By the Numbers

How to Jump Start a Dead Car Battery

Options for jump starting your car

                    When it comes to jump starting a car, you have a couple of options. You can use a portable jump starter or have another motorist assist you by charging your battery with their running vehicle and jumper cables.


Carrying a portable jump starter in your vehicle can get you back on the road in no time. From cables to power, a jump starter has everything you need to jump start your battery without the hassle of waiting for another driver or tow truck to give you a jump.

Booster Cable

If you don’t have room to keep a portable jump starter in your vehicle, you’ll want to make sure that you have jumper cables as part of your emergency road kit. Then you will need to call and wait for another driver and car to give you a jump. Follow these steps to get your car running again.

Jump starting your vehicle with jumper cables

Step 1:

Gather what you need

Running Car

Running vehicle

Extra Driver

Additional driver

Booster Cable

Jumper cables

Step 2:

Getting started

Good Quality

Make sure you’re using good quality jumper cables. Ensure that they aren’t cracked or frayed.


Park the cars close together with the front ends facing each other. You don’t want to stretch the cables too far.


Place both vehicles in park.

Step 3:

Carefully connect the cables

Connect Positive

On the car that won’t start, connect the positive (red) cable to the positive terminal on the battery.

Connect Positive

On the good car, place the positive (red) cable on the battery’s positive terminal.

Connect negative

Take the ground (black) cable and connect it to the negative terminal of the good car’s battery.


Connect the other end of the ground cable to the bare metal of the engine block of the dead car.

Important! Don’t ever connect the cable to the battery – it could explode.
Dash Lights

Ensure the connection is good. In the dead car, turn the key to the on position and make sure the dashboard lights come on.

Step 4:

Starting the cars

Minute Timer

Let the good car run for a few minutes.

Start Engine

Next, start the dead car and leave it on.


Once the dead car has started, leave it running for at least 20 minutes. Although your car is running, your battery isn’t charged up. If you shut it off too soon, you’ll have the same problem again.


If you have to get a jump, it could be an indication that there is an issue with your battery. Have your battery checked out – it might be time for a new one.

If you have an electric vehicle like the Chevrolet Volt or Nissan Leaf, you shouldn’t jump another vehicle with jumper cables – it may cause damage.

Learn more about quality car batteries, find your car part, or find a local car repair shop today.

The content contained in this article is for entertainment and informational purposes only and should not be used in lieu of seeking professional advice from a certified technician or mechanic. We encourage you to consult with a certified technician or mechanic if you have specific questions or concerns relating to any of the topics covered herein. Under no circumstances will we be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on any content.