A well-prepared motorist’s guide: How to jump-start a car. Battery cables too short

Checking battery leads and connections

A faint click or total silence when the starter key is turned usually means that the battery is almost or completely flat. If, however, the battery is fully charged, the trouble is probably in the circuit between the battery and starter.

Either way, lack of power is preventing the starter motor from working. though there may be just enough current to work the solenoid. which makes a faint click or chatter.

If you suspect the circuit, look first at the battery-terminal connections. Unless they are in good condition, the current cannot flow through them properly. and sometimes not at all.

The most common types of connector are a clamp that fits around the battery post, or a cup that fits over it. The clamp is secured by a bolt; the cup by a screw into the top of the post.

The Ford type has a flat cable connector bolted to a flat battery post.

The mating surfaces of both connectors and battery posts must be free from dirt and corrosion.

Any green or white powdery deposits must be removed, and the metal surfaces beneath brightened.

Remove these deposits also from the battery carrier or any other metal parts. they are very corrosive.

If cleaning the terminals does not cure the trouble, examine the earth lead. particularly where it is attached to the body or chassis. and clean if necessary. There must be a bare-metal contact for proper earthing.

Some cars have another earth lead between the engine and the body or chassis. Be sure to examine it also.

Look also at the starter motor and solenoid for loose connections, which can cause sparking. This is a fire hazard in any circuit, but becomes an even greater one in the battery-starter circuit, which has around 300 amps flowing through it.

Make sure that the battery is not loose in its mounting, or electrolyte may spill out and cause corrosion.

The battery leads can also work loose, or the case may crack through being bumped about. A loose clamping bracket can touch the live terminal of the battery and cause a short circuit.

Removing battery connectors

Clamp or cup connectors can be removed after unscrewing the securing bolt or fixing screw. But take care if the connectors have been tightly fixed on.

Avoid prising them off or trying to twist them loose. undue force and damage the battery posts or their seal with the top of the case.

A screwdriver can be used to force apart the jaws of a clamp connector.

The Ford type is removed simply by unscrewing its nut and bolt.

Similar precautions should be taken when refitting. Do not hammer the connector down over the post.

When you use a spanner on a clamp or connector bolt, take care to keep the free end away from the car bodywork, where it can cause a short circuit. even is the engine is switched off.

How to clean battery terminals

Use hot water and domestic soda to start removing the powdery deposits that may form on terminals. But be sure that none of this solution finds its way into the battery cells.

The battery posts can be ‘brightened’ with a wire brush or emery cloth.

Do not, however, remove so much metal that the cup or clamp becomes a loose fit on the post.

If that does happen, some metal can be filed from the jaws of the clamp, or the sides of the cup can be squeezed in a little, so that it grips the post once more. Alternatively, replace a cup connector with a clamp type.

Refitting the connectors

Smear a thin coat of petroleum jelly (not grease) on the mating surfaces of both the battery posts and connectors before refitting, to deter corrosion and ensure good conductivity.

Ideally, the cup or clamp should be an easy push fit over the post. Tighten the securing bolt or screw enough to stop the connector moving on the post, but do not overtighten.

If a cup-connector screw does not tighten because the thread has been stripped, put a length of solder wire into the hole to fill it partly.

A self-tapping screw should then cut a new thread with enough bite to hold the screw firm. Or simply use a larger self-tapping screw.

Read more

How to test a car battery

If your car’s instrument panel includes an ammeter. it will tell you how well the charging syst.

Using a car battery charger

Frequent short trips, with constant stopping and starting, make your battery work very hard.

Checking the batteries

Most car batteries are sealed for life. apart from a small vent hole which allows gas to e.

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A well-prepared motorist’s guide: How to jump-start a car

The car battery is an important component of your vehicle. Without it, your car won’t start. If you have never turned a car key to hear that sad click-click-click of a starter without enough juice to power up the engine, then lucky you. If you just heard that noise a few minutes ago and now you need to know how to jump-start a car, don’t you worry; we’ve got your back.

