By See Jane Drill


jumper cables in hand Objective

Learn to use jumper cables safely and effectively.

 Tools & Equipment

Set of Jumper Cables, also sometimes called Booster Cables, at least 16 feet in length

Special Requirements

A vehicle with a functioning battery to use to jump the dead battery with the jumper cables

Steps to Use Jumper Cables

Warning Note:  Some vehicles can be damaged by the use of jumper cables.  Consult your owner’s manual.

  1.  Make sure that both cars have the ignition turned off.  Automatic cars should be in “Park”, and cars with a manual transmission should be in neutral, with the emergency brake on
  2. Identify the positive terminal of the dead battery.  It will be marked with a plus sign, and/or have a red wire or it may have a red sheathing over it.  Note From this point on, you want to be absolutely sure that the metal parts of the jumper cable clips do not touch each other.
  1. Attach the first red clip to the positive terminal of the dead battery.
  2. Next, bring the other end of the cables to the assisting vehicle, and attach the other red clip to the positive terminal of the good battery.
  3. Remaining at the assisting vehicle, attach the black clip to the negative terminal of the good battery.  The negative terminal will be identified by a “minus” sign, and/or a black wire or sheath.
  4. Next, go back to the car with the dead battery and this time you will attach the remaining black clip to a piece of uncoated metal underneath the hood.  This metal should be away from the battery and from any moving parts.  You can use the engine block or one of the metal struts that holds the hood open.jumper cables negative 2
  1. Double-check all your connections to be sure they are correct and are secure.
  2.  Start up the assisting vehicle and let it run for a couple of minutes.
  3.  Now the moment of truth: Start the car with the dead battery.  It should start right up! (If the car won’t start at this point, it may mean that the battery is beyond repair.)
  4. To finish up, remove the cables in reverse order, starting with the black cable that is attached to the metal under the hood.


And that’s it!  You just jump-started your car battery.  For more information or to view the accompanying video to this how-to guide, visit