Best Practices to Safely Jump Start a Car with a Dead Battery

A dead battery can never be good news. Isn’t it? But, well it does happen, all the same. It can happen with the newest of cars if you haven’t been treating your car well. It can also happen in case you have bought a used car without checking the battery. But, well, it is possible to jumpstart a dead battery.

Yes, if you have faced that kind of a trouble before, it is important that you learn how to come out of it. It can be a little difficult, especially if you have never peeped into the engine bay. This is why you must learn how to jump start a car with a dead battery safely before you actually get into the situation.

Note: But still we highly suggest you to buy the best auto battery and regularly maintain for battery to avoid this frustrating situation.

Step by Step Guide to Jump Start a Dead Battery

Before you can do it, you must know why your car battery dies out. The most common reason is leaving car lights or AC on when the car isn’t moving. However, a lot of other bad habits of drivers can kill the car battery.


First of all, make sure that you catch hold of a car that has a live battery. So, if you are stranded on a highway, you must stop another car for help. Most cars have the same battery mechanism and placement. But, you will need your car owner’s manual to make things clearer than that. So, if you have, say, a Mercedes-Benz, it may be a little different from other makes. So, do check the manual.

Park the other car close enough to your car to connect the batteries with jumper cables. However, the vehicles should NOT touch. And, you will need jumper cables, of course. Make sure you always keep a pair in the boot. Before your start the process, make sure that both the engines are off. Also, check both the batteries for any cracks or leakage. If notice this battery problem, immediately give up the endeavor. You could be in for a battery explosion if you continue. If all is well, use the metal struts to keep the hoods open and find the positive and negative terminals of both the batteries. Look for any accumulation or corrosion, and brush off if any.

Now, let’s begin!

Connect the Jumper Cables

Never drive Dead battery car
Some tips to save your car from dead battery (photo source: Whiteway/E+/Getty Images)

You CAN NOT goof up with this. Usually, red or +ve sign is positive terminal; black or –ve sign is negative, but please, DO READ. Take the positive cable and connect each of its ends to the positive terminals of both the batteries. Now, take the negative jumper cable and connect one end to the negative terminal of good battery. The loose negative end of the cable then goes to any shiny (unpainted) part of the dead car’s engine (for earthing).

*Ensure that no two ends come in contact.

Time to Fire it Up!

Get in your car and ask the other person to get into the good car. Now, both of you make sure that everything is off and no appliances are connected. Now, let’s start the working engine and let it work for a few minutes.

Try starting the engine of the car with the dead battery. If there is a click or it sounds as if the battery is almost there but not quite, wait another few minutes. As for the good car, rev the engine few times, but only moderately. Try turning the dead car engine on again.

You are most likely to get it this time. If you still see no success, try unclamping, exchanging the negative ends of the cable and adjusting the cables again. It should work.

If it doesn’t, the problem could be something worse. Don’t try any further. You will need to call in for towing.

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Taking the Cables Off

Dont drive Dead battery car
Dead battery car causes accidents (photo source: Thxsiempre)

If you do see success, don’t stop the engine of the car you just jump started, for a few minutes. Then shut off.

You must take the cables off in the exact reverse order as you connected them.

  • Step 1: Take off the negative cable first from the engine end, then from the good battery’s negative end.
  • Step 2: Take of the positive cable first from the good battery, then from the car you just jump-started.

Now try to start it again. Good if it does. But if it doesn’t, repeat the entire process. You must do it, so that the battery doesn’t die again when you brake.

For a visual guide, you could take a look at the below video:

To avoid getting stuck with a dead battery makes sure that you follow proper tips to care of your car.