You get in your car, put the key in the ignition, turn it and nothing happens except a weird clicking noise. Guess what? Your battery might be... dead.
Fortunately, you know how to jump start a car!
While jump-starting a car is relatively simple and straightforward, there are things you should never be doing when trying to revive a dead battery, like:
1. Don't smoke
When you're jump starting a car, you might trigger sparks from the battery and it can be pretty dangerous. A battery is extremely volatile and even the smallest spark could end in a tragedy. If you really need to smoke, do step away from the car.
2. Not wearing gloves and eye protection
All vehicle batteries contain sulfuric acid and produce hydrogen and oxygen gasses. In order to protect yourself from being contaminated by the elements, it is advisable for you to wear thick gloves and sturdy eyewear. Better be safe than sorry, right?
3. Not reading the owner's manual
Manuals are there for a reason! These manuals have specific procedures on how to jump start their vehicles. They also include information about the location of the battery, which may not be in the front of the engine. Some manufacturers do not allow you to jump start, you could void your warranty if you attempt to do the procedure.
4. Don't jump start the car if the battery is cracked or leaking
You should always inspect both batteries for signs of physical damage, in particular, cracks in the case or leaking fluid. If you see either, forget about jumping and call a tow truck. Attempting to jump start a leaking battery could result in a catastrophic explosion resulting from sparks igniting volatile gasses escaping from the battery.
5. Not putting the car in Park
The reason for this is to prevent current draw to accessories, which will make the car harder to start – and to protect accessories from possible power spikes through the system during the jump starting process.
6. Don't let the cables dangle from the car
If the cables are connected, they have a charge. If that charge hits a puddle, you could be electrocuted. If the cable drops down toward your fender, it could cause a spark or fuse to it. Always be aware of your surroundings, guys!
7. Don't use poor and low quality cables
You should always make sure that your jumper cables are in good condition, colour coded, and at least 12 feet (3 meters) long. Check for damaged insulation or frayed wires before proceeding. Cables in poor condition can cause sparks, fires, and be dangerous to the person jump starting the car.
Once again, you don’t want to risk a major problem over a relatively trivial inconvenience.
8. Lastly, if you're not sure what you're doing - call a professional!
If you've tried all you could but your car still won't start, there could be a bigger problem with your vehicle such as a blown starter or busted alternator. It’s probably time to call a tow truck, sadly.
Stay safe, guys! Don't skip your next car service and you won't have to suffer the consequences of a dead car battery.