Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Trick To Jump Starting A Car

Last Thursday, wifey's car broke down in the middle of the road. It was a harrowing experience for her as she was alone and she did not expect that to happen.
Causing a lil jam soon aren't we?
Her alternator decided to give way and she was driving on battery power the whole morning and then luck wore out. In this situation where the alternator (or dynamo) was unable to recharge the battery (of 14V for recharging), the only option is to get a fresh charged battery, change it, drives it back to the workshop right before the battery dies again. Luckily, the workshop was about 3km away only.
Now, if you are in a position with a dead battery (not alternator ya), don't fret. You can learn to Do It Like A Man.
Here is my guide to help you impress any damsel in distress - even those with big hairy hands (if that is what turns you on).
Jump Starting WITH a jumper cable.
1. Firstly, get yourself a good jump start cable. Those puny ones that is being sold for less than USD10 or less than RM30 won't work. The art of jump starting a car requires a jumper cable that will not melt, literally when put to work.
It is good to have a jumper cable of at least 4AWG size or about 5.1mm diameter of COPPER core. I say copper core as some cables has insulation that made up the perceived size of the cable which is actually nothing more than 12AWG. Bear in mind that the smaller the number, the bigger the cable.
2. Now, assuming that you already have the jumper cable. next step is to identify the location of the battery of both the cars. Lets set a nomenclature here - Car with dead battery, we call it B. Car with good battery, we call it A. By checking the location of the battery in relation to the engine compartment, you can possibly avoid the embarrassment (remember, you are here to impress) of placing the car, popping the hood and OPPS...the batteries are just too far away for that standard 12feet long cable to reach...Doing your due diligence will save some embarrassment
3. OK. With the car positioned properly and both the bonnet hood raised, start Car A and let it run. For maximal effect, switch off all other items such as radio, lights, wipers etc. Remember, you want to focus all energy to jump start Car B.
4. Take the RED lead of the jumper wire and clamp it over Car A POSITIVE battery terminal. Careful with the other end of the RED lead as touching anywhere metallic on the car will lead to possible explosion.
5. Take the other end of the RED jumper and place it over Car B POSITIVE battery terminal.
6. Now, take the BLACK lead, clamp on the NEGATIVE battery terminal of Car A.
7. Careful as not to touch the other end of the BLACK lead anywhere else, there might be explosion. Carefully clamp this end to any metal part on the car engine block. usually, there is a hooking point on the engine block and that could be the best place. Reason for this is to avoid any possible arching in Car B and to ensure a bigger ground on Car B. Myth has it that if this step wasn't done, Car A's battery might be spoilt or see shorter service life.
8. Leave the Car A running with the jumper cable attached to Car B.
9. While waiting for that few minutes, get the girl's phone number.
10. After a few minutes, get into Car B and ensure all electrical items are switched off. Remember, you want maximum power.
11. Pray.
12. If the car is manual transmission, ensure the gear is in neutral, depress the clutch (so to take away the load on the starter motor) and fire away. If the car is auto, putting it in P or N will be sufficient. Don't be silly and put in anything less than that else the car would not start.
13. If the car start you are the hero.
14. Remove the jumper cable in the reverse sequence.
15. If the car doesn't, repeat step 8 to step 12 again. Try if for a few times. If they still fail to start, you now have the option of asking her out for a coffee while you attempt to get a tow truck...or mechanic.

Jump Starting WITHOUT A Jumper Cable
If you are alone, this will be difficult but not impossible. You will however need to give her a short tutorial on what to do since you will be the only one pushing. Be prepared to sweat. And Awe.
Jump starting a car without a cable is called PUSH Starting and it only work on MANUAL TRANSMISSION CAR. Automatic tranny cars can not be push started. Don't attempt. Just call a mechanic and still be the hero.
Assuming that the road is flat and it is clear of traffic. You will be pushing and the damsel will be helming the steering IN the car. You have to give her tutorial on step 1-5 below. Chances are, you might have to do it a few times until she gets it right.
1. switch the car ignition to ON.
2. depress the clutch fully.
3. put the gear to first gear.
4. Push the car to get it moving. Once it touches about 10km/h, quickly let go of the clutch!
5. The car engine will turn and it will fire up!
6. Don't forget to get her number before she drives away with you all sweaty behind.
The best case scenario will be the road favors you and is on a downhill slope. That way, you can get into the car with her, let the car roll and repeat step 1 to 5. I would assume step 6 has been a done deal since you are in her car.
If the car is on an uphill...don't attempt -save some grace for yourself unless you bench press 150kg and squat 300kg for your gym routine work out. I suggest you get help. Though, if you want to attempt, it might be possible to push start a car on reverse gear!

After reading this - you can Do It Like A Man.


  1. Nice tips bro, I would like to share my experience of helping a chic with a BF(I assumed, maybe bro). They stopped my rig asking if I could help them to J start her car (don't remember what car model but a local make)
    Luckily I have a set of JS cable in my rig. Pass him the other end and I'll set up my end assuming he knows what to do it.

    She sat in the car, It did to start, worst, smoke start coming out from the cable connector both ends. You would not have guessed this...

    The bugger connected the cable -ve (black) on the batt +ve terminal but why would he do that? Thats becoz the cap on the +ve terminal is black. It melted my 30bucks cable and the car still stranded there. Lesson learned, do no assume or it will make an Ass out of U and Me.

  2. any jump cable selling at around RM12 in hardware shops will also do the trick. I always keep one in the boot, so far i have helped at least 3 cars in need of resuscitation :)

  3. Heckler - if that is the BF, i hope he read my blog to DO IT LIKE A MAN. LOL.

    P5 - depending on your luck. If the batt is flat out...not gonna be easy. As current is directly proprotional to the size of the cable, the reason for bigger heavy duty jumper will put at ease all possible uncertainties.

    I have seen melted (like what Heckler said) jumper as they could not deliver the current and the cable overheated.

    A car batt is rated at usually 40-55ah with specific CCA or cold cranking amp related to the battery size. if we can't deliver that much...not gonna work.

    same reason if you use a kancil to start a benz...not gonna work!