How to Jump-Start a Car


We all know that the black and red jumper leads are used to jump-start a car.  But if you’ve never actually jump-started a car yourself, it can seem daunting trying it for the first time.  You definitely don’t want to get it wrong.  These days, all new vehicles have computers fitted so it’s important to know how to jump-start your vehicle without frying the computer system.

There are two ways in which you can jump-start a vehicle.  Either by using jumper leads, or by using a portable battery.


Jumper leads

How to Jump Start Your Car - quick to help you these holiday periods

Jumper leads work by using a second vehicle (vehicle 2) to charge the first vehicle’s (vehicle 1) flat battery.

A set of jumper leads contain a red and a black lead, with each having a clamp at each end.

Ensure vehicle 1 and vehicle 2 are both in park, and have the ignition switched off. Don’t forget to put the hand brake on.  Safety first!

On vehicle 1, place a red clamp on the battery’s positive terminal (you may need to remove the plastic cap that sits on the terminal so the clamp can affix to the metal).

How to Jump Start Your Car - quick to help you these holiday periods

Attach the other red clamp to the positive terminal of vehicle 2.

Then attach the black clamp to vehicle 2’s negative terminal.

How to Jump Start Your Car - quick to help you these holiday periods

The remaining black clamp will need to be earthed on vehicle 1.  This is done by clamping it on an unpainted metal surface on the car (not the battery) such as a metal strut that holds up your bonnet or any part that is metal and unpainted, like below.

How to Jump Start Your Car - quick to help you these holiday periods

Now you’re ready.  Start the engine on vehicle 2 and let it run for a few minutes.

Next, start the engine on vehicle 1.  It may take a few attempts to get it to kick over.

If vehicle 1 still won’t turn over, check that the cables are properly connected (or you may need to clean your battery terminals if there is calcium built up on them to ensure a clean connection).  If it still doesn’t kick over, your battery is probably dead and will need to be replaced.

If vehicle 1 does start, do not turn it off!  You will need to drive it for a while in order to recharge the battery.

Remove the jumper cables in the reverse order:

  • Vehicle 1 earthed black clamp
  • Vehicle 2 black clamp on the negative terminal
  • Vehicle 2 red clamp on the positive terminal
  • Vehicle 1 red clamp on the positive terminal


Portable Battery

How to Jump Start Your Car - quick to help you these holiday periods

These are fantastic and are incredibly handy.  Not only can it jump-start your car battery, but it can also charge a number of other vehicle batteries too such as a quad bike or even a boat.  They’re great to take camping, come with a light too, and can also charge anything that is 12 volts such as your phone or tablet.  Handy.

A portable battery is useful too if you travel along remote roads as you’re not reliant upon having a second vehicle in order to give you a jump-start.

Using the portable battery to jump-start your vehicle is super easy.  But it will only work if the portable battery is charged, so ensure you do this before packing it for your road trip.

Connect the red clamp to the positive terminal on your battery.

Where to place clipd

Then connect the black clamp to the negative terminal of the battery.  Unlike standard jumper leads where you need to earth one of the clamps, the clamps on a portable battery can be placed on both terminals.

Quick to help you these holiday periods

Turn the portable battery on first.

Then turn over your car.  As mentioned above, you may need to do this several times in order for it to kick over.  Once again, if the car doesn’t start then you will need a new battery.


Want more tips to maintaining your car and save money on big service bills then check out our post on how to maintain you car here.


 We’ve created a handy step-by-step guide that you can print and keep in the glovebox!






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