A Step-by-Step Guide to Your Next Jump Start

By Dan Ng
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Sometimes things sputter, turn over, and plain just fail to start including big batteries that run cars and boats. The next time your car or boat battery dies, make sure you know what to do. It will save you time, energy and money. Here are some simple steps that you can follow to jumpstart the battery in your boat or car, whether you use another vehicle to do so or one of the car battery chargers featured in our lineup:

Jumpstarting a boat or car with another vehicle:

  1.  Make sure you have jumper cables and a boat or car with an operational battery.
  2. Make sure the jumper cables are not frayed and that there are no bare wires showing.
  3. Make sure there is nothing in the way of or obstructing the path of the jumper cables.
  4. Make sure that the two cars or the boat battery and car battery are close enough together for the jumper cables to reach from the live to dead battery.
    *Note: a boat battery should be removed from the boat and jumped on shore
  5. Turn everything off in the car with the dead battery including the radio, air conditioner, heater, turn signals, headlights and so forth.
  6. Attach the red jumper cable to the positive terminal on the good battery – it is usually marked with a plus (+) sign.
  7. Attach the other end of the red jumper cable to the dead battery’s positive terminal.
  8. Attach the black jumper cable to the negative terminal on the good battery – it is usually marked with minus (-) sign.
  9. Attach the other end of the black jumper cable to a non-painted metal bracket or bolt head (preferably as far away from the battery as possible to reduce sparks) if you're jumping a dead car battery, or onto the dead boat battery’s negative terminal.
  10. Turn the live vehicle on and give the dead battery some juice.
  11. Once you are able to start the other car, remove the jumper cables and let it run for 30 minutes to recharge. If you’re charging a boat battery, return it to the boat and try to start the engine.
  12. If the dead boat does not start back up, leave it running for about 30 minutes to help the battery recharge.
  13. If the dead car or boat does not start back up, try to reposition the jumper cables on both batteries and try again.

Jumpstarting a boat or car with a battery charger:

  1. Put on safety glasses before pulling out your battery charger.
  2. Make sure to read the battery charger’s instruction manual if this is your first time using it or if you haven’t used it for an extended period.
  3. Place the volt setting of the battery charger on the 12-volt option, if available. Use the 6-volt option for smaller vehicles such as scooters, dirt bikes, motorcycles and the like.
  4. Select a low-amp setting or trickle charge to charge the battery slowly if you have time. Setting the amperage higher will shorten the length of charging time but will also not charge the battery as fully.
  5. Place the battery charger as far away from the car or boat battery as possible.
  6. Attach the red jumper cable to the positive terminal on the dead battery– usually marked with a plus (+) sign.
  7. Attach the negative jumper cable to a non-painted metal bracket or bolt head, preferably as far away from the dead battery as possible. This reduces sparks from occurring and a possible explosion.
  8. Turn on the battery charger and consult the manual to decide the charge time. Some battery chargers include a battery gauge that measures the charge of the dead battery.
  9. Make sure to check back every hour or so to monitor the progress of the charge. Overcharging a battery can ruin it.
  10. Turn off the battery charger and unplug it. Carefully remove the jumper cables beginning with the black jumper cable. If you start the car before removing the cables, avoid contact with moving engine parts.

 
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