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November 1, 2022

The beginners guide to jump-starting a car battery

Whether you’re rushing to an important meeting, driving home after a few nights away or need to pick the kids up from soccer training, a flat battery is always an unwelcome surprise.

Whatever your plans are, it’s a sure way to bring them to a sudden and often inconvenient halt.

Batteries at the end of their life will need replacing. However, in some cases jump-starting the car battery is all it needs to be brought back to life.

Before jump-starting your car battery

Ahead of jump-starting your battery there are just two things you’ll need: jumper cables and an assisting vehicle, which must be fitted with a working battery.

Before getting started, you also want to ensure both vehicles are parked on level ground with the ignition turned off. While the vehicles need to be close enough to attach the jump-start cables, they should not be touching.

For safety, do not attempt to jump-start a damaged battery, do not touch the car and always protect your eyes and hands from the battery.

How to jump-start your car battery

If your vehicle won’t get going, there are a few key steps to follow when jump-starting the battery using jumper cables.

Step 1: Connecting the (+) cable

Start by connecting the (+) cable, which is usually red, to the (+) terminal of the dead battery.

Then connect the opposite end of the same cable to the (+) terminal of the working battery.

Step 2: Connecting the (-) cable

The second cable, which is know as the negative or earth cable, is usually black.

Connect this cable to the (-) terminal of the working battery.

Then connect the other end of the same cable to the engine block or chassis of the dead vehicle.

Step 3: Starting the engine

Start the engine of the assisting vehicle first, and then attempt to start the dead battery.

If the jump-start is successful the dead battery will begin working again. After this, the jumper cables can be removed in the reverse order they were connected.

Following a jump-start, leave your car battery running for at least 30 minutes. By going for a short drive, you give the battery enough time to be replenished.

In the case your car does not start or stalls right away, wait another minute before attempting to jump-start the battery again. If the jump-start is still unsuccessful, it could be due to unsuitable jumper cables or the battery may require replacing.

Please note: These steps must be followed exactly as instructed.

Avoiding the inconvenience of a flat car battery

Preventative maintenance is the best way to avoid a flat battery stopping your plans in their tracks.

With some simple maintenance such as periodically checking your car battery for damage, removing any corrosion, dirt or grime from cables and connections and looking out for early warning signs you can reduce the likelihood of a flat battery.

Signs that your car battery is about to go flat include:

  • Battery indicator on your dashboard is lit
  • Battery case looks swollen
  • Headlights are weak and lack power
  • Engine is struggling to crank over
  • Starting your car is an intermittent issue

For an expert’s input, another option is to drop into a Delkor® retailer near you for a quick and easy battery check. It’s a simple but effective way to determine if your battery needs any maintenance or requires a replacement, so you can get ahead of issues that could cause trouble down the road.