Tips On Using Jump Leads Safely

This is a part of a series of articles provided by the MOT Chelmsford blog.

If you are a car owner, there are few worse things than getting into your vehicle when you are planning on going somewhere, only to find that the battery is dead and it will not start. This can be anything from a minor inconvenience to a major issue, especially if you have to be somewhere in a hurry.

Of course, if you have a set of jump leads, then it is possible that you can get yourself on the road pretty quickly. However, according to industry research less than half of motorists know how to use their jump leads safely.

Safety first

Before attempting to start your car going with jump leads, you need to follow some simple, but exceptionally important safety rules:

Check your vehicles handbook. While there are general rules for jump starting engines, some models have very specific procedures  and you should follow those under all circumstances.

While you are getting ready to jump start your vehicle, make sure you keep all metal objects away from the battery as this could create unnecessary sparks and could, in some circumstances, explode the battery. So be careful of watches, rings, tools or stray wires.

Make sure your jump leads are in good working order. If they are in any way damaged, do not use them as they can overheat and possibly cause a fire.

Using jump leads

Once you are ready to start, it is important that you make some final safety checks and then follow the instructions below in the right order:

Make sure the batteries are the same voltage before you connect the leads and make sure that the vehicles are parked with their handbrakes on and ignitions off. Also make sure they are not touching as this can cause sparks.

Connect the positive terminal on the good car to the positive terminal on the car with the flat battery using the live, red lead.

Then attach the black, earth lead to the negative terminal on the good car and then to a suitable earthing point on the bad car, such as the engine block or chassis, rather than the negative battery terminal .

Once you have connected the leads, start the engine of the good car and allow it to run for a minute then, with it still running, start the engine of the other car and leave both running for around ten minutes.

Do not remove the jump leads while the engines are running as this can damage to the electronics on either car. If the jump leads get hot, switch off both engines and allow the leads to cool down. Turn off the ignition on both cars and then disconnect the leads carefully in the reverse order i.e black lead first, then the red lead. Be careful not to touch the clips against each other or against the car bodywork.

As a final check, you should try starting the car that had the flat battery. If it will not start, then it may well have a more serious problem that will need the help of a mechanic or garage.

Thank you for visiting the MOT Chelmsford blog.