How To: Use A Jump Starter To Start Your Vehicle – In Detail

How To: Use A Jump Starter To Start Your Vehicle – In Detail
March 11 10:45 2018 Print This Article

This is a complete guide to using a jump starter, also sometimes called a battery starter. I have tried to gather all the steps in the best possible way. Although it’s a bit long, I feel that anyone who is thinking about starting their car with one of these devices would do well to read this guide at least once to know the possible risks they might face, and to see what you can do to limit your exposure to any of these hazards as much as possible. The purpose of this is not to scare anyone, since starting your car with a portable battery starter is a relatively safe procedure.

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Precautions to be taken into account

The following observations should be taken into account whenever attempting to start a vehicle with a portable car battery starter.

 

    • Make sure the starter is turned off before connecting jumper cables to the vehicle battery.

Check the lights, radio and air conditioning and make sure they are turned off. Remove ignition keys to be entirely sure.

  • Do NOT allow the positive and negative clamps to come into contact with each other or to be electrically connected.
  • Do NOT attempt to start the vehicle near flammable liquids or other fuels.

A car battery explosion is possible but rare

Although the vast majority of new portable battery starters have built-in safety systems to prevent any potentially hazardous situation due to improper use of the device, it is advisable always to follow the key points mentioned above. An explosion is a real possibility, and if a lead-acid battery is involved, this can become a truly disastrous situation. Sparking is also a possibility if the unit’s clamps come into contact or are connected to the vehicle while the battery starter is on. Because of this, it is strongly recommended to keep flammable objects away from the area where the starter will be used.

How to use a jump starter

  1. With the battery starter turned off, connect the pincers to the starter (some units have the cables permanently attached so this step can be ignored in those cases).
  2. Then, with the battery starter and vehicle completely switched off, connect the positive (red) clamp to the positive terminal of the vehicle battery and the negative (black) clamp to a stable point on the vehicle chassis. Make sure the clamps are securely connected so that when the car starts, they do not shake and release, producing a possible cut-off due to the sabers touching each other. Connecting the negative clamp to the negative terminal of the vehicle battery is perhaps the most common practice, and for most situations, it will be well done (The negative terminal on the batteries of virtually all vehicles also serves as a ground connection for the battery, as it is in direct contact with the vehicle chassis. Therefore, the link to the car’s chassis is practically the same as the connection to the negative battery terminal. The reason why it is preferable to connect it to the frame is that the vehicle battery could potentially emit hydrogen gas. Although highly unlikely, especially with modern car batteries, a spark due to the connection of both starter cables to the battery terminals could cause a fire or explosion. The chances of this happening are slim, but this is why best practice dictates that the negative wire should be connected to the vehicle’s metal structure and not directly to the negative battery terminal.
  3. With the starter cables firmly connected to the vehicle battery, the portable starter can be switched on.
  4. Then, the ignition of the car can be turned on, and an attempt can be made to start the car. If the engine does not start immediately, do not start the engine for more than five seconds. The starter is required to emit the maximum amount of current while attempting to start the engine and is designed to do so only in short discharge times.
  1. With the battery starter turned off, connect the pincers to the starter (some units have the cables permanently attached so this step can be ignored in those cases).
  2. Then, with the battery starter and vehicle completely switched off, connect the positive (red) clamp to the positive terminal of the vehicle battery and the negative (black) clamp to a stable point on the vehicle chassis. Make sure the clamps are securely connected so that when the car starts, they do not shake and release, producing a possible cut-off due to the sabers touching each other. Connecting the negative clamp to the negative terminal of the vehicle battery is perhaps the most common practice, and for most situations, it will be well done (The negative terminal on the batteries of virtually all vehicles also serves as a ground connection for the battery, as it is in direct contact with the vehicle chassis. Therefore, the link to the car’s chassis is practically the same as the connection to the negative battery terminal. The reason why it is preferable to connect it to the frame is that the vehicle battery could potentially emit hydrogen gas. Although highly unlikely, especially with modern car batteries, a spark due to the connection of both starter cables to the battery terminals could cause a fire or explosion. The chances of this happening are slim, but this is why best practice dictates that the negative wire should be connected to the vehicle’s metal structure and not directly to the negative battery terminal.
  3. With the starter cables firmly connected to the vehicle battery, the portable starter can be switched on.
  4. Then, the ignition of the car can be turned on, and an attempt can be made to start the car. If the engine does not start immediately, do not start the engine for more than five seconds. The starter is required to emit the maximum amount of current while attempting to start the engine and is designed to do so only in short discharge times.

Pressing the device to start the engine for long periods of time could cause overheating and severe damage to the device’s battery. Allow two or three minutes rest after each five-second attempt for the starter battery to cool down and recover its voltage. This will ensure that the maximum current is emitted again when attempting to start the motor and thus avoid compromising the life cycle of the starter.

Always keep your vehicle battery in tip-top condition to minimize your chances of being stuck with a flat battery and to get the maximum lifespan from it

Get the best performance from your portable Jump Starter

Hopefully, this will serve as a valuable reference for anyone who may be struggling to get their car going with one of these devices, providing alternative strategies and a means to troubleshoot any potential issues with the way they are attempting to jump-start their vehicle. Remember that poor maintenance of your vehicle’s battery and your jump starter will only reduce your success, so be sure to have your battery checked regularly (every three months) and to keep your jump starter charged up, so it’s ready for the next time you need it. As always, stay safe, and I wish you all the best when jump starting your vehicle.

Troubleshooting guide:

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If you cannot start the motor with the battery starter, one possible cause may be that the starter clamps are not making a good enough connection to the battery terminals. In this case, turn OFF THE BATTERY STARTER, then try turning the clamps around the terminals to improve their connection (If the negative clamp is connected to the chassis, try another point on the vehicle). Then restart the starter and try starting the car again as indicated in step 4 above.

If the engine still does not start after four or five more attempts, stop trying and, however disappointing and frustrating it may be, accept the fact that the battery is completely unusable.

There are several probable causes why a battery may become completely useless, such as:

  • That the battery is damaged internally, due to an internal short.
  • The electrodes forming the battery cells may be corroded (or sulfated in the case of lead-acid batteries).
  • Or that the vehicle’s electrical system is damaged.

We hope that this will be a valuable reference for anyone who has questions about using battery starters to start their car or another vehicle, providing alternative strategies and a means to solve potential problems when starting the engine with these useful devices.

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How To Jump Start Your Car When Your Battery Is Almost Dead

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