There’s really no good time for your car battery to die and leave you stranded. But winter weather can be an especially difficult time to leave your headlights or the radio on when the car isn’t running.
Just as you buy a shovel and snow melt as precautionary measures, so should you keep a set of jumper cables in the event that you need them. And you should know how to use them safely.
Of course, you’ll need some help, namely someone with a running car to jumpstart your dead battery. Experts recommend that you park the cars as close together as possible without touching.
Both cars should be in a safe area away from traffic and have their parking brakes on. Automatic transmissions should be in park, and manual transmissions should be in neutral.
Now carefully connect the cables with these four steps, paying special attention to No. 4:
1. Attach one red clamp to the positive (+) post of the dead battery.
2. Connect the other red clamp to the positive (+) post of the good battery.
3. Connect one black clamp to the negative (-) post of the good battery.
4. Connect the other black clamp to a large, unpainted metallic part of the engine block. Never connect it to the dead battery as this could cause sparking that could ignite battery gases. Keep the cables free from any moving parts.
Next, start the working car and let it idle for a few minutes before starting the “dead” car. Once it starts, disconnect the jumper cables in the reverse order in which you connected them. Let the restarted car idle for 30 minutes or drive it around to recharge the battery.
One final step: be sure to thank the person who came to your rescue.