How to… Jump start a car

One temporary way around a dead battery is by using jump leads or a power pack. However check your vehicle handbook before going ahead.

Items required:

  1. Jump leads or powerpack
  2. A working car (with a similar engine size to yours)
  3. Safety goggles

(You can also use a portable power pack instead of jump leads. These are very handy and save you having to borrow a car for the same purpose.)

Before jump starting

  • If your battery is damaged, leaking or corroded, call in a pro do NOT attempt to jump start.
  • Keep metal objects away from the battery. If they cause a spark it could be dangerous.
  • Remove loose clothing in case they get caught in moving parts.
  • Avoid naked flames and never smoke.
  • Make sure headlights and other electronics are off – remove the key from the ignition.

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How to jump start a car using jump leads

  • Park both cars in neutral next to each other so that they’re close but not touching. Open the bonnet; the jump lead should be able to reach both vehicles.
  • Connect the first end of the RED positive lead to the positive terminal on the working battery. Do the same for the other end of the lead for the flat battery.
  • Connect the BLACK negative lead to the negative terminal on the working battery. Attach the other end to a metal (earthing) point, such as a bolt or bracket, away from the dead battery. Some cars have negative jump-starting poles – check your handbook to see if yours does.
  • Check the leads are away from moving parts then start the engine of the working car.
  • After about a minute, try starting the car with the dead battery. If it doesn’t work, leave it a little longer, but switch off the engine if the leads get hot.
  • Once you have your car running, leave the engine on for a couple of minutes to charge the battery.
  • Remove the jump leads in reverse to the way you attached them. Make sure they don’t touch together or any metal surfaces. You should then drive for at least 30 minutes or leave the engine running.
  • If you can’t get the engine to start, unfortunately you have a bigger problem!
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