Like changing a tire, knowing how to jump-start a car is a critical skill that every well-prepared motorist must master. Otherwise, you’d be left stranded in the middle of nowhere for hours on end. Assuming that you are preparing for a summer road trip, we’ve assembled a step-by-step tutorial on how to jump-start a car the right way. A word of warning: Jumper cables, when live, can be dangerous, so exercise caution when attempting to jump-start a vehicle.

Related Guides

  • Car Emergency Kit List
  • How to Clean Car’s Foggy Headlights

How to jump-start a car with a dead battery

You will need a pair of jumper cables and a vehicle with a functional battery to which you can connect. That’s it — not counting your dead car, of course. Yet, you should note that if your cables are too short to connect the two batteries, you can connect two sets of jumper cables to give yourself more length. So don’t feel to put out if you’re experiencing length issues.

To learn how to jump-start a car, have a look below:

  • Put both cars in park (or in gear for a manual) and turn them off.
  • Locate both car batteries and flip up the plastic covers over their terminals.
  • Connect one clip (the one with the red cord, for ease of use, if your cables are standard red and black — if not, just note carefully which you are using) to the POSITIVE terminal of the dead battery, which will have a plus symbol or the letters POS.
  • Attach the other clip from the same red cable to the positive terminal on the good battery.
  • Now connect the clip from the black cable to the negative terminal of the GOOD BATTERY (not the dead one).
  • Finally, clip the other end of the negative clip to a metal surface under the hood of the dead vehicle — use something unpainted, like a bolt or even the rod holding open the hood. (Make sure the clip is not near the battery.)
  • Now turn on the car with the good battery and let it run for a few minutes, then start the vehicle with the dead battery.
  • Unhook the clips in reverse order, thank your buddy or the good Samaritan with the live battery, and off you go.
  • Keep your car running for at least a half-hour to fully recharge your battery.

Just remember that your car battery may be dead again the next time you try it if the battery was worn down by age or defect; consider driving right to an auto maintenance shop to get it tested and, if need be, replaced. After all, you don’t want to be stranded on the side of the road even if you do have knowledge of how to jump a car. This handy guide should help:

Avoid these mistakes when jump-starting a vehicle

There are a few mistakes people often make when learning how to jump start a car. For example, once jumper cables are connected to a battery, consider them live; touching two of the clips together or letting them touch the ground may cause a shower of dangerous sparks and can also be bad for the battery. You can also shock yourself or someone else pretty easily if you’re not careful.

Additionally, never try to jump-start a battery that is frozen; if the ambient temperature is below freezing and your dead vehicle is parked outside, you need to warm the battery with some sort of heater or call for professional assistance. Also, avoid connecting jumper cables to dirty battery terminals, which may prohibit a safe and complete connection. So use a brush with stiff bristles to clean a dirty terminal before you begin.

What happens if you connect negative first? – Why you should never do this

Learning how to jump start a car can be challenging, but there is one thing you should never do. When you connect your jumper cables to your battery to start the battery, you must never connect the negative (-) terminal first with the black cable on a dead or flat battery. There are many reasons why this is an incredibly bad idea.

For example, it can cause a short circuit which can damage your battery and electrical system or cause it to explode. This hazard could lead to injury or loss of life, so never connect the negative first and always the positive and then the negative to minimize the likelihood of injuries or damages. Ultimately, if you’re unsure which to connect, revert to your driving manual before jumpstarting your car.

Consider keeping a portable jump-starter device in your car

Suppose you ever drive to remote areas or live in a rather remote spot yourself. In that case, it’s a good idea to make a modest investment in a power bank that can be used to jump a car, like the Zeus Portable Jump Starter and USB Charger from Uncharted Supply Co which packs enough power to jump-start even a larger truck and can also be used to power up small devices like phones multiple times or as a flashlight that will work for multiple days without stopping.

