Car Articles

How to jump start your car

Aviva Car Insurance

The most common and effective means of getting your car going with a flat battery is by using jump leads. Read our guide to get your car moving in no time!

For your safety, and our peace of mind we’d always prefer you to call our breakdown assistance team and leave the jump starting to our trained mechanics:

What do I need to jump start a car with jump leads?

  • A second vehicle with a fully charged battery. Avoid using a hybrid or electric car as this could cause damage.
  • A pair of quality jump leads

Safety precautions before jump starting a car with jump leads

  • Check for damage - if there’s any obvious damage to either of the batteries, or the jump leads, don’t risk attempting a jump start
  • Remove any rings or metal jewelry you’re wearing and make sure nothing metal touches the terminals on the battery.

Ten steps to jump start a car

1. Before starting, make sure any electrical systems or devices in the vehicle with the dead battery are switched off (Lights, radio/CD, sat-nav etc). 

2. Park the second vehicle as close to the casualty vehicle as possible, without the vehicles touching, ensuring the jump leads will comfortably reach from one battery to the other.

3. Ensure both vehicles engines are switched off, remove the ignition keys and open their bonnets (or boot if the battery’s located there). 

How to jump start your car illustration - Open bonnets

4. Attach one end of the red jump lead to the positive terminal on the flat battery or jump start point (refer to owner’s manual). The positive terminal jump start point will usually have a red plastic cover with a plus (+) symbol on it. Pull the cover back to access the terminal.

5. Then attach the other end of the red jump lead to the positive terminal of the good battery on the second vehicle.

Jump start a car with jump leads illustration - Connect red jump leads

6. Attach one end of the black jump lead to the negative terminal of the good battery.

7. Then attach the other end of the black jump lead to a good earth point on the casualty vehicle – a solid metal part of the engine is usually best (see image below).

How to jump start a car illustration - Connect red and black jump leads

8. Start the engine of the second vehicle.

9. Now attempt to start the casualty vehicle. If it doesn’t start after a few attempts, it might be more serious than a flat battery. In this event, seek professional help. 

10. If it does start, leave both vehicles running for five minutes.

How to remove the jump How to remove the jump leads

  1. Switch off the engines on both vehicles
  2. Disconnect the black jump lead that is connected to the casualty vehicle
  3. Disconnect the other end of the black jump lead from the second vehicle
  4. Disconnect the red jump lead that is connected to the second vehicle
  5. Disconnect the other end of the red jump lead from the battery on the casualty vehicle

After the leads have been removed

Restart the engine on the casualty vehicle.

The battery will need to recharge fully for it to be fully serviceable, which is best achieved using a quality battery charger for several hours.

In the meantime, if possible, drive the vehicle normally (not in heavy traffic) for around 30 mins to try to put some charge back into the battery.

And there you have it, ten simple steps to jump start your car! We don’t just help you get your car back on the road, we help protect it on the road too.

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