Have you experienced getting ready for your errand but suddenly your car won’t start? That’s surely a big problem, especially if you do not have an idea of how to jump-start a car with a battery pack. So, to remedy this issue, it’s best that you are knowledgeable of the basics to save you money and time.
In this guide, we will detail everything you need to know about jumpstarting your car using a battery pack, from the things you should keep in your car to other key tips that would be helpful on the road. Before we start, let’s have a short discussion on why your car won’t start.
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What are the reasons why the engine doesn’t work?
When cars do not work as they intend to, there could be complications with key car components. Hence you should determine the main issue to solve the problem effectively. Below are the possible grounds that result in your car not functioning.
- Issues with the starter
- Defective ignition switch and alternator
- Faulty safety switch
- Malfunctioning fuse
- Corroded battery terminals
- Worn car battery
Apart from these reasons, there could be underlying issues that you should take into account to avoid serious defects to your car in the long run. Meanwhile, the weather needs to be factored in, especially during winter. Cold weather makes it difficult for your vehicle to jumpstart.
Another reason could be the usage of subpar jumper cables. Cheap materials can cause problems to your car, that’s why it’s better to invest in excellent materials to ensure your car’s working performance.
What are the key steps for jump-starting your car using a battery pack?
While there are different ways to jumpstart a car, the most common method is to use battery packs or battery chargers. So, here’s a step-by-step guide to help you out:
Step1. Prepare the jumper cables as well as the battery pack from another vehicle.
If you’re a first-time car owner, jumper cables are those insulated wires that are widely used to start a car in case its battery does not have enough power.
Also referred to as jump leads, these cables come with alligator clips so that they can easily transfer energy. Do take note that the batteries of both vehicles should be of the same voltage.
Step2. Once you have these two important things, you need to station your car so it faces the other car with a good battery.
Positioning your car is important for you to be able to jumpstart your car with ease. This also makes the process highly successful. Make sure you put both cars in Neutral or Park mode. Then, shut off the vehicle’s ignition. All brakes should also be engaged to avoid road injuries.
Putting your car in either a Neutral or Park setting is crucial. The Park mode, in particular, is the most recommended option as it sticks a small metal right into the gearing so it won’t turn the transmission. And, don’t forget to use the handbrake to keep the car in place while you are doing the procedure.
Step3. Open the hood of the cars and start to locate the battery of both cars.
There are some batteries that are enclosed by a plastic hood. In this case, you should take this off to see the battery terminal, which are electrical contacts that are utilized to connect a load. Depending on the car model, these vary in designs and sizes.
Step4. Once you have determined the location, it’s time to check the positive and negative battery terminals.
Each battery comes with two terminals―positive and negative. This can be easily identified by the symbols, positive (+) and negative (-), although for a jumper cable set, the color would be the basis. The red one is positive while the black one is negative.
You need to make sure that all battery terminals are in good working condition. These should be cleaned thoroughly and free from corrosion. If you think that the terminals are already damaged, it’s a clear sign not to pursue the jumpstarting process to avoid damage to the other vehicle.
Any build-up of acid around the battery terminal can be very dangerous. Therefore, it’s suggested to opt for a battery replacement instead.
Step5. Connect the jumper cable clamps to the terminals.
In this section, you need to be careful. Start by connecting the red cable to the positive terminal of the car with a dead battery and the other end of the red clamp to the positive terminal of the car with a good battery.
Then, link one end of the black cable to the negative terminal of the car with a good battery. The other side of the black cable to the unpainted metal surface on the vehicle’s frame. Make sure you do not put it near the battery area.
Step6. Turn on the engine and let it run for some minutes.
Once you have made sure that all four connections (positive terminals and negative terminals) are secured, you may now check the engine. If there are no underlying issues, then the car will surely start. In this scenario, you should keep the engine on for a couple of minutes.
The most ideal time duration is around 15 minutes to recharge the battery. Never turn off the engine right away because this restricts the transfer of energy and may cause a negative impact on the car itself. So, keep the engine on and take a short drive so there is a continuous build-up of battery charge.
Following these steps allows the alternator to effectively charge the battery so that the vehicle does not switch off as soon as you turn off the engine. Meanwhile, there could still be a possibility for the vehicle not to stay running after disconnecting the cables.
If this happens, the problem could stem from a bad charging system. Sometimes, it may be due to a defective accessory belt, alternator, or even the pulley. Thus, you need to check on these core components as well.
On the other hand, if the engine does not work even after all the connections, there could be an underlying problem that you need to determine as soon as possible. In this case, it’s best that you reach out to a professional mechanic to diagnose and troubleshoot the issue carefully.
What are other ways to jumpstart a car?
While using battery chargers from another car is such a remarkable way to jumpstart your engine, there are other methods to choose from.
1. Portable jump starter
One popular technique is to use a portable jump starter. This tool spells out convenience, especially if you’re in the middle of nowhere. A battery jump starter entails the same function as using a battery pack from another car―except for the stress of borrowing the second vehicle.
The device makes use of the battery from the jump starter as well as the power generation in front of the alternator. A key feature of a jumper starter is that it holds a significant amount of battery level at a very compact size.
Accordingly, you won’t be having a problem constantly recharging the device. You might even be surprised that this small yet powerful battery jump-starts an engine seamlessly, perhaps a dozen times! This is the main reason why jumper starters are highly recommended because of their convenience.
You can simply keep them inside your trunk and just use them in case of emergency. And because of these amazing features, a jumper starter is actually pricey. When buying a jumper starter, you need to take into account some factors.
Firstly, you should know what type of battery your car uses. Is it a lead-acid battery or a lithium-ion battery? Often than not, lithium-ion batteries are widely used because they charge more quicker compared to lead-acid. Meanwhile, if you have a lithium-ion battery, you should buy a lithium-ion jump starter.
The cost also varies, depending on the voltage systems. Some can run 12-volt while others can jumpstart a 24-volt. There are even jump starters that have extra features like USB ports and led flashlight options. High-end ones come with inverters that power household devices and electronics like laptops or tablets.
Another method to jumpstart a dead battery without using another car is by push-starting. Also known as bump-starting, this is somehow a method where the engine is brought back to life by force. Since there would be limited tools, you need a couple of friends to help you out.
This technique is typically used for manual transmission cars. To begin with, you need to advise your friends to station at the rear and get them ready for a push. Then, turn the ignition on while the parking brake should still engaged. Afterward, push the clutch in and then shift to the second gear.
Slowly press the brake pedal and let go of the parking brake, and then release the brake. Check once you reach 5 mph before suddenly releasing the clutch. At this rate, the engine may sputter lightly to prepare for the engine. Once the engine starts, you’re all set!
Jumpstarting your car may appear to be a complex process, but it’s definitely attainable if you have the right tools―and friends to help you out! So, go over the key information above and choose the best option for you.