How to Jump-Start a Car

A helpful step-by-step guide in a stressful situation.

How to Jump-Start a Car

in Eugene, OR

When you’re in a rush, the last thing you want is a dead car battery. It’s frustrating to be stranded, whether you’re on the side of the road or in your own driveway. The most common causes of a dead car battery include lights that were left on, extreme temperatures and undiagnosed vehicle issues. If you’re currently dealing with this annoyance, or if you want to be ready for the next time your battery dies, keep reading to find our step-by-step guide to jump-starting a car. With jumper cables, a friend or family member with a working car and some know-how, you can get your car running again in no time. Have any questions? Contact the service team here at Volvo Cars Eugene and they’ll be happy to help.

What to Do Before You Jump-Start Your Car

Before jump-starting, double check:
  • Your battery. It’s dangerous to jump-start a battery that is leaking, damaged, frozen or corroded. If you suspect that your battery is damaged, don’t try to jump-start it — call a professional instead (like the service techs at our dealership).
  • For metal objects and open flames. Check to make sure that any tools, phones, watches, jewelry or cigarettes are far away from the battery in question. The goal is to keep the sparks inside the engine, not outside where they can hurt you.
  • Your key. Remove it from the ignition and put it in a safe place.
  • Your owner’s manual. Check for any jump-starting tips specific to your model.
  • The battery voltage. Most cars used 12-volt batteries, but some use six-volt batteries. Never jump-start a car by connecting to another vehicle with a lower voltage battery.

What to Do Next

When you’re ready to jump-start your car, follow these tips:
  1. Park the car belonging to your friend or family member — which we’ll call the donor car — next to your vehicle. Put both models in park or neutral, turn them off and activate both parking brakes. Make sure the vehicles aren’t touching.
  2. Grab your jumper cables. You should see four alligator clips on the cables (two on each end). Red clips are positive, black clips are negative. Connect the clips to the cars in the following order:
  1. RED to DEAD: Connect one of the red clips to the positive (+) terminal on your dead battery.
  2. RED to DONOR: Connect the other red clip to the positive (+) terminal on the donor vehicle’s battery.
  3. BLACK to DONOR: On the SAME CAR (donor vehicle), connect one of the black clips to the negative (-) terminal on the donor vehicle’s battery.
  4. BLACK to METAL: Now, back to the dead battery. Connect the other black clip to bare metal that is not next to the battery. This can be an unpainted metal bolt or bracket.
  1. Start the donor car and let it run for one to two minutes.
  2. Try to start the car with the dead battery.
  1. If the car starts, keep it running for one or two minutes. Power will flow from the donor battery into your car’s battery, charging it up.
  2. If your car still won’t start, wait a little longer before trying to start it again. If you’re unsuccessful after a few tries, there may be a bigger problem that will need professional attention. Click the button below to schedule a service appointment with our team.
  1. Without turning your car off, remove the cables in reverse order from how you put them on.
  2. Drive your vehicle for 30 minutes. This will help the battery retain the charge so it can start up properly next time.

If your car battery dies often, you may need a replacement. You can either order a new battery with our online form and install it yourself, or you can let our technicians take care of it for you. By scheduling service with us, you save yourself the hassle of both the installation and the task of disposing of your car’s old battery. Make your appointment online today!

If you have any questions about jump-starting a car, what battery is right for your Volvo or anything else, we’ll be happy to help. Contact us online or stop by Volvo Cars Eugene at 89320 N Game Farm Rd, Eugene, OR 97408. We’re located near Roseburg, Springfield, Coos Bay and Florence.