How to Use Jumper Cables

If you are a motor vehicle owner and / or driver, there may come a time when your ever faithful vehicle will need a jump start.  A jump start or boost is the revival method motorists apply to a vehicle that has a discharged battery.  You may have a dead battery if the vehicle’s lights were left on for an extended period, or from improper maintenance of the battery.  Another cause is the breakdown of the voltage regulator in the alternator.  The jump start is given using jumper cables, which are a pair of insulated wires with alligator (spring) clips on the ends.  Using jumper cables is fairly easy but precaution must be taken to avoid any injuries.

Things you will need

  • Jumper cables
  • Goggles – to protect the eyes
  • Motor vehicle with charged battery
  • Motor vehicle with discharged battery


  1. Align the motor vehicles close to each other – they must be close enough for the jumper cables to stretch from one vehicle to the other.
  2. Ensure both vehicles are in park mode; turn off the working car’s engine, the other would already be off.
  3. Ensure everything in both motor vehicles is off including radios, A/Cs, headlights and blinkers.  Remove all accessories from cigarette lighters including mobile phones/chargers.
  4. Identify the positive and negative terminals on both batteries.
  5. Use one end of the positive cable to connect to the positive post of the dead battery.
  6. Connect the other end of the positive cable to the positive post of the good battery.
  7. Connect the negative end of the cable to the negative post of the good battery.
  8. Connect the 4th cable clamp to a metal frame part of the dead car – connect the other end of the negative cable to a large shiny nut on the engine block.  Ensure the nut is as clean as possible.
  9. Turn on the engine of the working car and let it run for a few minutes.  This will allow the discharged battery to recharge.
  10. Once the battery is charged turn off the working car’s engine and remove all the cables from both vehicles in the reversed order that they were connected.
  11. Turn on the engine of the non-working car.
  12. An alternate method is to start the working car’s engine for about a minute and then start the non-working car’s engine.


  • Do a test on the car that the jump start was given to by turning it off after a few minutes of being on.  This will test to see if it restarts on its own.
  • If the jump start does not work try another set of cables as the current ones may be faulty.
  • Even if the jump start is successful it is still recommended that you have the vehicle’s electrical system checked.


  • Do not attempt to jump start a vehicle if you notice liquid leaking from a cracked battery.