Car Battery Terminals Crossed – What Happens If You Put The Battery Cables On Wrong Sides

Automotive batteries can discharge for a host of different reasons, maybe you left the electricals on without the engine running, maybe it’s a parasitic drain eating away your charge, or maybe it’s just that, you don’t drive your vehicle as much – that can do it too.

In any case, if you cant get your car up, jump-starting the battery is a tried and tested solution that you might consider.

Jump starting a vehicle seems like an easy job, you just clamp the connectors and transfer the charge from the good battery to the dead one.

But as simple as it may seem, just the simple mistake of not connecting the terminals right can spell the end for your car battery.

Failing to recognize which is the positive and which negative is not a common occurrence, in fact, most people do actually have it right. But for the curiosity of the reader let’s consider what would happen if the terminals were reversed.

Risks Of Using Jumper Cables In Reverse

Car batteries are a bit more complex than they might appear. When jump-starting a car there are certain caveats to charging your vehicle as the transfer of energy from one battery to another is not as simple as it seems.

Connecting the battery terminals in reverse can cause serious damage to the battery itself, the electrical components, and even to yourself. Each terminal of a car battery uses 12V of current with positive and negative orientation. The cable on the positive terminal uses 12V while the one on the negative side uses.12V.

If the positives and negatives are switched, the battery will try to compensate and make the negative 12 volts into a positive charge resulting in a huge surge of power and an enormous amount of heat to be produced. Needless to say, it will not be tolerated well by the system or the components within and depending on certain factors will incur damage that is mostly going to be severe and irreparable.

Damage To Jumper Cables

With an instant surge of electricity, the first to face the wrath and the consequence of an experiment would the jumper cables. the extreme heat produced will quickly melt the insulators on the jumper cables, clamping them forever on the battery which will be next in line as the plastic top will melt and bend.

Damage To Car Battery

The battery will be warped as the acidic fluids inside will boil from the extreme heat produced in the reaction. Additionally, it may spill to damage parts in the vicinity and you might not be able to do anything about it.

Blown Fuse/Fusible Links

Whether you have an explosion or not depending on the other factors and the condition of the batteries, you will however surely find blown-up fuses and wires in your vehicle.

Damage To Alternator

The vehicle charging the bad battery might also suffer mechanical damage. The surge in power will have a negative effect on the alternator and may even cause irreparable harm.

Physical Damage

If the battery is in poor condition or has not been used in a while, jump-starting with cables reversed can worsen the situation. The bad battery can even explode and cause damage to the people around.

Other Things To Consider When Jump Starting

Firstly look in the owner’s manual for any precautions or know-hows before attempting to jump-start. Some cars may use lugs instead of clamps while some vehicle may require certain precautions as removing fuses or turning on defroster. Some newer cars do not allow jump-starting and can even void your warranty so be sure to read the warranty conditions as well.

Do not let the two vehicles touch

Turn both vehicles off before locating the battery

Make sure the terminals aren’t dirty and if they are clean them with a dry cloth.

Verify if the voltage is correct using a multimeter, if the voltages do not match it could spell serious problems for both the batteries.

Remove or turn off accessories and electricals such as headlights, radios, and turn signals as the surge in power will surely short them out

Make sure the vehicle are in neutral.

Check if the fluids aren’t frozen or the battery isn’t warped and bent out of shape. If it is, it could lead to an explosion.

Always start with the bad battery first as it does not have a charge and is safe to operate.

Don’t leave anything under the hood when starting the vehicle

After charging the battery, drive the car for 15-20 minutes to let the alternator fully charge the battery.

How To Connect Jumper Cables Properly

With the potential risk of physical harm and the enormous costs involved in replacing and reprogramming the ECUs, operating a car battery to jump-start without proper knowledge is not a good idea and can land you heavy repairs if you are not careful with the steps.

A car battery has two terminals namely positive and negative. Each terminal can be identified using its color and the sign it uses. Connecting each terminal firmly is extremely important as a loose connection can hinder the process and not effectively charge the battery.

