Car Ownership 101: How to jumpstart a dead battery

July 17th, 2022 by

Picture this, it’s a beautiful sunny day and you’re about to leave the house for an off-road adventure around Michigan. But, upon turning your keys in the ignition or pressing the Start button, your engine doesn’t start. You try to start your engine again, and upon checking, the battery is dead.

If this is not your first time handling such an issue, you may use past methods to jumpstart the dead battery. However, it may seem like an uphill task if you’re a first-timer. Our service technicians at Apple Chevrolet, Michigan, provide tips on how you may jumpstart a dead battery to ensure you hit the road as soon as possible.

Jumpstarting Essentials

Jumpstarting a vehicle involves handling electric charges. Therefore, you need to be cautious and use the appropriate tools and gear. Also, you may carry some tools in your vehicle to help you handle any jumpstarting issues in the future. They include:

Owner’s Manual

The owner’s manual provides the necessary steps for fixing some car issues, such as a dead battery. If you’re jumpstarting your car for the first time, you may read the instruction manual to learn the do’s and don’ts.

Jumper Cables

Jumper cables have clamps at the end to connect a dead battery to a functional battery to recharge the dead one. The red cable clamps connect to the positive battery terminal, while the black cable clamps connect to the negative battery terminal. Jumper cables come in various lengths, but longer ones are preferable.

Mechanical Gloves

Mechanical gloves protect against any electrical shocks during the jumpstarting process. Mechanical gloves also ensure that no moisture will get to the battery or jumper cable if you have sweaty palms.


Sometimes, things go awry during a jumpstart, and the battery may explode. Coveralls may help protect you from the battery’s caustic sulfuric acid to avoid injuries or burning your clothes.

Jumpstarting Using Another Vehicle

This method works for cars with both manual and automatic transmissions. Since it requires two cars, you may ask for help from another driver on the road. Follow these steps to jumpstart using the other vehicle:

Park the Car With the Functional Battery Close to Yours

Ensure the cars are close, but they shouldn’t touch because it may short circuit the functional car. So, to be safe, maintain 18 to 24 inches of space and switch off both cars.

Identify the Positive and Negative Terminals in Your Battery

The battery’s positive terminal is identifiable by its red color, or a positive sign (+), and the negative terminal is black or has a negative sign (-). Remove the plastic cover, if necessary, to reveal the metal you’ll connect to the jumper cables.

Connect the Jumper Cables

Take the jumper cable’s positive clamp (red) and connect it to the positive terminal on the dead battery. Connect the opposite end of the positive clamp to the positive terminal on the functional battery. Once that’s complete, connect the negative clamp (black) to the negative terminal on the functional battery. Then connect the opposite end of the negative clamp to an unpainted metal surface on the dead car’s engine block such as the bolt head.

Start the Car With the Functional Battery

By starting the car, the dead battery starts charging. Allow the engine to run for roughly five minutes. Your car should have enough charge to start by then, but switch off both cars if it doesn’t start. Ensure the clamps are making good contact, then switch on the car with the functional battery to try again.

Let Your Car Run for a While

If your car starts, let it run for up to 20 minutes. Letting it run for longer lets you recharge your battery further. If your car doesn’t start after trying to jumpstart it the second time, there may be another problem, such as a failing alternator or a faulty battery. Dealership service technicians can evaluate the problem and give you an accurate diagnostic report.

Unclamp the Jumper Cables in Reverse Order

If your car starts, carefully disconnect the jumper cable clamps. Unclamp the negative clamp (black) from your car and then the negative clamp for the other car. Remove the positive clamp (red) from the other car, then remove the positive clamp from your car.

Jumpstarting Using a Portable Jump-starter

A portable jump-starter works well with cars that have an automatic transmission. The jump-starter method is similar to the jumper cable method, but this uses a portable tool rather than a car. Here are the steps to using a portable jump-starter:

  1. Switch off your car.
  2. Clamp the red clamp on the jump-starter to your battery’s positive terminal.
  3. Clamp the black clamp to an unpainted metal surface on your car’s engine block.
  4. Turn on the jump-starter as per its instructions.
  5. Let the jump-starter run for several minutes to charge your battery.
  6. Try to start your car. If your car starts, switch off the jump-starter.
  7. Unclamp the clamps in reverse order; start with the black clamps, then the red clamps.
  8. Contact a local dealership service center if your car doesn’t start the second time.
  9. Remember to recharge your jump-starter after every start.

Jump-start Using the Push Start Method

The push-starting method restarts the engine by using force rather than electric charges. It requires a couple of friends or friendly motorists who are preferably brawny and a flat or slightly inclined road. The method only works on cars with a manual transmission. Here are steps on using the push start method:

  1. Have your assistants at the back of your car ready to push.
  2. Get in your car and turn on your ignition.
  3. Put your parking brake in place, push the clutch, and shift to second gear.
  4. Step on your brake pedal and release your parking brake.
  5. Take your foot off the brake pedal and tell your assistants to push.
  6. Once your speedometer gets to 5 miles per hour, release the clutch
  7. Drive around for a while to charge your car.

Schedule Battery Servicing at Applegate Chevrolet

At Applegate Chevrolet in Flint, Michigan, we understand how inconvenient a dead battery can be to all car owners. We also understand how the heat during summer affects battery health. Our factory-trained experts can conduct battery health checks on your vehicle to help you avoid any inconveniences due to a faulty or dead battery.

You can schedule a battery service with us for routine checks or replacements. We also have special service offers that you can take advantage of on your next battery replacement. Contact us for further assistance on jumpstarting your vehicle’s battery.

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