How to Jump Start a Car

Do you know the proper technique for jump starting a car with a flat battery? Maybe you do, or maybe you think you do. Either way it can't hurt to read this so that there isn't any doubt.

First, I'd like to dispel a commonly held misconception that connecting a healthy battery to a flat battery can damage the good battery, or the car that it is in.

This is not true. If you do it right it will not cause any harm at all.

The other common misconception is that you need to connect the negative terminals first. This is also bogus. In fact, you connect the positive terminals first!

So, without further ado, here is the correct procedure to starting a car with a flat battery.

You will need:

  • A car with a healthy battery
  • A car with a flat battery
  • A set of jump leads/cables


  1. Park the cars next to each other so that the jump leads will be able to reach between the batteries.
  2. Turn off the engine of the car with the healthy battery.
  3. Clip the red cable to the positive terminals (the ones with '+' on them) of each battery.
  4. Clip the black cable to the negative terminal of the live battery ONLY.
  5. DO NOT attach the other side to the dead battery. Instead connect it to a metal part of the dead car that is in contact with the engine.
  6. Start the car with the healthy battery, and leave it running for a while. If you can afford it, wait for 10 minutes.
  7. Start the dead car.
  8. Remove the cables in reverse. Be careful not to allow the clips to touch each other or the car until you have safely removed them from both cars.

And that's it. If you follow this guide you should have no problems at all.

I know many people might be wondering why I'd feel the need to write a guide like this. Well, amazingly I've recently become aware that many people don't know how to do this properly. Hopefully this guide will be of use to someone.

(Disclamer: While endeavours to ensure that the information supplied on this website is suitable, accurate and complete, no warranty is given that the material located on this website, or on any other website referred to on this website, is free from error or omission.)