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How to Safely Jump Start a Car Battery

People are often in a rush when they must jump-start the battery on their car.

They sometimes forget that batteries produce explosive gases. Battery acid, when blown into the eyes, can cause permanent damage and even blindness.

You should always consult the owner’s manual for instructions before jump-starting the battery on a car.

Following these additional safety precautions will reduce the 6,000 eye injuries caused by battery accidents each year:

  • Always wear eye protection.
  • Keep sparks, flames and cigarettes away from the battery.
  • Don’t lean over the battery during jump-starting.
  • Be sure the vent caps on the battery are tight and level.
  • If available, place a damp cloth over the vent caps.
  • Make sure the cars are not touching.
  • Be sure both cars’ electrical systems are the same voltage.
  • Don’t jump start a car if the fluid is frozen.

Accidents which occur while jump-starting a car battery are sometimes covered under auto insurance policies. Other types of battery accidents may be covered under homeowners’ insurance policies.

When jump-starting your car, the National Society to Prevent Blindness suggested that you attach the jumper cables in the following order:

  1. Begin by clamping one jumper cable to the positive terminal of the dead battery that is wired to the solenoid or starter. Make certain that the positive cable clamps do not touch any metal except the battery terminals.
  2. Next, connect the other end of the positive cable to the positive terminal of the functioning battery.
  3. Connect the end of the second cable to the negative terminal of the functioning battery.
  4. Make the last connection of the second cable located on the engine block of the engine that is stalled, not the negative post, away from the carburetor, battery, tubing, moving parts, and fuel line.
  5. Stand away from both vehicles. Start the vehicle with the functioning battery first and then start the disabled vehicle.
  6. Remove the cables in the reverse order in which the connections were made. First, remove the cable from the metallic ground or the engine block.

Learn more about jump starting your car battery. Receive a free copy of Prevent Blindness America’s Battery Jump Start sticker.

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