How to Jump-Start a Car Battery

A dead battery can happen any time, and usually when you are least prepared. If you’re like most people, you probably don’t jump-start a car all that often and may not remember what goes where or when. Jumping your car improperly can be dangerous and costly. So, here is a step by step refresher on how to jump-start a car in case you ever need it!

Warning: These instructions are not for electric cars or vehicles that are alternatively fueled. Jumper cables may damage these vehicles. It’s also important to follow these instructions in this exact order. Incorrectly cable placement could lead to further damage to your battery, damage to your jumper cables, damage to electrical components, or other costly concerns.

What you need:

  • Jumper Cables
  • A power source – i.e. another car or jump box

How to Jump-Start a Car

  1. Take out your jumper cables. Make sure they are in good condition, and that the alligator clips are properly marked by color or polarity.
  2. Place both vehicles in park and turn both engines off.

Warning: From this point on, never let the positive and negative clips touch each other when the other end is connected to the battery. This could create sparks.

  1. Red to Dead. Attach one of the red (or positive) clips to the positive terminal of the dead battery.
  2. Red to Donor. Attach the other red (or positive) clip to the positive terminal of the other battery.
  3. Black to Donor. Attach one of the black (or negative) clips to the negative terminal of the other battery.
  4. Black to Metal. DO NOT connect the second black (or negative) clip to the negative terminal of the dead battery – this could result in an explosion. Instead, attach the other black (or negative) clip to an unpainted metal surface in the car with the dead battery. Make sure this surface is not next to the battery.
  5. Turn on the other power source and let it run for about 5 minutes with the jumper cables connected.
  6. Try starting your vehicle. Keep the cables connected during this step.
  7. If your car still won’t start, turn off both vehicles and recheck the cable connections, especially the second black clip that’s connected to an unpainted metal surface – this may need to be moved to another surface. Once you’re sure they are correctly placed, run the other power source for about 5 minutes, then try your car again. If it still won’t start, call Performance Auto right away. The battery may be beyond saving or there could be a bigger issue.
  8. If your car does start, keep your engine running for about 15 minutes so your battery has a chance to recharge.
  9. Turn off your vehicles and disconnect jumper cables in the reverse order they were connected.

If your car did initially start, but doesn’t start the next time you turn it on, it means your battery isn’t holding a charge properly and may need to be replaced. Bring your vehicle into Performance Auto Repair to have your battery tested.


  1. Good options to start a car when battery is low or dead. You have written a good post. I am going to share this with my friends.

  2. Really this is a very useful blog.
    Thank you

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