A jump starter is a portable battery device that allows you to jump start a vehicle. In this Toolstop guide, we show you exactly how to use one.
What is a Jump Starter and how do I use one?
There is nothing worse than being stuck in the middle of nowhere with a flat car battery, and no one there to help. Luckily, this can be a thing of the past with a vehicle jump starter. In this Toolstop blog, we'll explain what a jump starter is and how to use one.
What is a Jump Starter?
A jump starter is a portable battery device that allows you to jump start a vehicle. It outputs a large amount of power in a short period of time, sending a very strong impulse via the alligator clips to kick-start a dead car battery.
When Would you Jump Start a Vehicle?
Jump starting is needed to power up your vehicle when the battery has run flat. With a flat car battery, the engine won't start.
The main way of knowing that you have a dead car battery is simply if your car won't start. However, there are a few indicators as to how you can tell if it may be running flat. These include:
- Dim headlights
- Clicking sound when you turn the key
- Slow crank
If your car battery is failing, it won't have the power to fully power your vehicle's electrical components.
Traditionally, a discharged car battery had to be boosted with booster cables and the help of another vehicle. A vehicle with a charged battery would transfer power to the dead vehicle via jump leads. As much as this method works, and is still widely used today, it is not entirely convenient as it requires the use of another vehicle, human and cables, which may not always be readily available.
Portable jump starters work similarly to jump leads only do not require the use of another vehicle or person. This makes them extremely practical for one man, remote use. They work by transferring power directly from the portable battery to a vehicle's discharged battery.
Jump starters don't charge your battery, but instead provide the necessary power to crank the engine and start the vehicle. Once the engine is on, the alternator will charge the battery.
The biggest advantage of portable jump starters is that they do not require the assistance of another vehicle or person. A jump starter transfers power directly from the portable battery to the vehicles battery.
How to use a Car Jump Starter
Jump starters will come with a red lead and a black lead. Red goes to +, black goes to -
How to use:
- Turn the car off and remove the keys from the ignition
- Connect the RED positive cable to the positive terminal on the battery
- Connect the BLACK negative cable to the engine block or a non-conductive piece of metal in your car
- Once your cable clamps are in the right place, you can turn on your portable jump starter. Do not turn on your car’s ignition yet
- After a few minutes have passed and you have allowed the jump starter to promote the flow of electricity from the device into the battery of your car, you can attempt to start the engine
Assuming all goes well and your vehicle is now running, you can turn off the jump starter, disconnect the negative and positive cables and secure them to the jump box.
Please note, the steps above demonstrate how most car jump starters will work. Please always read the manufacturers manual for your specific model and take safety precautions into consideration before attempting to jump start your vehicle.
Benefits of Portable Jump Starters
Portable power packs are an extremly useful piece of equipment that any road user will benefit from owning. They help save you time, money and effort should you ever have to use one.
- Jump start your car anywhere, any time
- No need for 2 vehicles or people
- Fast and easy
- Back on the road in no time
Some tips to consider when using or buying your portable jump starter:
- Charge your portable jump starter after each use, or alternatively every 6 months. Jump starters may lose their charge if left in the car during hot and cold weather, so we recommend keeping on top of charging them in case of the event that you need to use it
- Different types of vehicles will require different jump starters due to their different battery sizes and voltages. Always check that the product you're purchasing will work with your vehicle make and model
- To avoid dead batteries in the future, turn off your headlights while the car isnt running, increase your driving time and do a visual check for corrosion when you next lift your bonnet
- Always look up your battery charger’s voltage in the owner’s manual to make sure it matches the jump starter’s output voltage
- Never connect the red and black (positive and negative) clamps to each other
- Make sure that there are no liquids or flammable items nearby when jump starting your vehicle
- To identify the positive terminal on your car battery, look for “P,” “POS,” or a “+” symbol, and for the negative terminal, look for the “N,” “NEG,” or “-“ symbol
Jump start your vehicle safely and in no time with our top tips and tricks! Send this article to a friend you think would benefit from knowing this information.