RAC Cars News


Jump Starting

By raccars Published

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At one time or another and particularly in winter, most motorists will have to deal with a flat battery. As long as you have a set of cables and a donor car to hand, you can fairly easily jump start the vehicle. Even if you don't, you can try a good old fashioned push start. Here's how:

Using jump leads:

Position your car close to the car donating its battery power, so that the jump cables can easily reach and make sure both ignitions are turned off and the keys removed. Make sure there are no stray metal objects in the way or any loose clothing dangling around. Don't attempt to use jump leads if your battery is showing any signs of damage or leakage.

Connect one of the red jump cables to the positive terminal on the donor car's battery - this will be marked with a 'plus' sign - and the other end to your own car's positive battery terminal. Make sure the cables aren't trailing into the engine bay, as they could catch on moving parts once the engines are started. Similarly, connect the black cable to the working car's negative battery terminal, marked with a 'minus' symbol and connect the other end to the earth point on your car. If you don't have a dedicated earthing point, use any solid metal on the engine block or the chassis, such as an unpainted bolt, working away from the battery and fuel carrying components.

Start the donor car's engine - a small spark often occurs but this is normal - and give it about five minutes for the battery to build some charge. You should then be able to start your car and remove the jump cables in the reverse order to which you connected them.

Make sure you leave your car's engine running for at least 15 minutes to return some charge to the battery.

Push starting

If you don't have jump leads and your car has a manual transmission, you can try push starting it. You will need some able bodies to help you, unless you are parked on a hill, facing down.

Depress and hold the clutch and engage second gear. Turn the ignition to the 'on' position. If you're facing downhill, release the brake and allow the car to move, otherwise you'll need some people to start pushing the car while you steer and start.

Once the car has some momentum, quickly drop the clutch and the engine should pick up. Once again you'll need to leave it running for at least a quarter of an hour, to recharge your battery.

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