Things Every Man Should Know: How to Jump-Start a Car

There are a few things men are simply expected to know how to do — tying a tie, changing a tire, and grilling a steak or burger are all prime examples. Even if you don’t know how to do some of these things, and let’s face it, a lot of us don’t, we now have the Internet, video tutorials, and step-by-step walk-throughs to help us prepare.

And prepare we shall — with learning how to jump-start a car battery. The truth is, this is a problem you’re going to run into at some point, probably more than once, which means that knowing what to do when it happens is essential. Jump-starting a car isn’t difficult; in fact, we outline just how easy it is with the following video and step-by-step tutorial.

Saddle up, and get ready to learn how to jump-start a car like a boss!


Following right along with the video, here’s the first thing you need to do: Get access to the battery. Naturally, you’ll need to get to the beating heart of the issue, so find your vehicle’s release switch and pop the hood.

For the rest of our simple step-by-step guide, continue to page two.


Once you’re under the hood, it’s as simple as finding the battery. If you have any experience whatsoever with cars, this shouldn’t be a problem. For the inexperienced among us — look for the big black box with a couple of cables attached to it. You’ll see two terminals — a negative and positive. They are typically two different colors (red and black), and marked accordingly (- or +).


To jump-start the car, you’ll need another car — one which has a functional power supply. So, get a buddy, family member, or complete stranger (you could offer them $5 for a jump if people keep blowing you off) and park nose-to-nose, as seen above. You can pull this off side-by-side as well, but it’s a bit trickier.


Now, you need to make the right connections. Follow the steps above. It’s important, of course, that you have a set of jumper cables as well.


Once you are properly connected and have double-checked that you have your correct clamps on the correct terminals, start the car that will be providing the jump-start. You can’t really screw this step up, because you can’t start the other car.


The most important part of this step is to ensure that the vehicle providing the jump-start is not in gear — that is, it is in neutral or park. Give it some gas and let the engine rev. This is providing a bit of juice to the dead car’s battery.


After a few minutes, it’s time for the “moment of truth.” Get in the disabled vehicle and give the key a turn.


Assuming the car starts up, fantastic! Now, be sure not to turn the car off. The battery needs to recharge, and in order to do so, the car needs to be running. The alternator takes care of the recharge as your vehicle is running, so give it some time before shutting the vehicle off again.


Very important: Take the cables off in the reverse order in which you put them on. Follow the diagram above if you need a refresher.


And there you have it! Buy your buddy a beer, give your dad a hug, or thank that random stranger in the parking lot as politely as possible. Once you shut the hood, you can be on your merry way. Now that you know how to solve the issue of a dead battery, you won’t need to worry the next time it happens.

Just buy a set of jumper cables and keep them in the trunk — it’s better to have them and not need them, than to need them and not have them!