In theory, road trips can be an awesome way to nourish your adventurous spirit and escape your comfort zone. Just imagine yourself driving down the highway with the wind in your hair and not a worry in sight. Sounds pretty enticing right? That’s because it is!
However, you’ll want to take a few safety precautions before “the road becomes your bride.” Check if your spare tire is in good condition and be prepared to jump start your car if the need arises. Don’t know how to jumpstart a vehicle? Here’s a quick guide that will teach you how. With some basic knowledge, you’ll actually get to have all the fun and excitement you crave for, instead of being stranded in the middle of nowhere.
Diagnosing a Dead Battery
If you turn the ignition on and nothing happens, nine out of 10 times a dead car battery will be the reason your vehicle isn’t starting up.
This can be due to several reasons. Car batteries have a lifespan that typically lasts a couple of years. If you have an old car battery and plan to head out on a long journey, we suggest replacing it with a brand new one just in case.
That being said, buying a brand new car battery doesn’t guarantee it won’t go flat and leave you stranded. Excessive exposure to heat during hot summer days, leaving the radio or AC on for extended periods during which the car is not running, or just faulty connectors, are all reasons why you might end up with a dead battery even if it’s right out of the factory.
So, how to check if the battery is really the reason your car won’t start? There are a couple of clues, but the main one is turning the ignition key. If the engine is cranking and the radio is working, you might be experiencing a different kind of malfunction that requires different solutions.
However, if there’s no sound, you are probably stuck with a dead battery. This is because the car battery is in charge of powering up the starter, which is consequently responsible for starting the engine.
A Step-By-Step Guide to Jump Starting a Car
- First of all, you’ll want to find someone willing to help you out and has a car that is running. There are a lot of Good Samaritans on the road, so don’t hesitate to ask a stranger.Once someone pulls over, you’ll want to ask them to park their car in the immediate vicinity of your own so that both vehicles are facing each other. This will ensure that the jumper cables can reach both cars and will make jumping a car battery much easier. Turn the ignition off and pop open both hoods.
- You’ll notice that car batteries have positive and negative terminals and that they are color-coded. Red represents the positive side, while black represents the negative. The same rules apply for your jumper cables. You’ll want to take the red lead of the jumper cable and connect it to the red terminal of the dead battery first. This is the safest approach.
- From there, take the other end and connect it to the good battery. Now take the black lead and also connect it to the good battery. Grab the last lead but don’t attach it to the dead battery’s negative terminal. In fact, doing this can potentially cause more damage and even start a fire.
- Instead, take the black end and attach it to any piece of metal under the hood that isn’t connected to an electrical component. Some cars even have a designated negative jump start spot, so make sure to use it if that’s the case. If that’s not the case, search somewhere near the engine block. After you’ve connected the cables, it’s time to start the car with the good battery and leave it running for a couple of minutes. Those couple of minute should be enough to power up the alternator.
- Remove the cables in reverse order and start your car. Keep the engine running for an extended period so that the alternator has enough time to recharge the battery.
Voila! Your car is up and running, and you’re back on the road! Remember to show your gratitude and thank the driver who pulled over and helped you out. If, for some reason you fail to start your engine, call our 24-hour emergency line and we’ll help you out. Phoenix Towing offers roadside assistance 24/7, ensuring you get back on the road as soon as possible!