One cold morning you turn the key and your car engine does not fire up. You found that the vehicle has a flat-dead battery that needs a jumpstart. Now you are starting a cold horrible and stressful day. By experience, you could be one of the 90% of the drivers that do not know how to jump-start their car. Jump-starting a car is an essential skill for drivers. Driving lessons should include jump starting skills.

The are three ways of jump-starting your car—first is the use of jumper cables, the second one is the bump start, and the third one is the use of the portable battery pack

Jump-starting a car may look simple, but there are important things to remember and learn. Other than the craft, a driver must have in the toolbox or boot working jumper cables, gloves, and goggles.

First, be cautious of the Do’s and Don'ts:

• Don’t leap straight in. If you are feeling stressed out, keep your head cool down as you may not be paying attention to your safety.

• Do check for any hazards and risks. Look out for traffic, ensure all lights and electronics are off and remove the key from the ignition

• Don’t nudge around or touch the battery with anything that is metallic

• Don’t attempt to jump-start a batter that is damaged, have leaked and signs of corrosion

• No smoking or bringing fire near the engine

• Don’t go near while the engine is running wearing your loose clothes, jewellery or scarves.

• Do check if the vehicle has an electric ignition system as jump-starting will not be applicable.

• Do wear your gloves and goggles for safety

Jump start your car using jumper cables

The use of jumper cables is the most common jump-starting technique. However, there are risks and dangers that the driver must be aware of the proper steps.

Steps on jump-starting your car using jumper cables

1. Park the car with the working battery near the vehicle with a dead-flat one. Give space between the two cars to safely open both bonnets and connect the jumper cables between each car battery.

2. Connect the red 'positive (+)' lead to the positive battery terminal to the working car. Tap the other end of the red cable to the positive terminal of the vehicle with the dead-flat battery.

3. Grab the black 'negative (-)' one and connect one end to the negative terminal on the charged battery. Avoid attaching the other end to the negative terminal to the flat-dead battery as it can cause sparking and ignite battery gases. You can clip the clamp onto a substantial metal part away from the fuel and battery cell. Some cars have earthing rod where you can put the clamp.

4. Check if all four ends of the jumper cables are correctly attached and start the car with the charged battery for 5 minutes. Then start the car with the dead- flat battery and if the car doesn't start within 5 minutes, allow the battery to recharge for a couple of minutes and try the ignition again.

If the casualty car won’t start, there is probably another severe problem, and you need to contact a competent service provider.

5. If the car does start, leave both cars idle for 5-10 minutes.

6. Switch off both engine and remove the jumper cables in reverse order.

• Disconnect the black jumper cable lead connected to the bare metal of the casualty vehicle

• Disconnect the other black jumper cable lead from the second vehicle

• Disconnect the red jumper cable lead connected from the second vehicle

• Disconnect the other end of the red jumper cable lead from the battery off on the casualty vehicle

7. Restart the engine of the casualty vehicle as the battery will need to recharge fully. It is best to drive the car usually for at least 30 minutes to put some charge back to the cell.

8. If the car engine doesn't start, connect back the jumper cable leads to the working car. Start the engine and do not turn off the casualty vehicle as you remove the jumper leads. Do not let the jumper cable leads touch each other. There could be other engine problems that you need to drive your car to the nearest service provider.

Jumpstart using Bump Start

What if you don’t have jumper lead cables or portable battery back or good Samaritan working cars that will lend you to jump-starting your flat-dead battery? The bump start could be one alternative. A bump start is applicable only for manual the type of vehicles. This method can be done by two persons, although it can be still be done alone when your car is facing downhill.

Steps in using Bump start method

1. Turn on the ignition and put your car in the second gear while you keep the clutch deep-pressed.

2. You need someone to push and gain a momentum of 10 kph

3. When the car reaches the speed, release the clutch for a moment and get the engine start. That is when you get the bump.

4. If the engine does not start after 2 or 3 goes, look for other measures. It is best not to keep it bumping for it will cause damage to the catalytic converter.

5. If it does work, keep the engine running for at least 30 minutes to charge up the battery.

6. Bring your car to a competent service provider for an engine check-up.

Jumpstart using the portable battery pack

The most convenient and safest way for not getting stranded with a flat-dead battery is to purchase a portable battery pack. The portable battery pack is hassle-free, lesser risk and keep you mobile anytime even when you have a flat-dead battery.

Steps in jump-starting your car using a portable battery pack

1. Check if the battery charged fully.

2. Look for the vehicle battery that situated in the engine bay near the bonnet, for some, it is near the boot, and you should see the two terminals of the battery.

3. Connect the positive (colour red) lead from the battery pack to the positive (+) terminal of the battery

4. Connect the negative (colour black) lead to a good earth point (hard metal part of the engine) on the casualty vehicle.

5. Place the portable battery pack in a safe position to avoid falling or cause of the accident

6. Switch-on the battery pack and attempt to start the vehicle as you normally would. If the engine does not start after a few tries, it might be more severe than a flat battery, and it is better to seek professional service.

7. If the vehicle does start, keep the engine idle for at least 5 minutes. Switch off the engine, then switch off the battery pack and remove the leads from the battery pack.

8. Switch on again the engine, if possible, drive the vehicle for at least 30 minutes for the battery need to be recharged fully. It will be best if you bring the car to the trusted service provider for a check-up.

Nowadays, owning and driving a car is no longer a luxury but a necessity. Cars become part of human lives to move better and accomplish things efficiently. Far more important for the drivers is to be prepared skilfully in responding properly when your vehicle is not starting well. Learning and practising the knowledge on how to jumpstart your car will avoid stress and make you think productive.

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