You are ready to be on your way. You are dressed, everything is well packed in the trunk and you’ve said your goodbyes to the wife, the kids, and the dog. As they all stand to wait for you to drive off, you start the car or try to start it and the sound it makes as it struggles to start sounds like it is laughing at you.

Worse still, rather than making any sound at all, all you hear is a click whenever you turn the ignition. It appears you have a dead battery or one with a really low charge. This can be caused by a number of things including leaving a light on for a long time, wires that have come loose, etc.

Your concern right now is not what caused it but how to get the car started so you can get on your way. You, of course, know you should ultimately find the cause and fix it, right? Good! In the meantime, we will show you how to jump-start your car so you can get started on your journey.

Considering that the circumstance you are in may be different from that of another, we shall look at three ways you can jumpstart your car. One of these three should be able to help you solve the problem in your peculiar circumstance.

Make Sure It Is a Battery Problem

Before we begin to show you how to jumpstart your car, it is important that you take a little while to check so you can be sure that the problem you are experiencing is actually a battery related one. This is important because if it is not a battery problem, jumpstarting won’t help.

To do this, take the following steps:

  • Put on the car lights. This will include the headlights and the interior lights. Check for their intensity level. If you’re having a battery issue, then the lights will be dim. If you’re not having a low battery problem, then the lights will be full, meaning that a jumpstart won’t help. Note that you may need to turn the key once (without making any attempt to start the engine) to enable the lights to come on.
  • Next, see what happens on your car’s dashboard when you turn the ignition key. Does the dashboard light up as usual or does it light up a bit or not at all? If your car’s dashboard does not light up at all, what you have may not be a battery problem but an ignition one. If however, the dashboard lights up slightly, then you may have a low battery.
  • Lastly, attempt starting the car. Take note of what happens when you do. There are three possible outcomes. One, the engine could roll slowly as if laboring. Two, the engine may not roll at all and three; the engine may roll very normally. If it rolls normally without starting, then you do not have a battery problem. If however it rolls slowly or does not roll at all, then you may actually have a battery problem that a jumpstart can fix.

Now with these out of the way, you can decide if it is right to go ahead with jumpstarting or if you should contact your local repair shop. Now to the jumpstarting methods we promised.

Using a Jumper Cable

This is a method that a lot of people know of. You will usually find a number of drivers with jumper cables in their trunks. By the way, this is a good habit that you should imbibe. This method requires that you have another vehicle (working vehicle) or a well-charged battery around.

If you are jumpstarting with a second car, park the working vehicle in front of the car that needs to be jumpstarted. You want to have as little a distance as possible between the two.

Next, locate the batteries (on each of the cars) and get your jumper cable ready. The battery terminals will be labeled + (for positive) and – (for negative) while your jump cable will have a black and redhead on both ends. The black is negative while the red is positive.

Ensure both cars are turned off before connecting the cables. Of course, one car is already off so your concern should be the working vehicle. Connect the red end of the jumper cable to the end with the plus sign (positive terminal) of your car’s battery and then connect the black end to an unpainted metal part close to the battery. Note that you are not to attach the black end (or negative end) of your jump cable to your (dead) battery’s negative terminal.

Go over to the working vehicle but this time; attach both ends (red and black) to the negative and positive terminals of the battery in the working vehicle (red to the positive terminal and black to the negative terminal). Ensure that the terminals are firmly in place and tight.

Next, you can try starting your car immediately if you are sure the battery in the working vehicle is well charged. If your car does not turn as well as it should, start the other car and let it run for a while. When you are ready to attempt to start your car again, you can have someone step slightly on the gas pedal of the working vehicle. This will release more power to the battery which can help your car start faster.

Note, however, that most modern cars are computer based and may be harmed if left running during a jumpstarting process. It may be better to allow the working vehicle run for a while to energize the battery and then have it turned off before jumpstarting

Once your car starts, let it keep running as you disconnect the jumper cables. Be sure not to allow any of the ends touch as you disconnect them from the battery terminals. If for some reason your car still does not start, do not keep attempting indefinitely as this could drain the other battery too.

This is one way and you can also use another fully charged battery in place of another car.

Using a Booster Pack

Also known as a jumper pack, this device acts much like you are using a second battery to jumpstart your car. It follows the same process as described above. You connect the jumper pack the same way you connect a jumper cable. All you need to do is always check to ensure it is well charged.

Jumpstarting Without Another Car, Battery or Jumper Pack

This is a method that will only work on cars that have a manual transmission so if your car has an automatic transmission; go back to options A and B above.

To get started with this method, you will either need to have someone or some persons around to help you push the vehicle or you may be lucky to have it parked on a downward slope so it can roll down on its own.

First, put the ignition on (not start the car. Switch it to the first position that turns the engine on). Next, put the car in gear 2 and then step down on the clutch, keeping it down and release the brakes.

At this point, have your helpers push the car or have the car roll down the slope. When you feel the car has reached about 8 Km per hour or about 5 miles per hour, quickly release the clutch and the car should start.

If the car does not start, ensure it is going fast enough and try again. This procedure can be done while in a forward or reverse motion. It’s a bit more difficult doing this in reverse because then you will also be concerned with stirring the wheels.


You should be able to start your car using one of the methods described above. If for some reasons none of the methods work, then it is likely you do not have a battery problem and should immediately contact your repair shop.

Billy Miller
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