Hobbies Cars & Motorcycles How to Jump Start a Car Using Jumper Cables Share PINTEREST Email Print Cars & Motorcycles Cars How Tos Buying & Selling Basics Reviews Tools & Products Classic Cars Exotic Cars Corvettes Mustangs Tires & Wheels Motorcycles Used Cars SUVs Trucks ATVs & Off Road Public Transportation By Matthew Wright Matthew Wright has been a freelance writer and editor for over 10 years and an automotive repair professional for three decades specializing in European vintage vehicles. our editorial process Matthew Wright Updated December 30, 2018 Batteries go dead for all sorts of reasons, often because we leave a light on in the vehicle. In that case, a simple jump start will get you back on the road without permanent vehicle damage. It's easy to revive a dead car battery by jump starting it. 01 of 03 What You Need Whiteway/E+/Getty Images Another car, runningJumper cablesSafety glassesWire brush (optional for cleaning connections) To begin, park the running car next to the dead car so the jumper cables can reach both batteries. (Parking the cars so they face each other is the best option.) If you aren't sure where the batteries are under each hood, take a peek before you park. Important Tip: Never drive with your hood raised. Not only does it hamper visibility, but you could damage your hood components or the hood itself. 02 of 03 How to Connect the Jumper Cables to Your Battery On the dead battery, attach the positive (red) cable to the battery, but attach the negative (black) cable to a section of bare metal in the engine compartment. Even a nut or bolt end will do. Matt Wright With both cars parked next to each other, turn both keys to the "off" position. Not only will this protect your car's electrical system from any surges, it's always safer under the hood with the engine off. How to Connect Jumper Cables to a Car Locate the "+" (positive) and "-" (negative) sides of each battery. They should be clearly marked on the battery itself. On newer cars, the positive (+) side often has a red cover over the battery post and wires.Attach the red cable to the "+" side of the good batteryAttach the other end of the red cable to the "+" side of the dead batteryAttach the black cable to the "-" side of the good batteryAttach the other end of the black cable to a section of unpainted metal on the dead car. This can be as small as the head of a bolt located nearby. Important Tips: Attach the jumper cable to the most secure attachment point you can find on the car's permanent battery cables. If they are corroded, it may help to wiggle the jumper cable end around a bit while it's attached to the car's cables or battery. You might be tempted to attach it to the "-" side of the dead battery, but this isn't recommended. In the old days, batteries leaked small amounts of acid, which could turn into flammable gas around the battery. This gas could explode if the cable caused a spark just above the battery. Some people tend to clamp the negative cable onto the rubber cable covering of the positive side while they walk across to the other car. Don't do it! If one of those sharp teeth were to pierce the rubber cover and reach the wires inside, you could do serious electrical damage to one or both vehicles. 03 of 03 Starting the Car With the Dead Battery Westend61/Getty Images First, start the car with the good battery and leave it running. If the battery in the dead was was really badly drained, it may help to leave them connected for a minute with the good car running before you try to start the dead car. Turn the key in the dead car to start and it should fire right up. You can disconnect the jumper cables right away. Disconnecting the Jumper Cables Disconnecting the jumper cables doesn't need to happen in any specific order, but be sure you don't let the red and black cables touch each other at the end when they are still connected to one battery. If the dead car doesn't turn over or turns over very slowly, check to see if your battery or connections are corroded. If they are, sometimes a little wiggling while the cable clamp is connected will make your connection better. Otherwise, it might be a good time to clean your battery connections. If your car still does not start, see the no-start checklist.