How to Jumpstart Your Car with Jumper Cables
Yesterday, my car battery went dead at the parking lot of a hypermarket in Kembangan. I forgot to turn the lights off, unfortunately. Lesson #1: don’t forget to turn all lights off prior to leaving the car. While I was pondering on how best to get the car started, the family whose car was parked in front of me told me that they had contacted the security guards and had them announce the condition over the PA system, but sadly I didn’t hear any of the announcements over the excitement of buying a new TV. Lesson #2: don’t get overexcited when buying a new TV so that you didn’t hear PA announcements.
But those are not all the lesson I learned yesterday. After disabling the stubborn car alarm blaring the horn all around, I ran back to the store and bought a set of jumper cables (IDR 31,900 after discount). After that, I scouted the parking lot for anybody nice enough to let me use their car battery to jumpstart mine. Thankfully, a couple of good guys in their car waiting for their mom shopping didn’t mind helping. Thanks guys! All is set for my third lesson for the day. So, here’s how to jumpstart your car by connecting to another car’s battery:
- Get your hands on a pair of jumper cables. Try your local hypermarket, auto repair shop, neighbor, or any good samaritan you can find. It doesn’t hurt to put a pair of these on your car for those emergency cases.
- Find yourself a battery to connect to. The best ones are the ones inside a car with running engine, minimizing the risk the battery running out of juice while you’re still trying to jumpstart yours.
- Connect the jumper cables the right way: negative to negative and positive to positive. As a rule of thumb, the red cable connects the positive node of the source (live) battery to the positive node of the target (dead) battery, and the black one to the negative nodes. It’s the same, actually. So if you mistake the red for the negatives for example, it’s still OK. Just be sure that you connect the same kind of nodes: negative to negative and positive to positive.
- If you’re connecting to a battery inside a car with running engine, ask the driver to throttle up a bit. I think the best is around 2,500 or 3,000 rpm. The engine is charging the battery, which is in turn trying to jumpstart your engine, so it will need a little boost from the running engine.
- Try to start your engine as usual. You know, turn your keys to the ‘Start’ position.
- Revel at the glory of hearing your car engine running and thank the guys helping you (if any). Hug the person closest to you. Kiss him/her if that’s your drift.
- Pull the jumper cables off. Any order will do, it doesn’t matter. Just don’t connect the red cable to the black cable while still attached to any of nodes or you’ll shortfuse your car (or the other car).
- Your battery is still dead, so breathe some new life to the thing by revving up your engine a little. The steps above only enables you to start your engine. That battery of yours is still limp. Rev your engine around 2,500 or 3,000 rpm for 15 minutes or so. This will allow the engine to re-charge your battery.
- You’re free to go now. Just understand, that your battery is still not at it’s normal condition. So, be considerate. If you can, avoid turning the lights, air condition or any other accessories on.
In case you’re asking, why didn’t I try to jumpstart the car by pushing the car, my car has automatic transmission.