Jumpstarting Reminder: Red to Red, Black to Black
With the good car running:
Red to red, black to black.
Step-by-step guide from GEICO’s Dawn McCaslin:
- Start by protecting your clothes and your hands with protective clothing or a blanket on the ground and gloves.
- Open the hood to your car. Sometimes when you “pop” the hood, you need to also release the latch. This can be found by running your fingers under the slightly open hood until you find a little lever to push on. Use the stick to prop the hood open while you work.
- Locate the battery. If you aren’t sure where to find the battery, your owner’s manual should provide instructions or a picture to guide you.
- Ensure that the donor car is parked close to yours and that it is turned off before you start.
- On the battery there are two post “terminals”. One is positive (+), usually red and one is negative (-), usually black.
- The positive terminal post (+ or red) should have a plastic cover that opens easily to expose the metal beneath. Keep in mind that when you begin to attach the cables to each component, you want it to be as solid as possible to ensure a safe and complete connection.
- Take a POSITIVE (red) clamp and attach it to the dead car’s positive terminal post (+ or red). The clamps should have metal teeth that help them grip the terminal post.
- Take the POSITIVE (red) clamp at the opposite end of the cables and attach it to the positive terminal post (+ or red) of the good, working battery. Their car should still be off!
- Next, take the NEGATIVE (black) clamp on that end and attach to the (-) terminal of the good, working battery.
- Take the final NEGATIVE (black) clamp and attach it to a non-painted metal surface on the main engine block of the car that is being jump-started (yours). A good metal surface could be a metal nut or bolt and farther away from the battery is better to allow for solid grounding.
- At this point, once all of the connections have been secured, start the donor car. After a few minutes, try to start your car. If it doesn’t work, then wait several more minutes and try again.
- If this doesn’t work, stop. Working in reverse order, unhook each of the clamps and thank the owner of the donor car. It’s time to call for professional help.
- When the dead car is started, check the battery light on the instrument panel. If it is on, this may mean that the alternator is not charging the battery and the driver should not run the vehicle very long. If this is the case, call for professional help.
- If your car does start, let it run for a few minutes to help charge the battery further.
- Unhook the clamps in the reverse order of how you put them on. Be sure to drive your car for a minimum of 10-20 minutes before stopping again so the battery can continue to charge. Otherwise, you might need another jump start.
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Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly-expanding automotive news magazine.
He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.
Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)car-revs-daily.com.