There are several reasons why a car battery dies, including not using it for long periods of time, leaving it outside in very cold temperatures, leaving the headlights or interior lights on when it is off, etc. To charge a dead battery, you need a set of cables to pass current and another running cart. With this, you can connect the battery to another using the cables and thus recharge it, transferring the electricity from the charged battery to it. Keep reading the article to learn more about the steps you need to take to safely and effectively charge a dead car battery using power cables.
Method 1 of 2: Before Powering Up
Step 1. Inspect the physical appearance of the battery before connecting it
The battery must be intact with no cracks and no visible acid spills.
Do not attempt to power the car if the battery shows any of these damages, as you could injure yourself or others
Step 2. Wear safety glasses and rubber gloves before coming into contact with the dead battery
Goggles and gloves protect the eyes and hands from any sulfuric acid expelled by the battery.
Step 3. Verify that the cables are connected to the dead battery and do not have traces of corrosion
If the power cables are corroded, clean them as best as possible with a thick bristle brush
Step 4. Place the car that you are going to use to pass current next to yours, without coming into contact with each other
The ideal positions for this process are either placing the cars side by side facing the same direction, or facing each other.
- Verify that the distance between the batteries of each car is close enough to connect the cables. The length of the cables varies widely depending on the style and manufacturer.
- No Try connecting two different pairs of cables to each other if the first pair is not long enough. They could melt and catch fire.
Step 5. Turn off the car with a charged battery
Method 2 of 2: Power a Dead Battery
Step 1. Raise the hood or compartment of each vehicle where the batteries are located
Step 2. Look at the positive and negative terminals of each battery
Positive terminals are indicated with a plus symbol (+), and negative terminals with a minus symbol (-).
Step 3. Connect each end of the positive cable to both positive terminals of each battery
Generally, the positive wire is red if it does not have an indicative marking. The order in which you connect the cables does make a difference., so follow the pattern below. First, connect one end of the positive cable to the dead battery, and then the other positive end to the charged battery.
Step 4. Connect one end of the negative cable to the negative terminal of the charged battery
In most cases, the negative cable is black.
Step 5. Connect the other end of the negative cable to a grounded metal component of the car with the dead battery
Thus, your car will have a ground contact when passing current. You have the option of connecting the ground wire to the frame, chassis, or other component that is clean enough and free of paint or rust.
Step 6. Start the car's engine with the battery charged
Once the engine is started, the recharging system will begin to charge the dead battery through the jumper cables.
Step 7. Allow the current to run for about 5 minutes after starting the car's engine with the battery charged
This will allow the dead battery to build up its own charge, although it may take longer to fully recharge.
Step 8. Try to start your car's engine
If the jumper cables and the battery you're charging have enough power, the engine should start and run smoothly.
If your car's engine won't start, allow it another 5 minutes to charge the battery sufficiently
Step 9. Disconnect and remove the cables from the carts once the engine starts, in the reverse way you connected them earlier
This will prevent sparks from flying or causing an explosion.
Disconnect the grounded wire first, then the wire connected to the negative battery terminal. Next, the cable connected to the positive terminal of the car that you used to pass current, and finally, the cable connected to the positive terminal of the recharged battery
Step 10. Leave the car with the recharged battery running for at least another 5 minutes
This will allow the alternator to recharge the later dead battery.
Step 11. Drive the newly recharged car for about 20 minutes or let it idle for the same amount of time
In certain cases, the battery will fully recharge within this period of time. However, you may need to buy a new battery for your car if it wasn't charged enough to get you going.
- Auto parts stores do quick tests on a battery to see if it's no longer good.
- Check the electrolyte level of the dead battery to make sure each cell is full.
- Long cables for passing current have a higher charging speed.
- Take into account the temperature of a vehicle if you left it in neutral gear for an extended period of time, as some cars could overheat from this.
- Some Ford vehicles are notorious for overloading due to current swapping. To avoid any electrical problems for this reason, make sure the car's heater is on with the fan on last speed and the defroster running. If an electrical shock occurs, the fan fuse will blow, and having the heater on will draw in excess current to prevent electrical damage.
- Never let the positive and negative cables come into contact or connect with each other when they are connected to the battery at the same time, and especially if you are handling them. If you let them come in contact, they could melt, damage the batteries, or even cause a fire.
- When a battery is recharged, hydrogen is created, which is explosive.
- If your car has a manual transmission, use the clutch carefully.