Jump Starting a Vehicle: A Step-By-Step Guide

There comes a time in every driver’s life where their vehicle breaks down or simply won’t start. Unless there is a miraculous mechanic a few feet away that you can push your car to, you’ll need to have another option. The best knowledge you can have in this situation is how to safely jumpstart your petrol-run vehicle. Here is a step-by-step guide:

  1. Determine the problem. Firstly, you will want to determine whether or not a dead battery is really the problem. To do this, turn the key in the ignition again and listen to see if the motor turns over easily without the vehicle turning on. If it does, turn on your headlights to check if they dim; in this case, the battery is in fact dead. If the lights do not dim, there is something else preventing your car from starting. If your vehicle makes only a clicking noise, or no noise at all when you turn the key in the ignition, this is also a clear sign that your battery is dead.
  2. Find another vehicle. In order to jump start your vehicle, you will need another vehicle. Or safety reasons, it is best to call a close friend or family member to meet you rather than asking a stranger.
  3. Check the battery connections. Why do we do this? A bad connection can prevent a car from starting, and can drain your car’s battery again. Check for a white or gray ash-like substance on the battery terminals; this is corrosion that needs to be cleaned off before you jump start your vehicle.
  4. Connect the jumper cables to the dead battery. Always start with the dead battery. The red cable goes on the positive battery terminal, and the black cable goes on the negative battery terminal. The positive cable should be connected first. Take special care not to let the opposite cables touch one another or else you may see some sparks fly.
  5. Connect the jumper cables to the good battery. When it is time to connect cables to the good battery, connect the red cable to the positive battery terminal first, and then connect the black cable to any exposed piece of metal under the hood. Be sure to NOT place it on the negative terminal of the good battery.
  6. Start the dead vehicle. Once the cables are all connected, put the key in the ignition of the dead vehicle and attempt to give it a start. The vehicle with the good battery must be shut off to start. If the dead vehicle fails to start, then you can turn on the good vehicle and hold the gas pedal at ¼ throttle for a few minutes in order to send a charging current to the dead vehicle’s battery.
  7. Remove cables. Once the car with the dead battery successfully starts up, remove the jumper cables in the opposite order you placed them in. Be careful not to let the cable ends touch until they have all been removed.

Now that you’ve got the knowledge, it’s time to shop! Head to gumtree.co.za or your Gumtree app (click for Apple & Android) and don’t forget to use your location settings to find a new-to-you car close to home.

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