Freezing winter mornings are not the best time to find that your car won’t start, but, unfortunately, the cold can contribute to a whole host of issues. Flat batteries are more prevalent in winter, as the plummeting temperatures cause the reactions inside the battery to slow down significantly, and engine oil tends to thicken, putting additional strain on the battery. So, if you have any doubts on how to jump start a car, now is the time to learn.
All you need to jump start a car is a good pair of jump leads, and a second vehicle with a fully-charged battery. Before you attempt to jump start your car, there are some precautions that you should be taking first. Take a good look to check for damage around the battery – if it’s corroded, leaking or has any other obvious damage, leave it alone and do not attempt to jump start it! Call a professional instead. If everything looks fine, take off any metal jewellery that you might be wearing, as they could cause a spark if they get close to the battery. Make sure that the car’s headlights and any electrical systems within the vehicle are turned off, and take the key out of the ignition.
How to jump start a car using jump leads
- Park the second car as close to your car as possible without them touching, making sure that the jump lead can reach both vehicles.
- Attach one end of the red lead to the positive terminal on the flat battery, and then attach the other end to the positive terminal of the working battery.
- Attach one end of the black lead to the negative terminal of the working battery, and then attach the other end to a metal earthing point – a solid metal part of the engine, such as a bolt, works well – in the car with the flat battery.
- Start the engine of the second car.
- Wait for around a minute, and then try to start the car with the flat battery. If it’s still not working, try again. If the leads start to get hot, turn off the engine.
- If your car starts running, leave both vehicles for around five minutes to charge the battery. Then, turn off the engines in both cars and remove the jump leads in the reverse order that you attached them.
- However, if your car still isn’t starting, it’s likely to be a more serious issue than a flat battery, so get in touch with your breakdown cover provider.
How to jump start a car using a battery pack
If you happen to have a portable power pack with you, the process is very similar to using leads – simply attach the clips to your vehicle’s positive terminal and to an earthing point, switch on the pack and attempt to start the car as normal. As before, if it doesn’t start working after a few attempts, call your breakdown provider.
If your battery keeps playing up, it might be time to get it replaced – in the long run it’ll be cheaper than breakdown callouts each time it goes flat, and cause you less stress! However, if you’re finding that your car is consistently causing you problems, and costing too much in repairs, it could be time to replace it – our team are happy to help find a great deal on a new car.