How to charge a dead car battery

Boosting, or car jumping a dead car battery.
Boosting, or car jumping a dead car battery.

Please, be prepared for the worst

Everyone tells us how important it is to be ready to what's ahead of us. This is perhaps the most important thing when you drive a car. It's better to be ready for the unusual when it happens then not to be ready and assume the consequences after.

These days, many people go shopping or go to work and when they come back and turn the car key nothing happens. They either left the radio or the lights on and the battery energy is drained. Some insurance companies offer towing services and they can boost your battery for free. But other people call a friend or a parent to come help them.

There is a proper way to boost a battery and it can be hazardous if it's not done properly. I will demonstrate you the safest way to do it here.

Jump starting a car might be hazardous to you
Jump starting a car might be hazardous to you

1. Jumper cables

Make sure the cables you use are in good shape. If they are damaged you should replace them with new ones. Remember, safety is the top priority here. Not using proper cables might create a spark and provoke a battery explosion. You can buy new ones at a decent price. Most of them cost around 30$ and can do a proper job. If you don't have any, try buying long cables so that it is easier to connect them to the batteries.

2. Position of the cars

The most important thing is to have the cars as close as possible from each other. They can either be placed front bumper to front bumper or side to side. This way it will be easier to join the cables from one car to the other. The most important thing is that they should not be touching each other, not even the bumpers.

Always follow this order when car jumping a dead battery
Always follow this order when car jumping a dead battery

3. Placing the cables

First of all, make sure both car engines are not running. Have one person holding two clamps on one hand and the other holding the other two for the other battery. It is advised to do this with someone because if cable clamps touch each other they can create a spark and the battery can explode. Then, follow this order on how to place the cables. It is very important to follow this order, you might harm yourself if it's not done properly.

  • Place the red clamp on the positive post of the dead battery
  • Place the other red clamp on the positive post of the good battery
  • Place the black clamp on the negative post of the good battery.
  • Place the black clamp on a metal sheet of the frame on the car who has the dead battery. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP. Doing this will act like a ground in the battery circuit and will prevent any short circuit. A lot of people connect this clamp to the battery and it's dangerous. The battery can explode on your face, which is not a fun thing. Receiving acid in your eyeballs is never a great experience.

4. Give it a try!

Now that you've correctly placed the cables, you are ready to boost the battery. Start the engine of the good car and let the engine idle for 2-3 minutes. Start the engine of the car with the dead battery. It should starts wonderfully, if done properly. If it does not start, let the engine of the good car idle for a couple of minutes and give it another try. If it still does not start, chances are it's not the battery that is defective. Maybe perhaps the starter or the battery does not retain it's charge anymore (more common on old cars with old batteries that have been used for over ten years). You will have to replace it with a new one.

If there is corrosion on the posts of the battery, it might prevent a proper connection to the battery and it will not work at its full capacity. A safe and effective way to clean it is by pouring boiling water on the posts. It will instantly dissolve the acid and it will disappear. **Always wear protection glasses when doing this, just in case if anything happens**. There are several other ways to clean them but this is the method I use and it works quite well.

I hope I was able to teach you the basics of boosting a dead battery. From now on, if you get stuck somewhere and you have to boost your battery, please try to remember these four easy steps and you will have no worries of...well having to deal with an explosion.

More by this Author


Comments 4 comments

YogaKat profile image

YogaKat 4 years ago from Oahu Hawaii

Being dumb as a door knob when it comes to cars, I appreciate simple how - tos like this one. The fellow who helped me charge my battery yesterday . . . put BOTH black clamps on BOTH black battery knobs (dead battery and live battery). Something rang in my head when he did this and I did say something . . . but he said NO this is the right way. Itʻs a good thing we did not blow up:) Maybe I am not quite as dumb as a door knob.


The Reminder profile image

The Reminder 4 years ago from Canada Author

YogaKat: Most people don't know that they have to ground the boosting circuit. It's like any other electric component; there's always a ground. You don't have to feel as dumb as a door knob for that!

Thanks for reading my hub!


CZCZCZ profile image

CZCZCZ 4 years ago from Oregon

Simple and easy directions. This is a skill that everyone should have to be able to check a battery and make sure that they can get a jump or swap out a new battery if needed to get back on the road.


The Reminder profile image

The Reminder 4 years ago from Canada Author

CZCZCZ: It doesn't get any harder than this. Thanks for reading!

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working