How to Jump-Start a Vehicle

Midas-Swellendam-How to jump start a car

Midas Swellendam features a step-by-step guide on how to Jump-Start a Vehicle.

Midas Swellendam is a retail auto parts store designed around the needs of vehicle owners and automotive mechanics, focusing on quality products at the best price.

Oh the frustration! You are late for work, you just spilt coffee on your shirt and there is a definite snail trail of a snotty nose, that was wiped on your trousers, while you were trying to fly out the door. You turn the key and nothing! The car won’t start, there is just a deafening silence in the garage while your mind screams at you, THIS IS NOT HAPPENING!

Are you the person who sees someone stranded on the side of the road and drives by hoping that a more capable person with the correct tools can come to the rescue? Even though jump starting a dead battery is very easy to do, too many people rely on AAA or a generous driver to come to the rescue.

Everybody should know how to jump start a dead battery. Not only can you save your own hide, but you can also come to the rescue for someone else. Be extra careful and make sure the jumper cables are connected to the right areas! There is a risk of electrocution. Red = positive. Black = negative.

how to jumpstart a car illustrated guide

Even though jump-starting a dead battery is an easy thing to do, many people still rely on a good Samaritan to assist or their local road service provider. Learn the safe and proper way to jump-start a dead battery, rather than waiting around for a tow truck, it’s easier to bail yourself and others out without having to flag someone down.

What to Do Before Jump-Starting a Vehicle

If your battery is in an odd location, such as the trunk or wheel well, you may have to connect the cables to a different area, such as a junction block. Check the owner’s manual for specific instructions related to your vehicle.

Your “dead battery” might just be a “dirty battery.” Often, the battery won’t work because of dirty terminals and loose connections. Clean the battery terminals with a stiff brush dipped in a baking soda and water mixture.

It’s always a good idea to wear protective gloves and glasses when you are working on vehicle batteries. Never touch the terminals with your hand as sulfuric acid may burn you, if any powdery residue touches your skin, immediately wash it off with soap and water.

Rinse the terminals with water, wipe dry with a rag, and tighten the connections with a wrench. Turn the ignition to see if that did the trick before attempting the jump-start process.

Important Safety Tips:

  • Make sure there are no open flames or cigarettes in use while working on a battery. Batteries emit very flammable hydrogen gas.
  • Always inspect the battery for damage before proceeding. If you notice leaks, cracks, or any other damage, don’t take the risk trying to jump start the car. Instead, call roadside assistance or a tow truck.
  • Make sure the red and black ends of the jumper cables never touch each other once they are connected to a battery. This can result in a very dangerous electrical arcing situation that can cause damage to people and vehicles.
  • Don’t let your jumper cables hang loose around the engine. They can potentially interfere with moving parts.
  • Make sure both cars are off with the keys removed before connecting the cables.
  • Red = Positive (+); Black = Negative (-)
  • Make sure the clamps are firmly in place to avoid them being shaken loose and possibly causing an electrical arcing or shorting situation.
  • Never cross cables when they are attached to a battery. If the clamps contact each other while connected to a battery or jump starter, a spark can cause a battery explosion.
  • Keep your face away from the batteries at all times.

How to Jump Start a Vehicle

You will need:  Jumper cables, another vehicle, baking soda, water, a wire brush and rag to clean off battery terminals. We also recommend gloves and glasses for your protection.

  1. In addition to jumper cables, you will need another vehicle to relay a jolt of power from their working battery.
  2. Park the cars with both engines facing each other. Make sure the vehicles are close but not touching, as a dangerous arc can be produced.
  3. Turn off both cars, remove the keys from the ignition. Time to pop the hoods.
  4. Locate the positive terminals (marked by a “+” or POS sign) and negative terminals (marked by a “–“ or NEG sign).
  5. You may need to remove terminal coverings, known as cell caps. These may be individual caps for each terminal or a yellow strip that can be peeled off. Keep in mind that your battery may not have cell caps.
  6. You may have to clean battery corrosion off the terminals and cables to establish a clean electrical connection. Use the wire brush and baking soda and water solution to clean up corrosion, rinse with clean water and wipe dry with an old clean rag
  7. Connect the jumper cables in the following order:
    1. Connect the red jumper cable to the positive terminal (+) on the dead car’s battery.
    2. Connect the other end (also red) to the positive terminal on the working battery.
    3. Connect the black jumper cable to the negative terminal (-) on the working car’s battery.
    4. Connect the other end (also black) to a clean, unpainted metal surface under the disabled car’s hood (the engine block is a good place).
  8. DO NOT connect the black end to the negative terminal on the dead car’s battery! This can risk causing a spark that can ignite the hydrogen gas surrounding the battery.
  9. Start the working car’s engine and let it idle for about 5 minutes, to charge the battery.
  10. Now turn the ignition of the disabled car, if you cannot get the car to start after a couple of tries, you may need to have your battery replaced.
  11. Once the dead car’s engine is running, remove the jumper cables in the opposite order that you put them on:
    1. Disconnect the black clamp from the grounded metal section of the dead car.
    2. Disconnect the black clamp from the good battery.
    3. Disconnect the red clamp from the good battery.
    4. Disconnect the red clamp from the dead battery.
  12. After a successful jump start, run the vehicle for at least 15 minutes so that the alternator has time to charge the battery.

What a feeling when the engine purrs to life again, you almost want to break out in song!

If the battery dies soon after jump-starting the vehicle, it’s probably due to a dead alternator not being able to charge the system☹

How Long Does a Car Battery Last?

Car batteries last around 3-5 years. If your battery is older than three years, it’s a good idea to get it professionally tested every year.

Midas Swellendam will test your battery for free and it only takes a few minutes. They’ll be able to tell you if a new battery is necessary and roughly how long your battery will last.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the newsletter for your discount and FREE GIFT!

Go ahead, subscribe today!

Please follow us on social media to stay up to date with our latest sizzling discounts and promotional offers. 

(There are currently there are over 300 franchised outlets across Southern Africa, including Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe.)

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Need help? Call our customer care support team at
(028) 514 1171.

Midas Swellendam– For the love of cars! We are the Market Leaders of motor parts and accessories through to lifestyle equipment.

Contact Us

Midas Pop Up


Subscribe today And Qualify For Monthly Discounts And Limited Time Only Promotions!