How to Jumpstart a Car | Scott's Fort Collins Auto

How to Jumpstart a Car

How to Buy the Right Kind of Tires
August 17, 2016
5 Tips for Taking Care of Your Tires
August 30, 2016
Show all

If you attempt to start your car but all you get are strange clicking noises, the battery is probably dead. Fortunately, with these tips to jumpstart a car, you won’t be left stranded – even if you don’t have jumper cables with you.

Jumpstart a Car with Cables

How to Jumpstart a CarThe traditional scenario involves using cables and a working car to jumpstart the engine so the battery can recharge. If you have these ideal conditions to work with, here’s how to jumpstart a car:

  • Park the good car as close as possible to the one with the dead battery.
  • Attach the red cable to the good car’s positive battery terminal.
  • Attach the other red cable to the bad car’s positive battery terminal.
  • Attach the black cable to the good car’s negative battery terminal.
  • To ground the car, attach the other black cable to a solid, unpainted metal surface of the bad car, such as a bolt in the engine block. Avoid any moving parts.
  • Start the good car and wait for two minutes.
  • The dead car battery should have enough charge now to start the car. Do this and wait another two minutes.
  • Remove the cables in the reverse order in which you attached them – black cable in the bad car, black cable in the good car, red cable in the bad car, red cable in the good car.
  • Let your car run for two more minutes. Thank the Good Samaritan who helped out and be on your way.
  • Drive the long way home so the newly resurrected battery has about 30 minutes to recharge before you turn off the car.


If the dead battery won’t start, the battery terminals could be corroded. To make sure the metal clamps touch the metal terminal, grind the clamps back and forth to eat through the corrosion just enough to make contact.

Your battery might also be old. If worse comes to worse, you can call a tow truck to take you and your car to Scott’s Fort Collins Auto & Repair. There, we can replace your car battery – and diagnose anything else preventing your car from starting – to help prevent future headaches.

Jumpstart a Car without Cables

It’s always wise to keep jumper cables in your trunk, since it’s obviously easier to jumpstart a car this way. However, even if you’re caught in the middle of nowhere with a dead battery and no cables, you can still get the car started. Follow these steps if you drive a car with a manual transmission:

  • Roll the car forward. Unless you’re at the top of a hill, you need a few people to help push so you can sit in the driver’s seat and start the engine. Release the handbrake and footbrake and push in the clutch to get the car rolling.
  • Once you hit about 5 miles per hour, turn the key in the ignition. Be sure to keep the clutch pedal pushed down.
  • For extra oomph, try turning the key while releasing the clutch and stepping on the accelerator. Give it lots of gas and put the car in second gear for the best results.

Popular belief dictates that automatic cars can’t be jumped without cables. This isn’t true! Just follow these steps to jump a car with an automatic transmission:

  • Roll the car forward using the same principles as a manual car and put the car in second gear.
  • Once you reach 5 miles per hour, turn the key in the ignition.
  • For added power, keep the car in second gear and step on the accelerator while turning the key.

For more useful car tips, or to call for a tow truck, please call Scott’s Fort Collins Auto & Repair at (970) 682-4202. You can also have your battery tested for free so you can preemptively replace it and prevent being stranded with a dead battery. Stop by anytime or schedule an appointment online today.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


We Service All
Makes & Models

Our highly skilled ASE certified technicians offer comprehensive knowledge and experience.

Book an Appointment