Now with the basics out of the way, let’s get to the very important matter that requires you to be extremely careful and a little on guard.

In electronics, the positive terminal is always connected first in order to avoid a high voltage meet of the semiconductors. When connecting the jumper cables always remember to first clamp cables from the positive terminal of the battery, which is usually red in color and is marked by a positive sign, and only after properly connecting should you begin to connect the cables from the negative terminal, usually represented in black color with a minus (-) sign. Also, be wary of any metal object touching both terminals of the battery simultaneously.

To better understand the implications of not connecting the positive first, let us assume, one has connected the positive terminal first.

When the negative terminal is connected, the whole chassis including the metal bolts holding it in place become grounded, upon which placing the positive terminal, connects the spanner with any common ground resulting in some sparks, splashes in a best-case scenario, and a dead battery or even an explosion of the unit in a nightmarish one.

Connecting the positive terminal first is recommended to ensure the spanner is not able to cause any damage even if it has met the chassis.

On the contrary, it is recommended to start with the negative terminal while disconnecting the cables.

Can Get Electrocuted While Operating A Car Battery?

The current from a 12VDC system is not massive enough that it can harm you, in fact, one might not even be able to detect such low voltages as the current needs to overcome the resistance of and go through. To have any effect on you, the current from the battery will have to penetrate the skin in order to electrocute you.

High voltage sources of current independently are not dangerous, Although there are a few other things that you should look out for when dealing with your car battery such as an acid leak, sparks plug arcing, jumper cables.

How to Clean Battery Corrosion (and What Causes It)

Don’t be shocked if you lift the hood of your car and catch sight of some corrosion around your battery terminals. Battery corrosion is a normal part of battery life that can be caused by typical wear and tear. But just because it’s normal doesn’t mean you should ignore it. In fact, corroded battery terminals are a common cause of reduced battery life and electrical problems in vehicles.

Why? According to the Universal Technical Institute, “Corrosion on or around your battery’s surfaces can lead to increased resistance within the circuit, which can disrupt the electrical current.”

Not only will this shorten the lifespan of your battery, but it also can cause damage to the electrical systems within your vehicle. Keep reading for a step-by-step guide on how to clean battery corrosion.

What Is Battery Corrosion?

What is corrosion and how do you know if your battery has it? As your battery runs, the sulfuric acid releases hydrogen gas. The gas then mixes with the air around it. The chemical reaction that takes place as hydrogen gas collides with the air, moisture and salt causes corrosion.

Corrosion is fairly easy to spot: It’s a white, blue or greenish powder typically surrounding one of the battery terminals, posts or cables. It has a granular, powdery texture.

What Causes Battery Corrosion?

Car battery corrosion can happen for a number of reasons. In addition to the normal release of hydrogen gas, some of the most common causes of corrosion are:

  • Age. Car batteries typically have a lifespan of three to five years. They become more susceptible to corrosion as they reach their expiration date.
  • Overheating. Batteries that are overcharged or overheat due to higher temperatures are more likely to develop corrosion. That’s why corrosion risk is highest in the summer.
  • Leaking fluid. If your battery is cracked or damaged, battery acid can leak from the casing and cause corrosion around the battery terminals.

How to Clean Battery Corrosion: Step-by-Step

Step 1: Start with safety. The powdery buildup around your battery’s terminals is caustic and can damage your skin and eyes. Wear heavy-duty gloves and eye protection while handling battery corrosion, and immediately wash away any corrosive material that gets on skin or clothing.

Step 2: Disconnect the battery. Starting with the negative terminal, carefully release the cable from the battery. Safely position the cable away from the terminal, these things are built to deliver the cable directly to the battery and are susceptible to ‘slipping’ back into place. Next remove the positive terminal connection.

Pro Tip: Before disconnecting your battery, use a battery memory saver to save stored data and protect your car’s electrical system. Be sure to reference your vehicle’s owner’s manual for specific information on using a battery memory saver.

