Things to Know About Jump Starting a Vehicle - Subaru Service Questions in Salt Lake City, UT

Jump starting a car is one of those things that most drivers think they know how to do--and a great many are right about that. However, it's also easy to completely forget an important step when you're running late and didn't have time for your morning coffee. That's why we've put together this helpful page. Here, you'll find the steps to giving your car a jump start in an informative, easy-to-read layout.

Cars parked nose-to-nose with hoods up

1. Prepare Your Vehicles

Before beginning the actual jump start, it's best to make sure that you have everything ready to go. Make sure that the car that will be giving the jump is parked close enough to your car for the jumper cables to reach both engines. On that note, make sure you have a set of jumper cables! Turn off both vehicles, and remove the keys from the ignition. Put both cars in park or neutral, and turn on the parking brake. Then, open the hoods and take a look at the batteries. If you see excessive corrosion on your battery's terminals, this may be what's causing the problem.

Two people look at cables connected to two vehicles

2. Attach the Positive Cables in This Order:

  1. 1. Begin by attaching one positive cable to the positive terminal on the dead battery.
  2. 2. Then, attach the other end to the positive terminal on the donor battery.

Positive jumper cables are usually coated in red plastic. Because of this, the little rhyme "red to dead" can help you remember to begin by placing the red clamp to the dead battery.

3. Attach the Negative Cables in This Order:

  1. 1. Attach one negative clamp to the negative battery terminal of the donor vehicle.
  2. 2. Attach the other end to a piece of grounded, unpainted metal in the engine compartment of the vehicle with the dead battery.

Attaching both negative clamps to the respective terminals is a common mistake, but it can be a dangerous one. Doing so can potentially cause a spark, which could put yourself in trouble. To help make it even easier to find grounded metal, some new vehicles have a hardpoint under the hood specifically designed for this purpose.

Jumper cables attached to a battery

4. Start the Vehicles

Begin by starting the donor vehicle, and then wait for a minute or two. As the vehicle runs, it will transfer power to the dead battery. Once a few minutes have passed, start the vehicle with the dead battery. If you can hear the engine crank, but the car doesn't start, give it a few more minutes and then try again.

5. Remove the Cables in Reverse Order:

  1. Remove one negative clamp from the metal surface of the vehicle that received the jump start.
  2. Remove the other negative clamp from the donor vehicle.
  3. Remove one positive clamp from the donor vehicle.
  4. Remove the other positive clamp from the donor vehicle.

After this, you should be set. Just make sure you drive around for a while to replenish the battery. It's also worth bringing your vehicle to an authorized Subaru dealership for a full inspection if the drained battery was caused by something other than a mistake like leaving the lights on overnight.