Jumping a Car Battery: 10 Mistakes You Must Avoid

You push the button, but the car doesn’t start. Turning the key in an older model gives you the same results. That distinctive clicking noise sends a clear signal. You’re dealing with a dead battery. Thankfully, the cables are in the trunk. You’re ready to fix the problem.

Before this scenario plays out, think about what could go wrong. It’s one thing to know how to use jumper cables. It’s another to know how to jump a car safely. Here are a handful of the most common mistakes that happen when jumping a battery.

10 Wrong Ways to Jump Start a Dead Battery

1. Using Cheap Cables

Inexpensive jumper cables are easy on the budget, but they aren’t reliable. Quality cables reduce resistance and optimize current flow during the charging process.

2. Leaving Accessories On

This mistake can result in a damaging surge through your car’s electrical system. Always turn off climate systems, lights and any other accessories before jumping the battery.

3. Turning On Both Ignitions

Leaving both cars running can damage both car batteries. Don’t turn on your ignition until the dead battery has time to charge.

4. Mixing Up Negative and Positive

Mixed connections can melt batteries and cause personal injury. Make sure you know how to use jumper cables without confusing negative and positive connections.

5. Letting Cables Swing

If a cable attached to the working battery swings, unattached alligator clips pose a sparking hazard. Keep a firm grip on cables so that unattached clips don’t come into contact with painted metal.

6. Touching Clips Together

This dangerous slip-up shouldn’t ever happen after you’ve hooked up the first clip to the working car. Always be careful moving and connecting the other three jumper cable clips.

7. Ignoring Battery Cracks

Even if a cracked battery charges, chances are good it will leak harmful gases during and after the process. Stay safe. Buy a new battery.

8. Ignoring Dirty Terminals

Understanding routine battery maintenance is part of knowing how to jump a car. Keep terminals free of corrosion that interferes with efficient cable connections.

9. Jumping a Frozen Battery

Gases trapped inside a frozen battery rapidly expand when charged. Don’t risk an explosion of battery acid and shrapnel. Never try to jump start a frozen battery.

10. Trusting a Jump Box

A portable battery starter doesn’t do you any good if it hasn’t been charged recently. Most jump boxes need to be recharged every six months or more, depending on usage.

For Battery Issues, Trust Kennedy Transmission

Always check the owner’s manual for details on how to jump your vehicle. If the car doesn’t start, you can count on Kennedy Transmission. We’re here for you with seven locations and expert automotive services that get you back on the road and keep you safe.

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