Archive for Thursday, January 14, 2010

Jumper cables come in handy

January 14, 2010

I have always tried to keep booster cables in both cars since you never know when you may need them.

Several months ago in the middle of a rainstorm, we were on our way to Branson and stopped at a filling station. A young man came over and asked if I would give his vehicle a jumpstart. Sure enough, that is all it took to get him going. Then again this morning after church a friend asked the same question, and after digging around in my trunk, there they were in a box, right handy. It only took a minute to get the other car started, and I was glad to be able to help.

Even though I have been doing this for many years, I have never seen a battery explode but have heard that it can happen if a battery is cracked. If you should see a battery like this, do not go any farther, get a new one.

With all the new gadgets today, you need to make sure all headlights; blinkers, car radios, and air conditioning are off. Also radar detectors and cell phones should be unplugged, and any accessories connected to the cigarette lighters. All of these things on both cars should be turned off. This equipment could be ruined by voltage spikes in the electrical system.

There are four steps to hook up battery cables correctly. The first thing to remember is that the positive cable is red and the negative cable is black:

Step 1: Connect one end of the positive cable to the positive post of the dead battery.

Step 2: Connect the other end of the positive cable to the positive post of the good battery.

Step 3: Connect one end of the negative cable to the negative post of the good battery.

Step 4: Connect the other end of the negative cable to a good solid shiny metal part of the engine of the dead car. Usually a giant shiny nut on the engine block will do. A painted, dirty, or oily nut will not work. You usually want to avoid placing the negative cable directly on the dead battery to minimize the chance of explosions. You should only use the ground post of the dead battery as a last resort. On this step, you get a normal spark as you connect the ground and complete the circuit. Put the neutral end on the dead battery last. Never let the loose cables touch each other.

When you have cables connected correctly, let them stay in place for a minute or two before you try to start the car.

After the dead car is started it is important to totally reverse this procedure. Just remember, every vehicle needs a set of jumper cables in its trunk.

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