If you own a car, than owning a portable jump starter is almost a must-have piece of equipment. A portable jump starter allows you to get your battery up and running without having to rely on a friendly stranger for help.
It’s impossible to predict when your car will break down. Sometimes, the battery just refuses to start up after you’ve parked your car. This is certainly a frustrating situation and one that is all-too familiar to seasoned drivers.
But as technology advances and progresses, the invention of portable and cordless jump starters has made it easier to handle an emergency situation while on the go. While the concept of this equipment is the same as using traditional jumper cables, there are a couple more steps involved in order to make this portable device run smoothly.
Our Tool Nerds team understands that there are a lot of portable jump starter options out there. Regardless of which piece of equipment you decide to buy, the instructions for using a portable jump starter all remain the same. While owner’s manuals and handbooks can get too wordy and overwhelming, we’ve put together a small guide here to help you learn how to use your portable jump starter.
Before you begin, we suggest you read our article about how a portable jump starter works. This will give you the rundown on the basic parts and components that make up your piece of equipment. Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the process, you can read on below for some of our best tips and tricks for using a portable jump starter.
Before beginning use on your portable jump starter, it’s important to take all necessary safety precautions to ensure that you, your car battery, and your pieces of equipment are all protected. Since jump starting your car requires the use of electric voltage, you must be careful at all times.
But don’t fret – although there are electrical hazards associated with jump starting your car, using a portable jump starter is extremely safe and is often a low-risk procedure.
Before embarking on your portable jump starter adventure, take heed of the following safety precautions for good practice:
Make sure your vehicle and the jump starter are completely off before starting the process of rebooting your battery.
Take your keys out of your ignition just to be sure that every part of the vehicle is turned off for the first step.
Never connect the red and black (positive and negative) clamps to each other, or do not allow them to be connected through an electrical conductor.
Make sure that there are no liquids or flammable items near your car or the jump starter during the process.
The Beginning Steps
Once your vehicle and your jump starter are safely turned off, and you made sure that you aren’t near any flammable liquids or substances, you’re ready to take the first steps to using your portable jump starter with your conked-out battery.
First, you’ll want to take a look at your jump cables attached to the portable jump starter. Are they permanently attached? Some portable jump starters require you to attach the jumper cables to the device before starting. Take a look at some of our recommended portable jump starters if you aren’t sure what kind of jumper cables would suit you best.
While the vehicle is still turned off, take both of the ends of the jump starter cables in your hands. You should have one red end and one black end, in the shape of clamps.
Remember to never connect these two together! This could cause the portable jump starter to short circuit and cease functioning. Plus, you’ll still be left with a dead battery on your hands.
You’ll want to connect the red clamp to the positive terminal on your car’s battery, while attaching the black clamp to a non-conductive piece of stable metal in your car. The metal holding up the hood of the engine is always a good choice.
Double check your clamp positionings. Are they attached in the right places? Are they attached too loosely to where they could slip and accidentally touch each other? Is the black clamp connected to a good spot on your car’s chassis?
After you’ve gone through your mental checklist, it’s time to move on to the next step.
Turning On the Jump Starter
After you’ve confirmed that your cable clamps are in the right place, you can proceed to turn on your portable jump starter.
Take note: Do not turn on your car’s ignition at this time. The portable jump starter must be turned on firtst in order to promote the flow of electricity from the device itself into the battery of your car.
The jump starter will need a few moments to start up before turning on your car battery.
Turning On Your Vehicle
Next, you can turn the ignition of your car. This will allow the portable jump starter to send a burst of energy into your car’s battery, which will typically have it starting up in no time.
There are a few tips you should follow to make sure that this crucial step in the process is as successful as possible. Since the portable jump starter acts as a movable, supercharged battery, you can expect that it is built to deliver short bursts of power in large amounts. However, this means that cranking your engine for too long of a time will stop the portable jump starter from working.
You should only be turning the engine for about 5 seconds at a time. As soon as you ignite your engine, the jump starter roars to life, sending a wave of voltage into your car’s battery. At this point, the portable jump starter is putting out its maximum amount of energy possible. You want to take advantage of this by only turning on your engine in short bursts to match the power of the equipment.
If you have cranked your engine for 5 seconds and the battery still will not start, do not hold down the ignition for an extended period of time. Instead, give a good 3-5 minute break between attempts. If you continue to crank the battery, you will stress out the portable jump starter, which can cause it to overheat or short-circuit, which can cause permanent damage to your device.
Make another 5-second attempt at the engine after the jump starter is ready to give all of its energy again. Your battery should start up after a few more tries. If it still does not start, we have a troubleshooting section below for you to refer to.
Remove Your Cables
After your car has successfully started, you must shut off your portable jump starter. This will help to prolong the life of your equipment. Plus, you can get it recharged as soon as possible. It is recommended to recharge your portable jump starter’s lithium ion battery as quickly as you can, because the closer the battery is to fully charged at all times, the longer its lifespan will be.
After the jump starter is switched off, you can then proceed to remove the jumper cables. Remove the black (negative) cable first, and then remove the red (positive) one. Put them back in a safe location where you will not lose them.
Remember to keep your car on after it has been successfully jump started by your equipment! Our Tool Nerds team recommends that you drive to a car repair shop if you can, to see if your battery has any significant damage and needs to be replaced.
If, after 5 or more attempts at restarting your battery, your car still will not turn on, there are a couple of things you can do to fix this situation.
The first thing you can do is to turn the jump starter off and then fix the positioning of your clamper cables. Sometimes, they may be a little too loose or not set in the right position.
Try putting your black clamp on another part of your car’s frame for more stability and support. Move the clamps in a twisting motion to literally tighten them against the positive end of the battery terminal.
If none of those options work, your battery may be too far dead to fix it. Possible reasons for its death may include corrosion and acid leakage, or busted electrodes from within the battery itself. The best thing you can do at this point is to get a hold of a reliable towing service and get yourself and your car to safety as quickly as possible
Your Portable Jump Starter is Designed to Be the Best!
Your portable jump starter is a reliable piece of equipment that should serve you well for many, many years. As long as you follow the steps correctly, and be sure not to overheat it, it is sure to be by your side for a long time.
Remember that your portable jump starter is happiest when it’s fully charged, so be sure to get it plugged in as soon as possible, even if you didn’t deplete its energy from the last time you used it to jump start your car. After you get your car started, be sure to pack your portable device and jumper cables in an area of your car that works best for you. Be sure to keep it handy, because you never know when disaster will strike!