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Jumpstart Your Car Safely

Along with seeing a police car’s flashing lights in your mirror, there’s nothing worse than discovering you’re late to work… and your car won’t start. Maybe you left your lights on or just haven’t driven your car for quite a while. If your problem is a dead battery, jump-starting your car should get you on your way.

Caution: Jump-starting a car can cause serious injury if you are not careful. According to the Sight and Hearing Association, “each year nearly 6,000 motorists suffer serious eye injuries, or even blindness, because of improperly jump-starting a dead vehicle battery. Be aware – all vehicle batteries contain sulfuric acid and produce hydrogen and oxygen gases. If the hydrogen gas comes into contact with a spark, the battery can explode.” If you are unsure of what you are doing at any point, do NOT attempt to jump-start your car. Call your roadside towing service for help – you may already have this coverage with your car insurance.

For your safety, please read your owner’s manual. Some auto manufacturers do not allow jump-starts, and many carmakers specify methods of jump-starting their cars, such as a different sequence of attaching or removing jumper cables.


  • Wear eye protection
  • Make sure the cars aren’t touching
  • If the discharged battery is cracked, has a low electrolyte level, or is frozen, a jump start should not be attempted
  • Place both vehicles in park or in neutral on vehicles with standard transmissions, and set the parking brake.

Jumpstarting by the numbers:

1.    Turn off the ignition, all lights and accessories in both vehicles to minimize sparks when hooking up jumper cables.
2.    Remove any terminal covers and corrosion.
3.    Attach the positive (red) jumper cable to the positive (red) terminal of the dead battery. Make sure that both metal clamps are firmly in contact with the terminal.
4.    Attach the other end of the positive (red) jumper cable to the positive (red) terminal of the good battery.
5.    Attach the negative (black) jumper cable to the negative (black) terminal of the good battery Attach the remaining end of the negative (black) jumper cable to an exposed unpainted metal part of the dead vehicle’s engine, away from the battery.
6.    Start the assisting car’s engine.
7.    Start the dead car’s engine.
8.    Allow both vehicles to run connected for about three minutes.
9.    While leaving the jumpstarted vehicle running, disconnect the cables in the reverse order that they were attached.

a.    Disconnect the black (negative) cable connected to the dead car’s engine.
b.    Disconnect the black (negative) cable from the negative terminal of the good car’s battery.
c.    Disconnect the red (positive) cable from the positive terminal of the good car’s battery.
d.    Disconnect the red (positive) cable from the positive terminal of the dead car’s battery

10.    If the dead car’s engine doesn’t crank, wait for two or three minutes and try again.
11.    If it still doesn’t crank, you probably have a bad connection somewhere. Turn off the engine of the good car.
12.    Disconnect the negative clamp on the dead car’s engine to prevent sparks near the battery, then wiggle the other three clamps to be sure they’re making good contact with the battery terminals. Reconnect the fourth clamp.
13.    If the car still doesn’t start after checking the connections, itʼs time to call a tow truck.

Now’s a good time to check your auto insurance coverage and see if you’ve got towing coverage.

Have you ever had problems jumpstarting your car? Feel free to share your thoughts in the

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