If you own a vehicle, you have probably experienced that gut-wrenching moment when you go to start your car and … nothing. You sit down with the key in hand, ready to get on your way, and as you turn the ignition, the car only makes sluggish sounds. That’s when your stomach drops, and you know from those classic signs that you have a dead battery.
Car batteries always seem to die at the most inopportune times and problematic places. No one likes to deal with the stress of a battery gone bad, and that stress only multiplies if you have young kids in tow or you happen to be all alone.
What is your first instinct when you have a dead battery? Are you the type to flag down a stranger and seek help from an unknown individual? Or would calling a friend or family member be your go-to move? While these options are tempting choices, you should think twice before allowing just anyone to jumpstart your vehicle.
The Consequences of a Botched Jumpstart
Do you know that you can damage your car if you attempt to jumpstart it the wrong way? When you do not follow the correct steps to get your dead battery going, the consequences can leave your car worse off. You start with one problem and end up creating multiple others, all due to a single wrong move.
Example #1 – Let’s say you switch up the jumper cables and place the red cable on the black battery terminal and the black cable on the red battery terminal. In other words, you do not connect the positive cable to the positive terminal and the negative cable to the negative terminal.
This small mixup is a surefire way to kill the electronic system of your vehicle and burn the fuses and sensors. Fuses and sensors do not like unwanted surges of electricity.
If this occurs, you will need more than a jumpstart to get your vehicle up and running again. You will be forced to replace those fried fuses and sensors in order to get back on the road.
Example #2 – Misplacing the cables during a jumpstart can lead to catastrophic outcomes, too. With cables secured in the wrong place, you send power to where it does not belong. A momentary spurt of misdirected power usually leads to a small amount of damage. If an incorrect connection remains in place for a prolonged period of time, you can create a dangerous situation.
First off, you can harm the batteries of both vehicles involved in the jumpstart. Consequently, now you have two non-functioning vehicles that cannot help one another.
Next, you can spark a full-on explosion if the battery damage is severe enough. Lead-acid batteries can melt and crack under the pressure of misplaced power. This allows hydrogen gas to leak out of the battery, and that escaped gas can ignite an explosion.
Example #3 – Using jumper cables the wrong way can damage the alternator of your car. Remember how misplaced cables create misdirected power? Parts of your car are not designed to handle the current of incoming voltage, especially at higher levels, like when a vehicle is working to start up.
Furthermore, a jumpstart can impact your car’s starter motor. In fact, your starter can completely fail if you crank your car one too many times when trying to jumpstart it. Repeated attempts to jumpstart a vehicle need to be completed in a controlled manner.
The Importance of Professional Help
Simply put, many internal components of your vehicle are susceptible to damage during a jumpstart. Cars are not foolproof. While a jumpstart might appear to be a rather straightforward task, plenty can go wrong.
What if your battery posts are corroded? What if your battery is too old or too worn down to be able to handle a jumpstart? What if your car contains jumpstart lugs, and you do not realize that the cables must attach to those lugs rather than the battery terminals? What if the design of your car requires you to turn on the defroster or remove a particular fuse before attempting a jumpstart?
Without a trained eye, these issues can be easily overlooked.
Are you aware that both cars involved in the jumpstart should not be touching each other? Do you know how to verify the voltage of the battery in the automobile that will carry out the jumpstart to ensure it is compatible with your battery? Should you turn off or leave the engine in the vehicle with the working battery?
To perform a proper jumpstart, you need an in-depth understanding of how the process works in order to avoid:
- damage to your car
- damage to the other car
- harm to yourself
- harm to others nearby
So before you wave down that random stranger in a quick attempt to get your car operating again, think twice. Seeking out a professional car jump start service is the best way to avoid costly mistakes and potentially dangerous circumstances.
Not sure who to call for help? Search on the Internet – “jumpstart service near me” – and look for Roadside Rescue Inc. We offer 24-hour roadside assistance, get to you quickly, and know just what to do to get your car operating again.