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How to jump-start a car

A step-by-step guide to jump-starting a car battery.


See transcript for description of the infographic.

If your vehicle’s battery dies, it can be handy to know how to jump-start a car so you’re prepared to get it going again.

NOTE: Consult your owner’s manual first, as it has the best information for your specific vehicle.

In absence of your owner’s manual …

Grab the clean, corrosion-free jumper cables you keep in your vehicle. Or ask a fellow motorist for a pair.

Pull the working vehicle close to, but not touching, the stalled one. Turn off ignitions in both cars.

Put both vehicles in park or neutral.

  • Engage emergency parking brakes.
  • Pop hoods. Put on safety glasses.
  • Remove any terminal covers.
  • Wipe or wire-brush dirty terminals.

Be careful!

  • Don’t jump a leaky or frozen battery.
  • Don’t let cable clamps touch.
  • Don’t reverse the polarity (connecting positive + to negative -) or damage may occur.
  1. Begin at the dead battery. Attach a red clamp to the positive + terminal.
  2. Next, move to the working battery.
    • Attach the other red clamp to the positive + terminal.
    • Attach the black clamp to the negative - terminal.
  3. Attach the last black clamp to an unpainted metal surface on the stalled car.
    • Preferably the engine block, cylinder head or other chassis ground.
  4. Start the working vehicle. Let the engine run a few minutes.
  5. Try to start the dead vehicle.
If it works …
  • Disconnect cables in reverse order.
  • DO NOT shut the engine off. Let it run for about 15 minutes to recharge the battery.

Still dead?

  • Recheck clamp connections.
  • Run working vehicle again.
  • Try to start it again.

Still nothing?

That’s where State Farm® Emergency Road Service coverage comes in handy.


Select a product to start a quote.




844-373-0003

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