Friday, October 26, 2012
Car care: how to jumpstart a car
It is midnight and your battery has conked out because you left the lights on earlier. You are now stranded in a near-deserted car park. Tough luck. What to do? One way out is to jumpstart your car. A fellow motorist may be willing and able to help, provided either one of you have jumper cables.
Anyway, let's assume you have the cables. But which cable goes where? Before you start, examine your battery. If the casing is cracked, the battery is damaged so don't try to jumpstart it. Just lock up the car and take a taxi home. If there are white deposits around the battery terminals, clean them off with a wire brush. Avoid contact with your skin.
Check that the batteries in both cars are of the same voltage. Switch the ignition off in both cars. Make sure the two cars are not in contact with each other. Now proceed in the following sequence:
(1) Connect one end of a cable to the positive terminal of the dead battery.
(2) Connect the other end of this cable to the positive terminal of the starting battery.
(3) Connect one end of the second cable to the negative terminal of the starting battery.
(3) Connect the other end of the second cable to the engine block or frame of the car with the dead battery. On no account should this end be connected to the negative terminal of the dead battery.
Now start the engine of the car providing the jumpstart. After a few moments, start the engine of the car with the dead battery. If it does not start, try again a few seconds later. By now the car should have started. If it doesn't, there is nothing you can do about it.
In either case, disconnect the cables in the reverse order that you had connected them. This means disconnecting the cable from the frame of the car first and so forth until the disconnecting of the cable from the positive terminal of the once-dead battery. And remember to thank the fellow motorist for his or her help during your hour of need.
So it may be wise to invest in a pair of jumper cables today.