Women Drivers Blog

Safety Rules for Using Jumper Cables

January 8, 2015 / 

Drivers who often try to fix small breakdowns such as a dead battery or a punctured tire can be amateur technicians. And sometimes, when making these attempts, they can forget to take care of the safety precautions that are observed by the professionals and consequently, either accidentally harm themselves or end up damaging the vehicle.

In this article, we outline the most important safety rules that should be followed when using jumper cables to jump-start a car. But that, however, let’s first understand what jumper cables are and how they work.

How jumper cables work?

Jumper cables are a set of two long, insulated cables, with large crocodile clips at their ends. One of the ends of the red colored cable is connected to the positive terminal of the dead battery, and the other end to the positive terminal of the booster car. Similarly, one end of the other cable, the black one, is connected to the negative terminal of the booster car, and the other end to a spare metal part of the dead car’s engine.

Next, the booster car’s engine is started first, following by the dead car’s. The two engines are left running for at least ten minutes. Then the cables are removed and the dead car is started again. If all went well, the battery should now be active.

Did You Know?

Dead batteries are one of the most common reasons for a vehicle breakdown in the United States.

Safety tips for using jumper cables

  • Be very careful when connecting the wires – red to the positive terminals and black to the negative one.
  • During this entire process of jump-starting the vehicle, keep metal objects, such as watches or rings, away from the top of the car.
  • One should not attempt to jumpstart leaked or damaged batteries. This could result in an explosion.
  • Avoid smoking or any other naked flame as the batteries have sulfuric acid that releases highly flammable gases that could cause a blast.
  • Jumper cables should be in good condition, that is, rust-free and no exposed wires.
  • Never jumpstart a car with a battery that has frozen fluids.
  • Make sure all the electrical accessories, especially the lights of the car, are switched off.

Apart from this, if a car’s battery is three or more years old, have it checked at the dealership at least 2-3 times a year and avoid battery-related car problems.