The Right (and Wrong) Way to Jump Start a Car: 5 Things All Subaru Owners Need to Know

How to Jump Start a Car the Right Way - Service Questions Answered at Capitol Toyota

There's a right way to jump start your car if the battery dies out on you suddenly -- and there are a lot of wrong ways to do it, too. On this page, the experts at Carlsen Subaru have compiled five tips that can help you do it the right way if you've never tried jump starting a car before.

Learn how to jump start your Toyota the right way

Reading this on your phone in a parking lot and wondering where to begin? We recommend reading this article to learn about some common mistakes and pro tips for jump starting your car -- then pull up a video guide on YouTube. Or, if jump starting your car doesn't work, give us a call. The techs in our service center at Carlsen Subaru can give your vehicle's battery and charging system a closer look to identify any problems.

5. No Second Car? No Problem (If You Have a Jump Box)

You probably know that, if your car won't start and needs a jump, you can hook up your car's battery to a donor car with a working battery to get the engine to crank and turn over. But you won't always need a donor car if you have the right tools. Certain battery tenders or portable battery changers, sometimes better known as jump boxes, can store a charge that can jump start your car without the help of a second battery. Keeping a jump box handy is a good idea, in case your battery should die without any other cars around. You'll be able to quickly jump start your car just like you would normally.

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4. Don't Attach All Four Cables to All Four Battery Terminals

When attaching jumper cables, you'll want to attach both the negative and positive cables to the negative and positive terminals on the donor car's battery, respectively. However, don't attach the negative terminal to the battery receiving the jump start! If you do, once all four cables are connected, it'll complete the circuit and cause a spark. Batteries can release explosive fumes that can ignite from this spark, so take extra caution to connect the battery cables properly.

3. Look for a Designated Ground Point on Newer Cars

Continuing from our last point, some new cars have a designated place under the hood for you to attach the negative battery cable when jump starting your car. On older models, you'll just need to find a piece of bare, unpainted metal, like parts of frame rails, strut towers or cross members, to which you can attach the cable. This is the safest way to jump start a vehicle, though it can be a little counter-intuitive. Check your owner's manual to see if your car has a spot for you to hook up your battery cables for a safe jump start.

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2. Don't Attach to the Donor Car First

When attaching the jumper cables, it's smart to attach the positive cable to the positive battery terminal on the car that needs a jump first. That's because the dead battery in that vehicle has less energy, and therefore less of a chance to cause a dangerous situation if something goes wrong. If you connect to the donor car first, and then go to connect to your car, there's a greater chance of creating a dangerous spark inadvertently.

1. Don't Touch the Cable Ends Together

Once the jumper cables are hooked up to the donor car battery, letting the clamps on the other end of the cables touch each other would complete the circuit and create a spark. Sparks can be dangerous on account of all the flammable liquids and fumes that can be found under the hood of your car. So, make sure you know where the other ends of your cables are resting when you go to connect up the other side. Setting them down safely on the ground apart from each other is smart. Don't rest the battery cable clamps on the engine or on the body of the car, as metal conducts electricity a lot better than concrete or asphalt.

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  1. Carlsen Subaru

    480 Veterans Blvd
    Redwood City, CA 94063

    • Sales: (888) 520-5916

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Carlsen Subaru

480 Veterans Blvd
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  • Sales: 650-365-6390
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  • Parts: 650-365-6390
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