A car that simply won’t start is every driver’s nightmare, a mandatory scene in any horror movie, and the reason you were late to a particularly important meeting at least once in your life.
And while most people start imagining heavy car service bills when their vehicle won’t start, the solution to this problem is often pretty simple and inexpensive. Any professional mechanic will tell you that trying to jumpstart your car should be the first thing that comes to mind when it won’t start.
In this article, we shall discuss how jumpstarting works, what you should know and do before looking for your good Samaritan, and, most important, how to jumpstart a car safely in any situation.
How does jumpstarting work, and why is it the first thing you should try?
n most cases, your car won’t start because of a faulty battery. The battery can fail due to many reasons, but most of the time, it happens simply because, just like any other thing in the world, it cannot last forever, and once in several years, you will have to replace it.
Jumpstarting a car is an attempt to revive a dead battery with the “juice” from a working one. This method works in most cases unless your battery is that old or damaged that it simply cannot hold the charge.
The process is pretty simple and is actually one of the first things any new driver should learn to do, no matter what kind of vehicle they drive.
To jumpstart a car, you should use two special insulated cables with alligator clips. It is always best to keep a jumper-cable kit in your car as there is a chance that even if you are lucky enough to find a good Samaritan willing to help you at once, they may not have those cables.
Using those cables, you connect the positive terminal of your dead battery to the working one. Then you use another cable to connect the negative terminal of the live battery and an unpainted part of your vehicle.
It is a pretty simple process, which, however, involves electricity and therefore requires caution and knowledge of some essential safety rules.
Safety first! Things you need to know before trying to jumpstart your car
There are several essential safety rules which everyone has to observe no matter what kind of car they are trying to jumpstart:
- Put the cars close to each other so it will be comfortable to attach the cables, but make sure that the vehicles are not touching!
- The person with a working battery should turn off the engine, put the vehicle on Neutral “N” or Park “P,” and pull the hand brakes to make sure that their car won’t move. Only then you should open the hood;
- Make sure to wipe off any kind of moisture, dirt, or other contaminations from the batteries` terminals before attaching the cables;
- Never try to jumpstart a battery that is visibly damaged or has signs of leaking or any other visual abnormalities. That way, you may damage your own car and the vehicle of the person who is trying to help you.
Jumpstarting a car is not rocket science and can be done by anyone, but a wrong connection can lead to electric shock and severe damage to the vehicle. That is why if you are not sure that you are doing it right, it is always better to address a more experienced driver or a professional.
It is also essential to understand that once you have to jumpstart your car, it is a sign that you should take it to service as soon as possible if you don’t want to end up with a “dead” car once again. It might have happened because your battery was simply old, or there might be a problem in the vehicle that has caused it to drain.
Here at OHS Body Shop, we provide all sorts of services and repairs, including urgent treatments and 24/7 towing services. Visit one of our branches located all over Montana’s Greater Flathead Valley, in Kalispell, Whitefish, Columbia Falls and Polson, and make sure that your vehicle is treated by professional mechanics with care and respect.