Saturday, February 21, 2009

Jumper Cable Safety

You have a dead battery and need a jump start. There is the right way and the wrong way to accomplish a jump start safely. 
Because of the potentially severe hazards due to improper use of jumper cables it must be done correctly. Auto batteries contain Sulphuric Acid which can blind you, or at the very least burn your skin. Also auto batteries vent off Hydrogen Gas which is highly explosive even from the slightest spark. Because of this danger it is critical to attach the jumper cables in a precise sequence. 
1. Park the vehicle with the GOOD battery close to the vehicle with the BAD battery but do not let the vehicle touch each other. Make sure the cables are not routed so as to touch any moving parts, such as a fan blade.
2. Attach the jumper cable Positive + terminal to the GOOD battery Positive + terminal.
3. Attach the other end of the jumper cable Positive + terminal to the BAD battery Positive + terminal.
4. Attach the Negative - jumper cable terminal to the GOOD battery Negative - terminal.
5. Attach the last jumper cable Negative - terminal to a heavy metal ground part of the engine and NOT to the dead battery Negative - terminal. Reason being this last connection will cause a spark, and you do not want a spark next to the battery where it could ignite the Hydrogen. 
6. If the engine of the donor vehicle with the good battery was not left running, start the engine and let it run for 2-3 minutes to put a charge in the bad battery.
7. Start the vehicle with the BAD battery and then remove the jumper cables from the batteries in the exact opposite order you installed them. 

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Mayfield, Ky, United States
Retired and have been working on automobiles for over 50 years. I have learned that the best way to care for your car is to DIY. I personally do not trust the kid working at Spiffy Lube to change my oil. If, I want it done right I do it myself. Automobiles today are very complex but some things you can still do yourself. I have years of experience working on all kinds of vehicles and want to pass along what I have learned to those wishing to DIY.