Sunday, March 20, 2011

An Idiot's Guide of Jump Starting a Car

You’re walking out of your apartment and notice a good looking girl with the hood of her car open, looking at the engine with desperation. You go over and ask what’s wrong. You go inside her car and try to ignite but to no avail, the engine is hardly cranking, electronics are not working, yeap, the car battery is dead for good. She’s late for work and wondering whether if you can give her jump. You look down at the ground, kick some sand, and offer to call MAA instead.

You have no clue how to jump start a car. Wimp.

Would you disappoint this hot damsel for not knowing how to jump starting her car?

Luckily, I haven't been in such situation before, but I have my fair share of experience of looking like an idiot for not knowing how to jump starting a car, worse, it happened last week at a parking site, I was standing in the rain, have no spare jumping cables and Malaysians are well known for not offering help to stranger, I was looking hopelessly and waiting for help from my friends. This experience sucks. I believe there are other people who have no idea of jump starting a car. So I'll dedicate this post as my 1st ever idiot's guide to jump starting a car.

RIP (22/12/2009 - 19/3/2011): GP N60L

First of all, always carry a jumper cable and keep it in your trunk. You'll never know when it will come in handy.

Don't be this guy

2. Call any of your friends who has a car with functioning battery. You need a living (good) battery to pass the juice to your dead battery. You can also try your luck by asking any car owners that park around you. With typical Malaysian's attitude, they may give u a cold shoulder.

3. Once your friend's car's arrived, have his car park near to your car, ideally, his car hood facing yours. 

4. With both cars turned off, open both car hoods and look for the battery. A typical car battery will show the poles of the battery i.e. positive (+) sign or negative (-) sign. If it isn't indicated by signs (don't buy this brand of battery anymore), look for colours. By norms, red indicates (+) and black (-). I don't know what to say if you're a color blind.

5. FOLLOW THIS SEQUENCE PROPERLY. Connect one end of the red (+) cable from the red pole of the good battery to the red pole of the dead battery.

6. Connect one end of the black (-) jumper cable to the negative terminal of the good battery. Now, you might be tempted to connect the black cable to the another end of the black pole (-) of the battery (like what you did for red ones). Please don't. You have to connect the cable to any metal surface of the car (as long it doesn't touch the black pole of battery). This metal surface functions as a "ground" to complete the circuit. Unless you wanna see sparks that may burn your eyes or a possible explosion, please connect to the black post of the dead battery as a last resort. Once you complete the circuit, you may or may not see a small spark.

7. Start your friend's car (good battery) for about 5 minutes. Then, start your car's engine. If it can be ignited, congratulations!

8. Take out the jumper cables in REVERSE ORDER i.e. from the black "ground" end to the cable end at red pole of your friend's car.

9. Keep the jumped car running for around 15 minutes to give the battery sufficient time to recharge itself.

That's it. Fucking simple. The only trick is to remember the sequence of connecting cables. Doing it wrong may give you a jump instead of the car as the mild electrocution may exist. Just remember the mnemonic, red=blood=life=positive/black=death=negative.

After your engine is started, you may try to off the engine again and restart to see whether the battery can still be used. If not, repeat the whole process; If you're not in the mood to do the checking, don't ever switch off the engine after your successful jump starting, bring your car to the nearest workshop to check the battery or drive straight back to your home if your battery was dead at night.


I used to help a friend jump starting his car years ago by using labouring method >.<. This could be performed when you really don't have jumper cable and the car is using manual transmission. Why call it labouring method? Here's why:

1. Find a stretch of clear downhill road or open space.
2. Fully depress the clutch and put the car in first gear.
3. Turn the ignition to on.
4. Take your foot off the brake and start rolling down the hill, leaving the clutch fully depressed.
5. Coast down the hill until you reach 10 km/hr.
6. Release the clutch quickly. You should feel the engine turn and start. If it doesn’t start the first time, depress the clutch and release it again.
7. If you don’t have a hill, get some of your buddies to give you a push and follow the steps above.

Like I said, you need your bros or sis to provide pushing forces. Also, you need a big open space or a downhill to do so. It also kinda tricky to get the engine started. So, like I said, always get a jumper cable ready.

1. If possible, do reverse parking especially at places like parking lot of a shopping mall. I just scare that if your car is parked facing the wall, there may be a tough time to connect the cables from living battery of a random car to yours. 

2. Don't buy cheap jumper cable i.e. those that cost only RM20+ from supermarket like Carrefour. My friend's dead battery was unable to get any battery juice by using cheap cable as the copper wire is too thin to pump sufficient juice to his car. The thicker the cable, the better. Look for those that cost around RM40, an automobile hardware seller may recommend a good ones. No need to buy those that cost RM100+ as these are for jump starting lorries or buses.

3. Avoid jump starting a corroded car battery as it may cause explosion also. If situation doesn't permit, clean the corrosion first before you connect the cable.


  1. LOL.

    Thanks for the heads up. As a new car owner I figured I should have an idea of how to jumpstart a car - and all good and well enough, I land on this! :) Cheers.


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  2. or you can just ask a hot shot like me to jumpstarting your car since I'm the guide writer ;).

  3. If you don't want to piss off your friends pushing your car, put the car in second gear.

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  5. Gj plagiarizing the art of manliness.

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  8. Thank you so much for your with us this blog. It is very thorough and a great addition. Jump starting a car with a stalled battery using another car always runs the risk of damaging the alternator of the car that is not stalled. I find the strategy you talk about above is more for newer cars,

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