general image

How to Jump Start a Car

Author of the article

By Saoirse McClure Fisher

calendar 07-06-2021 tag MAINTENANCE clock 5 min read

Oh dear, what can the matter be?... My car has got a flat battery! While a dead battery isn’t something to sing about, it is pretty easy to rectify provided you’ve got a few essentials and a little bit of know-how. While we can’t provide jumper cables, what we can do is give you the knowledge. Here’s our guide on how to jump start a car….

Essential Knowledge | How to Jump Start a Car

Well, the first port of call is deciding if your battery is actually flat. Here are some of the obvious signs that you have a flat battery, all of these systems run on electricity provided by the battery:

  • The wipers
  • The windows
  • The stereo
  • The lights
  • The ignition!

That’s right,the ignition! If the car refuses to turn over or the starter sounds like it is labouring, there is a good chance that you have a flat battery. The downside is that the battery is charged by the engine alternator. If you can’t start the engine in the first place, then you can’t charge the battery.

That leaves us in a bit of a dilemma… Or does it?

Well, no, as long as you know how to jumpstart the car, you can get the engine going, which will gradually replenish the battery. Here’s a guide about how to jumpstart your car.

You will need: -

  • Another car
  • Jump leads
  • This guide…

Here’s what you do:

  1. Position your vehicles. This step aims to allow you to easily access your (dead) battery and easily hook it up to the live battery. Be aware that different vehicle models have their battery connectors in different places, such as in the footwell, in the boot, or under the seat.

Top tip: Have a quick check before your position your cars

  1. You’ll have two different colour jump leads. The red is for the positive connection, the black is for the negative terminal. Most modern cars have colour coded battery terminal caps, but if not, you can tell which by the ‘+’ and ‘-“ symbol on the battery.

Top tip: Check the terminals before you connect any wires.

  1. Remove metal objects and Jewellery. A car battery holds a fair bit of charge, and if it makes a connection, you had better believe that current will flow through your watch or necklace, and a nasty shock isn’t pleasant… Ask us how we know.

Top tip: Remove Jewellery (we’ve told you twice now)

  1. Connect the positive cable to the correct terminal on the live battery. And then connect the other end to the positive terminal on the dead battery. Then connect the negative lead to the negative terminal on the live battery before finally attaching it to the negative terminal on the dead battery

Top tip: Don’t leave the cable loose. Work methodically and ensure all cables are attached before attaching another cable. Why? Because if you have loose ends and they touch, you will short out the live battery.

  1. Start the engine of the car with the live battery. This will ensure that the battery stays full and the circuit is energized. Wait for 5 minutes and then give the car with the dead battery a go. You should find that it starts first time.

Top tip: If your car doesn’t start, wait a little longer. Don’t try and keep turning it over. It will just flatten the battery further.

  1. Take the car (with the formerly dead battery) for a spin As you drive, the alternator will charge the battery.

Top tip: Drive for at least 15 minutes to ensure that your battery has enough charge to start the next time…. Oh, and don’t stall your car in the first 5-10 minutes!

Easy right? In case you were wondering, we’ve also done a bit of research and found a great (and fun) video showing you the above in detail. Check it out

Here are a few quick answers to common questions: -

Can you jumpstart a car on your own?

Yes, you can, but you will need a power source or a live battery. If you have a spare battery, this can be used instead of another car

Which car do you put jumper cables on first?

We’ve suggested working from the live battery first. However, it doesn’t really matter. The key is not leaving a cable loose. Connect one at both ends and then the other.

How do you jumpstart a car without another car?

If you’ve got a manual car, there is the possibility of push-starting it. This is where you get the pistons in the engine turning without the starter motor by pushing the car. Then all you need is enough electricity for a little spark, the engine starts, and you are away! You can see a video on how to push start a car here.


If you can’t get your car started, it might be a case of contacting a professional to give it a once over. It is also worth considering what caused a flat battery in the first place. Again, if your car isn’t working, it might be a job best left to the professionals. Hopefully, our guide on how to jump start a car will have you up and running. Check out our other blog posts, which are full of handy hints for motorists.


Share this article:


Get more with our tyre comparison

Get the best tyre prices and buy now from independent fitters near you!

  • Search postcode

  • Search tyre size