While jumper cables act as miracle-workers for drained or dead car batteries, there are some situations where using jumper cables is not an appropriate solution. For example, jumper cables should only be used by motorists who are educated on the subject, and on batteries that aren’t cracked or leaking. To clear up the confusion, the expert team at OnlineDriversLicenses.org has put together a list of nine instances when jumper cables should not be used.
#1 You Don’t Know How – First and foremost, you should never use jumper cables if you don’t know how to use them. Having a set of jumper cables in your trunk doesn’t make you qualified to use them. Be sure to learn how to use jumper cables before attempting to jumpstart a car on your own. If you don’t know how to use your jumper cables, be on the safe side and call for assistance.
#2 The Battery Isn’t the Problem – If you think your battery may be dead but you aren’t sure, the expert team at OnlineDriversLicenses.org recommends testing the vehicle before attempting to use jumper cables. To test the vehicle, put the key in the vehicle’s ignition and turn the key. If you hear the engine, the battery isn’t dead and the problem lies elsewhere. In this case, jumping the car will not fix the problem. However, if you turn the key but hear nothing (or the battery cranks slowly), the battery or alternator may be drained or dead. Additionally, your headlights can be used to check the vehicle’s battery. If the headlights are dimmer than usual, the battery may be the culprit. If they headlights are bright and seem to be as bright as they usually are, the battery isn’t the issue.
#3 You’re Wearing Dangling Jewelry – If you’re wearing long, dangling jewelry or any metal jewelry pieces, the group at OnlineDriversLicenses.org recommends removing the jewelry before attempting to jump a vehicle. Otherwise, you could increase your risk of getting electrical burns or another injury. In addition, you should have access to protective wear, like mechanic gloves or disposable gloves and goggles.
#4 The Other Vehicle’s Battery is Drained – Since another vehicle is needed to jump your car’s battery, the other vehicle’s battery must be healthy. If the other battery isn’t healthy, you shouldn’t use it to jump your car. Additionally, both batteries should be of the same voltage.
#5 You Don’t Have the Owner’s Manual – According to the team of experts at OnlineDriversLicenses.org, you should go by the instructions in your vehicle’s owner manual before jumping a vehicle. Since each vehicle is different, the process of jumping the car may be different than what you’re used to. If you don’t have access to the owner’s manual, call for assistance.
#6 You or The Other Driver Is Smoking – For safety reasons, you should never smoke while jump starting a vehicle. Sparks near a vehicle’s battery could lead to an explosion.
#7 The Battery is Cracked – According to the team at OnlineDriversLicenses.org, jumper cables should never be used on a battery that is leaking or cracked. Jumping a cracked battery could cause an explosion. Instead, take the leaking or cracked battery to a battery retailer for safe disposal and purchase a replacement.
#8 Fluids Are Frozen – If your vehicle’s battery fluids are frozen, you should never attempt to charge or jump start it. Doing so could cause an explosion. Instead, remove the battery from the vehicle and move the battery to a warmer location where it will have the chance to thaw out naturally. However, the battery should never be thawed using artificial means. Once the battery thaws, it can be re-installed in the vehicle.
#9 You Can’t Identify the Negative and Positive Terminals – Jumping a car requires you to identify the positive and negative ends of the jumper cable and the dead car battery. Attaching the negative cable to the negative terminal could cause an explosion. If you are unable to identify the positive and negative terminals on each of the vehicle’s batteries, you should avoid using jumper cables, and call for help.