Step 3: Inspect the battery cables. Once the battery is disconnected, take a moment to inspect the cables. Is there fraying or corrosion where the cable connects to the terminal? Is the insulation dry or cracking? Damaged cables need to be replaced.

Step 4: Remove the battery from the vehicle. It’s possible to clean corrosion from a battery while it’s still in the vehicle, but the safest method for you, your battery and your vehicle is to remove it from the car and place it in a shallow bucket or pan to collect the corrosive material you’ll be washing away.

Step 5: Start cleaning. Now it’s time to neutralize and remove the car battery corrosion. Use a wire brush or scraper to remove any solid, powdery corrosion from around the terminals and dirt from the top of the battery casing. Brush the corrosion away and let it fall into the pan below.

Step 6: Neutralize. You have a couple of options to fully remove and neutralize the remaining corrosion:

  • Battery terminal cleaner is a commercially available product designed to clean and neutralize corrosion from your battery. It’s a spray-on solution that changes color as it reacts with corrosion.
  • Baking soda and warm water make for a good neutralizing solution to clean battery corrosion. Make sure to mix your solution, dip a rag and wipe corrosion away rather than dumping the solution over the battery top. This is to prevent solution from leaking into the battery cells and neutralizing the sulfuric acid inside.

Pro Tip: Don’t forget to clean the terminal ends that connect your battery to the cables. You can dip the ends in baking soda and water solution, or use a commercial battery terminal cleaner.

Step 7: Dry and polish. Using a microfiber cloth, dry the battery casing, posts and terminals. Use a terminal cleaning brush to remove any debris or coating from the terminals that may interfere with the connection.

Step 8: Replace and reconnect. Return the battery to its tray inside your engine and reconnect the terminals. This time, start by securely attaching the positive terminal to the cable, then finish with the negative terminal. Replace the battery hold downs.

How to Prevent Battery Terminal Corrosion

While corrosion is a normal occurrence, there are steps you can take to prevent or slow it.

well-prepared, motorist, guide, jump-start, battery, cables

Protect. After a thorough cleaning, coat your battery terminals with dielectric grease or battery terminal protector. Apply a healthy coat to prevent corrosion in the future.

Avoid under or overcharging. If you notice corrosion on your battery’s positive terminal, it’s a sign that your battery may be overcharging, which can be due to a faulty voltage regulator.

Corrosion that appears on the negative battery terminal is a symptom of undercharging. This can happen if you’re taking short drives and your electronic system is drawing a significant amount of battery power for onboard electronics.

In either case, it’s a good idea to bring your vehicle in on a regular basis to check for electrical faults.Routine maintenance on all systems — including your car’s electricals — is important for the health and longevity of your vehicle. A trusted technician can help keep your car on the road for years to come.

This content is for educational purposes only, please reference your product manual for specific information.

How to Extend Battery Cables Car | Step by Step Guide

You can extend battery cables car with the help of a cable stretcher. However, there are cable extenders available, but you must have cautious. You must make sure your gauges match, or you will have problems. Some of the Amazon recommendations on the internet may not be accurate. An extension cord consisted of a wire that slipped over the power and attached a screw to the power cord.

The wiring in our body is responsible for transferring power and current more efficiently. The braided construction of the wires helps ensure that these currents are passed through safely.

Using a connector, the flow capacity is slightly reduced, but I think it will not be a problem. When you hit the start button, you will know. However, you are right. If you use a connector, ensure it is well soldered to prevent corrosion.

Connecting two cable lengths should be the last option in an emergency or similar circumstance. Ideally, purchase the exact length, gauge, and color of wire and have it crimped with the appropriate ends, or get it already crimped. Let’s discuss this:

How to Extend Battery Cables Car?

Here are some ways to extend the life of your car battery

  • Start by selecting the correct battery for your car.
  • Reduce the frequency of short-distance trips.
  • Make sure you fasten the battery securely.
  • When the vehicle is not in use, turn off any electrical equipment.
  • Keeps the battery clean, including the case and terminals?
  • You should keep exposure to extreme temperatures to a minimum.
  • Check the battery voltage regularly.
  • Drive your car constantly.

