Jump Starting your Vehicle Engine

Jump Starting Guides

We found these great guides around the internet that have the Mechanics Central stamp of approval.  In addition to these resources, please don't forgot to go through our uncommon wisdom section at the bottom of the page.  

AOL Autos - Jump Start Guide

One of just a few of the great guides out there on there internet.  Don't forget to read our tips..

DrivingTips.Org - Safety Guide

This article emphasizes on the safety precautions you should take when jump starting a vehicle. Definitely a good read..

How to Jump Start a Car

The Art of Manliness has written a great guide that includes a section on jumping a vehicle with a manual transmission without any cables.  A definite must know for standard transmission drivers!

Uncommon Wisdom for Jump Starting Issues

Sometimes we see vehicles that only need a jump start, even after the vehicle has already been attempted to have a jump start.  In a situation like this, all we really needed was a jump start, but just done properly. If you are having problems with a jump start, trying these tips first before seeking an auto repair professional


Although we can use smaller jumper cables, they will not transfer a large amount of power, usually needing to be used more for 'charging' and not jumping.

A common issue is using jump cables that are too small.  It really does matter.  Although we can use smaller jumper cables, they will not transfer a large amount of power, usually needing to be used more for 'charging' and not jumping.  If this is all you have, we recommend letting the assistance vehicle charge the other vehicle for a good 10-15 minutes before attempting to start.  Once you have somewhat of a charge on the original battery, the combination of the transfer through the cables and what the battery picked up is usually enough to get it up and going.  If you can, seek for some larger cables when possible.

Bad connections can be a culprit when we fail to jump start.  Make sure the surface of all your connections are clean.  On rare occasions, a wire brush is needed to help make a more raw surface that electricity to pass through.  If you can't get a wire brush to use, using the teeth on the cables to dig into the metal contact surface will also help.  A slight spark is a sign that you are forming a good connection.  Turn the headlights on the vehicle with the dead battery to help gauge a good connection.  The brighter the lights get, the better connection you have.  Make sure you turn the lights back off when attempting to jump start.  Also, make sure all other power components are off (such as A/C, stereo, and other lights).  You want as much power as possible going to the starter motor.

Try using an engine ground instead of negative battery terminals.  The starter motor grounds through the engine block anyway, so sometimes finding a more direct ground helps insure we get a better circuit of power to the starter motor.  Another good tip when still having trouble is to use 2 sets of cables.  Have one set use the negatives on engine grounds, and the other set to use the negatives on the battery terminals.  This will help bypass a ground issue if that is the original cause of the problem in the first place.   Just remember to be VERY careful to not cross the wires.  Use caution when attempting this method.  We hope this helps. Thanks for reading.