Perhaps you’ve left the lights on overnight or for some unexplained reason you’ve ended up with a flat battery. Disaster! You need to get somewhere quickly, but your car just won’t start. So what do you do?
Well, one option is to use jump leads to jump start your car. If done properly, this might just give your car the charge it needs to get it back on the road. Here are some tips if you’re thinking about jump-starting your car as well as a guide to preventing a flat battery next time round.
What you’ll need to jump start your car
- A pair of high quality jump leads
- A second vehicle with a fully charged battery at the same voltage as yours (usually 12V). Avoid using a hybrid or electric car to jump-start it as this could cause damage to one or both vehicles. Also, make sure there’s no obvious damage to either battery or the jump leads before you get started.
Safety precautions to take when jump starting your car
- Remove any metal jewellery before you start work and make sure no metal items come into contact with the car battery terminals.
- Disconnect the jump leads as quickly and safely as possible if they start to get hot.
- Turn off all your car’s gadgets, including in-car sat navs, stereos and lights.
Seven steps to jump start your car
- Park the vehicles as close together as possible, but make sure they’re not touching. Turn them both off, remove the keys and open the bonnets.
- Attach one end of the red jump lead to the positive (+) terminal on the top of the flat battery. Attach the other end to the positive terminal on the other car’s battery.
- Attach one end of the black jump lead to the negative (-) terminal on top of the live battery. Attach the other end to a section of unpainted metal somewhere on the car with the flat battery (but not too close to the battery), as this will act as an earth.
- Start the engine of the charged vehicle and leave it running for a few minutes.
- Try to start the car with the flat battery. If it doesn’t splutter back to life after a few attempts you may need to call out your roadside assistance company or garage as there may be a more significant problem behind its failure to start. If it does start, leave both cars running for five minutes before removing the jump leads.
- Remove the jump leads in reverse order without turning off either engine.
- Keep the car that had the flat battery running and drive it for around 20 minutes to ensure that it has enough charge and won’t leave you stranded again.
Prevent flat battery problems in the future
While jump-starting a car can be used in urgent situations, it’s not a measure you will want to use often. In fact, the makers of some modern cars have advised against using jump leads at all as they can affect the vehicle’s complex electrical systems. Besides, next time you get a flat battery you might not have another car at your disposal to bail you out, so it’s worth taking steps now to keep your battery in tip-top condition.
The best way to protect your car, and particularly your battery, is to maintain your car well and get it serviced regularly. At IN‘n’OUT, we’ll check your battery as part of our Interim Service, Full Service and Top Up, so it’s worth getting booked in if you want to keep your battery and your car in top condition.