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How To Jump Start A Car & Its Limitations


How To Jump Start A Car

How To Jump Start A Car
How To Jump Start A Car

The need to jump-start a car may arise whenever the battery of the car goes down accidentally.

In other words, if a car battery got discharged either as a result of long-parking of the car, playing music when the car ignition is off, forgetting to off the headlights, or because of the decreasing lifespan of the battery.

Whichever the case, a dead vehicle battery will not be able to start the car because the voltage output will not be working to turn the alternator that would ignite the engine.

To start any vehicle with the discharged battery will be done through the jump start. Though the action is very necessary for some emergency situations, experts had said that such may not be good for vehicles with dual-fueled or alternatively fueled systems and if the vehicle has an electronic ignition system.

Jump-starting is usually necessary or required in the starting of any automatic transmission vehicle while push starting is required for manual transmission vehicles.

There had been issues regarding the jump-starting process in cars as many experts had detailed their own procedure according to their own experience.

However, a reliable source also said that it is best to consult the vehicle manual to see the steps usually specified by the manufacturers for jump-starting to avoid damaging the car battery or any ignition system in the process.

The manufacturers of cars do provide jumper cables and the jump-starting procedures in the vehicle manual. The purpose is to assist the user in handling emergencies starting whenever no mechanic is available to help in the situation.

Jump-starting any vehicle will require the availability of another fully-charged battery, jumper cables, and the knowledge of the required procedures.

Jump cables are also called the booster cables or jump leads, they are a pair of insulated wires of sufficient capacity with an alligator clip at each end to interconnect the disabled equipment/vehicle with an auxiliary source, such as another vehicle or equipment with the same system voltage or to another battery.

The clips of the jump starter cables are usually insulated to prevent inadvertent shorting and such may be made from metals such as copper or steel, the polarity of the two cables can be known based on the colors of the insulators on them.

The positive (+) cable has red color insulation while the negative (- ) clip has black color insulation.

How To Jump Start A Car; Step-by-Step Approach

The procedure for jump-starting a car using another vehicle or car battery is as follows:

  1. Jumper cables usually accompany newly bought vehicles and are kept in a safe place inside the vehicle for emergency purposes, the first step of carrying out jump-starting is to ensure you have the jumper cables. Assuming you have the cables and only need the Samaritan that would help you to start your vehicle, the work will become easier.
  2. Look out for vehicles passing by for their assistance. Someone with pity may decide to offer help. When such is available, position the vehicle such that their front bonnets face each other directly and shut off the ignition system of the assisting vehicle.
  3. Locate the battery of the assisting car, and identify the polarity of the terminals properly before clipping the jumper cable on them by attaching one of the red clips to the positive terminal of your battery that is in your own car. Also, attach the other end of the same cable to the positive terminal of the other car that will be supplying the voltage.
  4. The same way the positive terminals had been connected repeated the same for the negative terminals. By attaching one of the black clips to the negative terminal on the other battery and attaching the last black clip to an unpainted metal surface on your car that is not near the battery.
  5. Start the assisting vehicle and allow the engine to run for some minutes.
  6. After allowing the vehicle for some time, check if your own car could start by trying the ignition system if it could start the car.

NB: if the car cannot start, check if the cables are properly connected and have the process repeated for longer minutes before trying again.

And if jump starting works and your car starts, allow the car engine to run for a long time while in a stationary position to enable the car charger in charging the car battery properly before moving them or turning the car off.

Driving the car for about 15 minutes will enable it to recharge the battery properly otherwise allow the car in its situational state while the engine is still on.


The production of flammable hydrogen gas is usually associated with an operation of a lead-acid battery through the electrolysis of water inside the battery, especially when overcharging occurs.

When wrong connections are used, there are possibilities of accidentally shorting the good battery or igniting hydrogen gas.

Jump-starting may not work or may take a longer time if the supplying voltage battery is very low to the vehicle battery it is trying to jump-start.

When jump-starting cables or jumper cables are interconnected between different voltage systems like 6volt and 12 volt systems together may cause damage.

If the car battery is dead or physically damaged leading to its inability to start the car, a jump-start will not work in such condition except if the battery is changed.

If the electrolyte level of the battery has gone down jump start may take a very long time or may not be possible depending on how bad the level of the electrolyte has dropped.

In the case of cold-weather regions, the electrolyte might become frozen in such cases, the car should not be jumped started at all to avoid the possible explosion.


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