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How To Jump Start Your Car Safely

December 7, 2008
I was down the shore today and decided to ride my bike from Margate to Ocean City, not so easy with 35 degree temps and 30 mph winds.  Going over the Ocean City Bridge felt like I was standing still!!  The weather reminded me that it would be a good time to post this blog post from Keri:


Nothing is more annoying than finding your car won’t start on a cold winter morning. The first source of help in such a situation is to find someone who can jump start your car with a good battery. Most people are not aware that this procedure can be very hazardous unless done properly.




Every year hundreds of injuries result from batteries that explode while being jump started. The reason they explode is that in the cranking procedure of starting the car, the battery produces a lot of hydrogen gas as a by-product of the chemical reaction that generates the electricity. An explosion will result from any spark caused by improperly attaching the cables to the battery.



An exploding car battery is like a bomb that sprays chunks of plastic casing and sulfuric acid towards anyone nearby. The most vulnerable part of your body in such accidents is your eyes, which can sustain lacerations and acid burns resulting in loss of eyesight. In the case of such an injury, you should immediately wash your eyes under running water for at least 15 minutes, and then seek immediate medical attention at the nearest emergency room or ophthalmologist.


The proper way to jump start your car does not cause any sparks around the dead battery, and will minimize the risk of explosion. It might be a good idea to clip this posting and keep it in your glove compartment where it may come in handy one cold winter morning.


How to jump start your car properly:


Before you begin:


  1. Make sure your cables are color coded enabling you to identify both ends of the cable.
  2. Wear eye protection and do not lean over the battery.
  3. Be sure the vent caps are tight on the battery.
  4. Be sure both batteries are the same voltage.
  5. Be sure both cars are not touching each other and the parking brakes are on.




Then follow this sequence:


1.      Attach the red cable to the positive (+) terminal of the dead battery. The metal part of the cable may not touch the other cable or anything else metal.

2.      Attach the other end of the red cable to the positive (+) terminal of the good battery.

3.      Attach one end of the black cable to the negative (-) terminal of the good battery.

4.      Attach the other end of the black cable to any metal part of the disabled car. Do not attach this cable to the negative (-) terminal of the dead battery or any part of the carburetor line.

5.      Start the “good” car, run for several minutes, then start the disabled car. Stay away from the engine compartment as the cars are started.

6.      Once the disabled car is started, remove the cables in reverse order. Do not allow any clamp to touch any metal while the other end remains attached.

7.      Run or drive the disabled car for at least 15 to 30 minutes before shutting off. This should charge the battery enough so the car will start the next time.


Remember, during the holiday season, please be safe, and have a happy holiday!!

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