Have you ever been stuck in a situation where you put your keys in the ignition, and all that you hear is some sputtering? Or maybe you hear nothing but your car doesn’t start either. If yes, then it means that you have experienced your car battery dying.
You must be aware that car battery dying can become quite a nuisance for you. It is important that you frequently check your battery condition to avoid any such scenario.
However, the only solution, if you are stranded somewhere, and your battery has given up, is to jump-start your battery. Here in this article, we will provide you some insight into how to jump-start a battery.
What is Causing the Battery to Die
It is important to identify why a battery may die. Multiple factors can affect your battery, like cold weather, battery draining out, your car generator not working, or your battery has run its course and needs a replacement.
Cold weather can have a drastic impact on your car battery. Even it is new and completely charged. If you have a rather old battery, the chances are that you will have a hard time starting your car in the cold weather.
To prevent this effect of cold, you first need to identify the state of your car battery. If it needs charging or replacement, you should get it done before you get into any trouble. Moreover, frequent driving can keep your battery charged and warm. Ensure that you run your engine for a while even if you are not driving to maintain battery life.
Battery Draining Out
Another reason why your battery may give up on you is if you leave your car lights even after you have turned the engine off. The battery is responsible for two main functions. One is to start the car and help ignition. While the other is to provide power to lighting systems, radio or speaker systems, or other things that do not get power from the engine.
While the car is running, the battery is being utilized while simultaneously being charged by the alternator in the car. When you turn off the engine but forget to turn off the lights, for example, the batteries would be all used up and not get charged. This will result in your car failing to start the next time you try switching the ignition. It is important that you are mindful of your habits when it comes to leaving the car to avoid any such scenario.
Generator Not Working and Old Battery
These are the technical faults that are hard to identify by yourself. While you should have an idea about your battery conditions, there are chances that it will stop working out of the blue. If the battery is too old and you believe that it needs to be replaced, do not delay.
If the generator is not working, your car will have trouble running. But since your battery is not being charged at all, you will drain all your battery while driving, and the next time you turn your car on, it won’t start.
Jump starting a battery can help in all of these situations, except the one where your battery has completely died. This will only happen if your battery is old and you have not given it much thought to maintaining it.
What is a Jump Start?
Jump starting your car battery means providing it enough power to get the ignition working. Once the engine is turned on, you do not require alternate power supplies. The engine can maintain its own power, and this will be enough to get you to your destination.
We use an alternate battery pack or a battery from another vehicle to jump-start a dead battery. You will require jump-start cables. These cables are high-grade wires with large crocodile clips at their ends. These cables can withstand the large amount of power that is required to jump your car. They are usually color-coded as black and red, denoting the battery’s two different terminals, negative and positive.
How to Jump-Start A Battery
We will be discussing two different methods to jump-start a battery. Both of these would require you to have proper cables. Jump-starting your car with some other cables can be very dangerous. Another thing that is required is an alternate power source. That is what differentiates our two methods. Jump starting by another vehicle or by a jump-starting battery pack.
A word of caution before we get into the details about jump-starting your battery: do not attempt to jump-start your car in the presence of flammable fumes, gasoline, or anything flammable, for that matter. The batteries are packed with high voltages to run your car, and the process of jump-starting may involve sparks which can lead to a mishap if you are not mindful of the environment around you.
Jump-Starting by Another Vehicle
The first thing while trying to jump-start your car battery is to identify the terminals on your battery. All the batteries have two different terminals, marked positive and negative.
Once you have identified the terminals on your car battery, identify the terminals on the other vehicle as well. This information is crucial to the process.
Step by step
Park the two cars close enough to easily connect the two batteries using the jump start cable. However, do maintain a distance. The maximum cable length should be utilized to avoid any sort of capacitive shock. Moreover, the two cars should not be touching at any cost. This can lead to current leakage being bypassed through one car into another, which can cause shocks.
Turn off the engines of both the cars and take out the keys from the ignition. This is a preventive measure to avoid any uncertain accident.
Once all this is done, it is time to connect the two batteries together. The convention is to connect the negative terminals using the black wire and the positive terminals using the red wire. This convention is derived from basic electrical engineering practices where these colors represent the two terminals. It is critical that you connect the negative terminal to another negative terminal and the positive terminal to the other positive terminal. While connecting these cables, also make sure that once you have clamped the wire to one end, the other end of the wire does not get in contact with anything else. Place these terminals ensuring all the safety hazards. Wearing rubber gloves is an added safety measure.
If the cables are messed up, there are chances of fire, sparks, and electrocution; so be very vigilant around the batteries.
The safest order is to first clamp the positive terminal on your battery and then attach it to the positive terminal of the other car. And while connecting the negative terminals, clamp the other car’s battery terminal first and then attach it to your battery.
Once the batteries are connected together, start the other car. When you start the other car, it starts charging its own battery as well as the battery in your car. If your battery is old, give it a few moments, this will help your battery get some charge.
After a little while, try switching your car on. This may take more than one attempt to bring your car back to life. Remember to not turn the ignition for long. This will only drain your battery further. When you switch your car on, hold it for a few seconds and if it doesn’t respond, leave it and try again in a moment.
Once your car has started, you are good to go. The only thing left to do is to disconnect the two batteries properly. Disconnect the cables in the reverse order, and be very careful. These cables now contain live current that is much more dangerous. Do not touch the ends of these cables before you have disconnected both ends. Similarly, make sure they don’t get in contact with anything until separated.
Jump-Starting with a Battery Pack
Nowadays, jump-starting battery packs are available that can be kept in your car for emergencies. These are rather simple to operate, a little bit safer as well. All you have to do is to connect these battery packs to your car’s dead battery.
However, you must still take all the precautions and maintain a safe distance. The whole process of connecting the batteries is similar to the previous process. You must make sure you connect the like terminals together.
If you are using a random battery, you don’t need to do anything else other than connecting the two and waiting a while before you start. But if you are using a proper jump starting battery pack, follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer. Although the process would be very similar, you should be certain of what you are doing.
We hope that this article will be able to help you in case of emergencies. Remember, always carry safety tools in your trunk for emergencies. Car batteries are high power sources that pose a great threat. If you are uncertain of the process, do not attempt to jump-start your car by yourself.