Written by Andrei Zakhareuski. With over 16 years of expertise, Andrei leads Driving-Tests.org, a top online resource for driver education. His leadership has established vital partnerships with over 2,600 libraries, educational bodies, and state agencies.

How to Jump a Car

Understanding the Mechanics of Jump-Starting a Car

Jump-starting a car involves using another power source to revive a dead battery. It’s essentially a temporary connection to another car or external power source, allowing the dead battery to draw enough current to start the engine. Once the engine is running, the car’s alternator begins recharging the dead battery.

The Essentials of Jump-Starting

Ensure you have quality jumper cables and a power source, either a portable jump battery or another vehicle with a good battery.

You should never allow the jumper cable’s clamps to touch each other while they are being used

Step-by-Step Guide to Jump-Starting Your Car


Locate a Car with a Good Battery

Find a functioning vehicle with a healthy battery. Most drivers are willing to assist in such situations.


Position the Vehicles

Align the vehicles so that their batteries are within reach of each other. Ensure both cars are off before connecting cables.


Connect the Jumper Cables

Attach the cables in the correct order, as detailed in the following steps.


Start the Donor Car

Turn on the engine of the car with the good battery and let it idle.


Attempt to Start Your Engine

Try to start your car. If it doesn’t start after a few tries, check the troubleshooting section below.


Remove the Cables and Thank the Helper

Once your car starts, carefully remove the cables in reverse order and thank the other driver. Don't forget to help somebody else on the road next time in a similar situation

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Maintaining Your Car Battery

Regularly check your battery’s terminals for corrosion and ensure it’s properly charged, especially during extreme temperatures. Routine maintenance can significantly prolong battery life.

Selecting and Storing Jumper Cables

Cable ThicknessChoose cables with a thicker gauge for efficiency
LengthLonger cables offer more flexibility in positioning cars
ClampsEnsure they have a firm grip and are corrosion-resistant
StorageKeep them in a dry place, preferably in a bag in your trunk


If you are unable to access a pair of jumper cables or find someone to help out, roadside assistance is the next best option.

Remember, correctly jump-starting your car is crucial for safety and battery health. Always follow these steps and maintain your battery to prevent frequent discharges. Safe driving!

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