As a car owner or driver there is an unfortunate inevitability that at some point in your driving history you will be faced with a situation where your car breaks down – with one of the most common issues being a flat battery. The lifespan of a battery can vary depending on quality, but the very nature of a battery means that one day it will lose its charge. Here is a comprehensive, step by step guide on how to safely jump start your car if yours loses its charge:
Having the Correct Equipment
First and foremost without the correct equipment you won’t physically be able to ‘jump start’ your car so it is worth investing in:
- A Roadside Emergency kit (including safety triangle and Hi-Vis)
- A Standard Toolkit
- A set of Jumper Cables (Red and Black)
- Safety Goggles
- Safety Gloves (Heavy duty mechanic’s gloves are the best)
- A powerful Hand-torch
- Car Owner’s Manual (to identify the battery)
- Another car with a working battery
This may seem excessive but every one of these items – aside the spare car – should be a prerequisite before you drive, as you will then have the facilities to not only deal with a flat battery, but a variety of other breakdown situations too.
You now have the right equipment for the job, but before you work your way through the steps there are some safety precautions you need to take that will ensure the battery is the problem.
Try to start the car again, if the dashboard lights up or at least flickers or if the engine turns over slowly or not at all the battery is probably the issue. If you have no dashboard activity the problem could be with the ignition.
Remove any loose clothing that could snag or get caught, do not smoke or have a naked flame when working on your car and keep metal objects that could cause a spark away from the battery and engine.
Make sure you have switched all lights and devices off in your car and the key is out of the ignition. Set up your safety triangle if you are on the roadside and put on your safety gloves and goggles.
Now, you can open the bonnet and check the battery, please consult your Owner’s Manual if you cannot locate the bonnet catch or identify the battery, it will direct you to both. You are looking for any corrosion, damage or leaks or fluid and if you find any of these on or around your battery your car is not safe to jump start and you need specialist help. Otherwise you are now ready to get going.
Should you end up with another flat battery in the future, it might be frustrating but the positive is that you can feel reassured that you have the step-by-step knowledge to get yourself mobile again.