How to jump start your car… have you been placing the leads in the wrong place all along?

With cold, dark winter days demanding ever-increasing amounts of power, here’s our essential guide to jump-starting your motor if the battery dies.

Cold temperatures can interfere with chemical processes that produce the juice needed to start your car – and keep all essential ancillaries pumping as we battle through the winter months.

Cold batteries find it difficult to generate and store power in the same way they can in warmer times.

Older batteries are also likely to suddenly give up altogether. When you reach this stage, it will be necessary to buy a new unit – and jump starting the vehicle is not a viable option.

However, if your flat battery is due to infrequent, short journeys preventing it from properly recharging during colder months, then jump starting makes perfect sense.

Owners of newer cars should check their handbook before using jump leads, because some electrical systems could be damaged.

How to jump start your car

Flat battery? Here’s how you can jump start your car.

Jump leads and discharged battery, cold winter day

Jump leads and discharged battery, cold winter day

  1. Park both cars next to each other in neutral with handbrakes on
  2. Pop open both bonnets and make sure they are correctly propped
  3. Now check the jump leads can reach from one car to the other
  4. Connect the positive lead (red one) to the positive terminal on the car with the good battery
  5. The positive terminal with have a ‘+’ sign or red cap
  6. Now connect the other end of the positive lead to the positive terminal on the flat battery
  7. Now return to the car with the good battery and connect the black (negative) cable to the negative terminal.
  8. This will have a ‘-‘ sign on it or black cap
  9. Now, take the other end of the lead to the car with the flat battery and connect to a solid piece of metal in the engine bay – not the ‘-‘ terminal
  10. Some cars have an earthing point for this – check your handbook – but make sure you don’t clip it anywhere close to the fuel system
  11. Wait a few moments then start the engine of the healthy car and let if run for several minutes
  12. Leave the engine running, then attempt to start the car with the flat battery
  13. If it does not work, wait a little longer with the good car’s engine running
  14. Try again
  15. If the engine starts, leave both vehicles running for around 10 minutes if possible
  16. Next, turn off both engines
  17. Now remove the leads in reverse order to how you put them on


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