No matter how well you take care of your car or how attentive you are at keeping all the lights and electronics off when you aren’t driving it, mistakes can happen, and you might find yourself turning the key in the ignition only to hear the click click noise of an uncharged battery.
Fortunately, if you have a set of jumper cables handy and another car owner nearby willing to help, it’ll only take about five minutes for you to get back on your way. Just follow the steps below!
Bring both cars nose to nose, but do not let them touch.
Make sure both cars are properly parked and each has the engine turned off.
Pop open both hoods and make note of the location of each battery’s positive (+) and negative (-) nodes. If you have any doubts, consult the owner’s manual.
Attach the red jumper cable to the positive (+) node of the good battery.
Attach the other end of the red jumper cable to the positive (+) node of the bad battery.
Attach the black jumper cable to the negative (-) node of the good battery.
Attach the black jumper cable to a piece of unpainted, neutral metal near the bad battery. Do not attach it to the negative (-) node of the bad battery.
Start the car with the good battery and let the engine run for a minute or two.
While the car with the good battery is still running, try to start the car with the bad battery. If you are successful, let the engine run as you detach the cables in reverse order. If you are unsuccessful, wait a few more minutes and try again.
If it takes a very long time for the battery to receive a charge, or if the car never successfully starts, you’ll need a new battery.