Imagine the situation. You’re rushing around the house in the morning to get the children ready for school and then get yourself to work, everyone hustles out the door and into the car, you shut the doors, seatbelts on, turn the key and… nothing. The car battery is flat and you’re going nowhere quick without jump-starting your car so you can get back on the road and on with your day. Here are Motors.co.uk’s top tips to jump starting your car.
1. Be prepared
Like any good Girl Guide or Boy Scout, it’s always good to be prepared. In this respect, it’s a good idea to purchase jump leads in advance, just in case the situation ever rears its ugly head.
2. Know your car
It would be nice if all cars had the same parts in the same places but, unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. It’s a good idea to either take a look at your car handbook or take a look around it yourself to find out exactly where your car battery is. Some are under the bonnet, some are in your driver foot well and some are covered. In the case of the latter you’ll need to know how to get the cover off too.
3. Safety first!
Make sure you check your battery over before attempting to jump-start it. If your battery is damaged, leaking or corroded it’s not worth attempting to do it yourself. At this point it’s best to take the plunge and call a professional out rather than put yourself at risk.
Keep metal objects and naked flames away from the engine and make sure that headlights and electronics are off and take the key is out of the ignition for now.
4. Time to jump
• Once you have a willing volunteer with a working car engine, park the two cars as close as is safe without touching and ensure they’re both in neutral. Check the jump leads can reach both cars.
• Connect the red positive lead to the red positive element on the working car and do the same with your car. Make sure the clips are on as firmly as possible. Be careful to only touch the plastic part of the handle.
• Connect the black negative lead on the working car to the same element on your car. Again, be careful to attach the clip firmly and keep your hands away from any metal.
• Check the leads are away from any moving parts and then start the engine of the working car.
5. And finally…
• After about a minute, try starting your car. If it doesn't work, leave it a little longer, but switch off the engine if the leads get hot.
• Once you hear the wonderful sound of the engine running, leave it running for a few minutes to ensure your battery is fully charged.
• Remove the jump leads in the opposite order you put them on and be careful they don’t touch anything metal, or each other.
• To ensure your engine doesn’t run flat again you should then leave it running or drive it for at least 30 minutes – but remember not to leave the car unattended while it is running.
If the engine doesn’t start after a few attempts then it’s time again to call in the professionals. Your breakdown cover agent is the best place to start, unless you happen to be very good friends with a mechanic of course! Good luck!