How to Jump Start a Car



Few things are worse than turning the key in your vehicle’s ignition and having absolutely nothing happen. A dead battery can leave you stranded at any time, especially if your battery is nearing the end of its lifespan, covered in corrosion, or otherwise ill-maintained. As the preferred dealership in Rimbey, Alberta, Buist Motors is committed to providing excellent automotive services throughout the region, including the surrounding areas of Red Deer, Lacombe, and Sylvan Lake. With the overarching goal of keeping drivers safe and on the road, we’re sharing a quick how-to guide on jump-starting a car.


Never underestimate the importance of having a good pair of jumper cables in your car. Keeping secured jumpers stored in your trunk compartment could prevent the need to wait for emergency roadside assistance when the unexpected occurs. If your battery dies, you may be able to find a good Samaritan who’s willing to jump it for you. However, before starting this process, always ensure that the person helping you has a battery with an equal or greater voltage. So long as everything is connected correctly during this process, factors such as whether you have a generator or alternator or whether your vehicle has positive ground won’t matter.


There are, however, two situations that could result in damage to the other person’s car. It would be best if you never attempted to get a jump from someone with an electronic ignition system. You should also avoid requesting jumps from drivers whose vehicles operate on alternative fuels.

After you’ve made sure that it’s safe to receive a jump from another vehicle, go ahead and get your jumper cables out. The two cars should be parked side by side or with their front bumpers nose-to-nose and then placed in neutral or park. Before taking any other actions, make sure that everyone has their ignitions turned off and their parking brakes engaged. You should also ensure that your hood and the person jumping your vehicle’s hood are securely open with the available metal struts.

Take one red clip and clamp it onto your battery’s positive terminal. This clip will be larger than the black clip, and it should have a “+” sign or the letters “POS” written or engraved on it. The other red clip will need to be attached to the positive terminal on the person’s battery helping you. The black clip on this same side of the red jumper cable you just put on the person helping your car should then clamp to the other vehicle’s negative terminal.

Although clamping the remaining black clamp to the negative battery terminal on your end might seem like the obvious next step, this is the wrong thing to do. Instead, this needs to be attached to an unpainted metal surface on your car. Depending upon the make and model you own, you should find a suitable area near the engine block.

Before starting the other driver’s vehicle, take the time to verify that everything is connected correctly. Red clamps should be on the positive terminals, and the black clamp on the other driver’s end should be on the negative terminal. The black clamp on your end of this setup must be on unpainted metal to ground it. Once you’ve ensured that the setup is correct, ask the other person to turn their vehicle on. Then, let the car run for several minutes so that your battery can charge up. After four to five minutes have passed, try turning your vehicle on.


If the problem persists after your initial efforts to jump your battery, you can check the cable connections and let the other vehicle continue to run for several additional minutes. If these measures still don’t work, you may have a battery that’s beyond reviving. Another essential thing to note is that a dead battery could be a sign of a damaged alternator. As such, even if you’re able to get your auto back up and running with a jump, you should still visit our service centre for further inspection.

One of the best ways to avoid dealing with a dead battery is by practicing diligent car maintenance. Our mechanics can routinely inspect your battery for signs of developing problems and age-related issues. To give your vehicle the care it deserves, contact us to schedule a service appointment today.