Have you ever just really had a bad day where you go out to your car and it just won't start? If you live in the Northeast this probably happens at least once a year due to the extreme cold weather. Regardless of where you live car won't start you can't get to work. You can't get to the store. So rather then sit there dead or shell out $50-$100 for a tow truck to come help you out you need to learn how to properly jumpstart your car or truck.
First you'll need another car to jumpstart your car from. Then using a pair of jumper cables and properly following the instructions that come with them you will attach the cables to your car's battery and the other car's battery. Be sure to carefully connect the positive and negative terminals to the positive and negative cables. These cables are color coded so you can easily distinguish between them. One being red the other being black. Crisscrossing these wires is very dangerous and could lead to overheating or even explosion of the batteries. This is why in any case it is essential that you wear eye protection whenever jumpstarting a car battery.
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Once the cables are properly connected and the other car is running you can then try and jumpstart your car. If at first your car doesn't start or turnover as they would say in car talk then take a look at the terminals on the battery in your car. Are the terminals corroded? Many times this is the case and corroded terminals will not only allow you to not jumpstart your car but in the future they also drain your car's battery and can cause shorts and even fires. Battery terminals are easy to clean just by using baking soda and water. The corrosion is usually caused by acid from the battery and the baking soda neutralizes this acid and that's what causes the foaming or chemical reaction you see when you add the baking soda. A wire brush is also helpful including the terminals.
After cleaning the terminals and making sure that you have properly connected the vehicles and their batteries (be sure and use and follow the directions that were included with your jumper cables) you can try and start it again. Usually this will work as long as just your battery being dead. Alternatively you can also use a battery or booster pack which are available at automotive parts stores for under $100 to jumpstart your car. With the booster or battery pack there is no need for jumper cables or another car to hook up to. Basically the booster or battery pack is another car battery pack with booster cables hooked up to it already.
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Be sure when you are finished jumpstarting your car or truck to disconnect the jumper cables (or booster cables if you used a booster box or battery pack) in the proper sequence as noted in the instructions that came with the jumper cables or battery pack. It is essential that you follow the directions to a T. because jumpstarting a battery can be very hazardous and can result in acid burns and even an explosion. So be sure and follow all the directions and especially read them through entirely before you even start.
In the wintertime especially in cold regions like the Northeast which includes New York, Vermont, Boston, Maine, etc. it is very helpful to keep a charged booster or battery pack because you never know when you'll need it. And especially if you have to get up early in the morning for work you will really appreciate having one when you need it. Another good tip is to drive your car first or as soon as possible to a local automotive parts store so they can test your battery and alternator so you can see why your battery died and fix this problem so it won't happen again. Nobody wants a repeat of a bad dead battery and possibly being stranded because of it especially in the cold winter.
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