Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash
Flat batteries are an inevitable part of owning a car. No matter how well you look after your car, it is certain one day, you’ll find yourself with a flat battery.
The easiest way to fix a flat battery is finding a good samaritan who will donate their time and car to help you jumpstart your car. While the process of such is straightforward and easy, there are a few simple steps you must follow to ensure both your safety and the health of your car.
Jump Starting your Car with Jumper Leads
Flat batteries tend to strike at the most inconvenient times, whether this be on the morning of an important meeting or before a road trip. Restarting a flat battery can be almost impossible unless you have a pair of jumper cables and a friend nearby.
How to Jump Start Your Car with Jumper Leads in 2020
- Ensure the ignition is switched off in both cars.
- Turn off all accessories, such as lights and radio, possible in both vehicles. This eases the strain of the process on the car as it has less components to run.
- Check the donor car battery is the same voltage as the flat battery. If not, do not proceed. Jump starting cars without the same battery voltage can cause serious damage to the electrics in both cars.
- Check the two cars are not touching in any way and are both in neutral (for manual) or park with the handbrake on.
- Remove any vent caps on the battery with care. If the battery appears damaged in any way, do not proceed.
- Check your jumper leads for damage and do not proceed if you find any.
- Connect the red jumper lead to the (+) positive terminal on the flat battery and connect the end to the positive (+) terminal on the donor battery.
- Take the black jumper lead and connect to the negative (-) terminal of the donor battery and the other end to an unpainted solid metal component of the car with the flat battery.
- Try to start the car with the flat battery. If this does not work, start the engine of the donor car and try again.
- Once the car has started, allow it to sit idle with headlights on to avoid voltage spikes, which can cause damage.
- Remove the jumper leads in the opposite direction to which they were applied.
Frequently Asked Questions about Jump Starting Cars
Which jumper leads are best?
Not all jumper cables are created equally. When selecting jumper cables it’s important to purchase ones which match your cars requirements. Where possible, consult your local auto electrician to find out which are best for you. However, where this is not possible, look for leads which are fitted with a ‘spike guard’ or ‘surge protector.’ These will aid in the protection of any internal computers or complex electronics.
Can jump starting a car cause damage?
Yes, when done incorrectly, jump starting a car can cause damage to both cars involved. The easiest way to avoid any possible damage is to connect the jumper cables in the correct order. Failure to do so can result in damage to the car’s electrical system.
Can you tell if a car battery is running low?
Most cars will have a warning light that turns on when the battery is dead. However, some newer cars are fitted with technology allowing the driver to track the battery percentage.
Getting your car regularly serviced by a certified mechanic is the easiest way to keep track of your battery health.
How much does a new battery cost?
The cost of car batteries ranges from anywhere as little as $60 to more than $120 for a more premium solution. Keep in mind you may also need to pay labour costs of the battery to be fitted by a certified technician.
How long should a car battery last?
While the life of a car battery depends on its use, you should get at least 3 to 5 years out of it. Car batteries work by recharging during use, therefore those who don’t drive their car much or for only short periods of time, will likely see a shorter battery life than those undertaking more mileage
How do you dispose of an old car battery?
Car batteries cannot be put in your household waste and need to be disposed of properly. Most batteries shops or mechanics will take your old batteries and dispose of them for you.
If you wish to take them to the local recycling centre, ensure you follow the directions and place them in the correct bin. Some councils even have Household Hazardous Waste or Chemical Collection programs to aid in ethical disposal.