Pros & Auto Repair in Phoenix, Arizona. Pull the car with the good battery close enough to the other car that your jumper cables can reach both cars and then turn the engine of the “jumper” car off.

Jump-starting car step 1


Establish positive and negative charges

First, open the hoods of both cars. Go to the car with the dead battery and connect the red (positive) cable clamp to the red terminal. Then, go to the car with the good battery and do the same. Staying at the good battery, attach the black (negative) clamp to the black terminal. Then, go back to the dead battery and do the same. You’re now fully connected and ready to give your car a jump!

Jump-starting car step 2

“If one of the vehicles does not have a battery under the hood because it is located in the trunk or under [the] backseat, you will need to connect the red clamp to [a] red terminal, which will be labeled under the hood by a red cover with a plus sign. You will then connect the black clamp to a clean, unpainted metal surface under [the] hood,” Fleischmann says.

Jump-starting car step 3


Jump it!

Jump-start your car by returning to the car with the good battery and turning it on. This should establish a charge in the dead battery that can let the car run for up to 30 minutes — just enough time to get to your local auto supply store or car maintenance shop. Once you’re in an area with car experts, they can test your battery to see if you need a new one. Ideally, drive to the establishment where your battery is under warranty.

Jump-starting car step 4

More car basics

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Inflate your tires like a pro
Check your tire pressure

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