How does a Car Battery Work?

To determine what works and doesn’t work in a car, it is beneficial to have a working knowledge of its components, even if you are not an expert automotive technician. Although a car battery has numerous features, let’s examine some of the most important ones:

Battery terminals and cables connect the battery to the vehicle’s electrical system. The chemical composition of a car battery is the “battery acid” or “battery paste.” The battery cell comprises a series of positive and negative plate blocks that conduct electricity.

In simple terms, a car battery works by converting chemical energy into electrical energy. It needs to start the vehicle and power electrical components such as the lights and radio. A chemical reaction occurs when hydrogen, oxygen, lead, and sulfur come into contact.

What Causes Battery Cable and Terminal Corrosion?

When your vehicle heats up and cools down, so does the battery. During this phase, it releases hydrogen gas from the battery vents. It also combines with surrounding particles. This combination accumulates over time and is the leading cause of corrosion on the battery terminals and cables.

How to Fix Corroded Battery Terminals

Unfortunately, corrosion will not go away on its own. Instead, it will require a good old-fashioned job. If the buildup is not too severe, it is possible to clean the terminals as follows:

well-prepared, motorist, guide, jump-start, battery, cables

Use a wire brush and battery cleaner to clean the contacts. This is the optimal procedure, as the battery cleaner breaks down the accumulated particles, and the wire brush removes them.

Make a paste of baking soda and water and apply it with a toothbrush. If you don’t mind scrubbing a little more, this procedure works just as well, and you can do this everyday household product.

How to Prevent Battery Corrosion?

The solution too many difficulties in life are usually to avoid the problem in the first place. It is advisable to start fresh with a new one for automotive batteries. Then you can start using the corrosion prevention techniques below.

Protect your batteries with a battery protection spray.

This product is available at many auto parts stores. Its design is to prevent corrosion on battery terminals and cables. Follow the manufacturer’s application guidelines, but start with clean components.

Apply an anti-corrosion gel. You can apply this product directly to the terminals but not to the connectors. It acts to prevent corrosion buildup, which means less cleaning and better battery performance in the future.

Bottom line

Repair wiring harnesses quickly and easily with these battery cable repair splices. Instead of replacing the entire wiring harness, replace the broken or corroded battery terminals. Plus, even with the repair splice, you’ll retain the OEM-style fit!

Batteries emit explosive gases. It is essential to take all safety precautions and always wear safety goggles when working with batteries.

One must drive cars frequently for the alternator to maintain the battery charge level. Consider using a charger (a trickle one) or battery maintainer if you need to store your vehicle for an extended period. These devices are capable of recharging a depleted battery. advanced types can recharge the battery, potentially extending its life.

Car batteries life is between three and five years, depending on usage and temperature. Battery life is significantly reduced in hot weather compared to cold weather.

It would help if you were meticulous with car battery maintenance and replacement to avoid being stranded. Thus, check the battery charge annually, when it is two years old in hot climates and every four years in colder climates. This assesses the battery’s ability to maintain voltage while in use, and the results indicate when it is time to start looking for a replacement.

It is better to be cautious with battery maintenance and replacement than squeeze every last jump-start and risk being stranded.

Some parts companies will check the battery free of charge and replace it if necessary.

I am an Automotive specialist. I graduated from Michigan with Bachelor in Automotive Engineering and Management. Also, I hold degrees in Electrical and Automation Engineering (BEng), Automatic and Industrial Electronic Engineering, and Automotive Technology. I have worked at General Motors Company for over five years as the Marketing Operations Production Coordinator. Now, I own my garage in Miami, Florida. I love cars and love to share everything about them with my readers. I am the founder of the Automotiveex blog. where I share everything about automotive, like car news, car mechanical issues, and anything else that comes up in my blog posts.

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