Your Car Breaks Down

If you leave your lights on and your battery runs down, you’ll soon be rolling again if you have a pair of jumper cables and someone nearby has a vehicle with a healthy battery. Position your vehicle and the other vehicle so that they aren’t touching, but the batteries are close enough for the jumper cables to reach from one to another. Set an automatic transmission in park, standard transmission in neutral. Set the parking brake.

  • Attach one of the positive (usually red) jaws to the positive terminal of the healthy battery.
  • Attach the other positive jaw (at the other end of the same cable) to the positive terminal of the dead battery.
  • Connect the negative jaw to the negative terminal of the good battery, making sure the other negative jaw is not touching either vehicle.
  • Finally, attach the second negative jaw to a solid grounding point on your vehicle. This could be on the chassis or engine, some distance from the battery. Avoid attaching the second negative jaw to your battery. A spark could cause your battery to explode when you disconnect the cables.
  • Start the healthy vehicle. Let its engine fast-idle for a minute or two to build up a charge in the dead battery.
  • Start your vehicle. If it won’t start, wait a few minutes and let the healthy vehicle recharge the battery.
  • As soon as your vehicle starts, remove the cables in the reverse order to the way in which they were installed. Allow your engine to run for a time to fully recharge your battery.
  • If your battery dies frequently, you may need a new battery.