4 Essential Things to Know About Jumper Cables

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You may think that all jumper cables are the same, but nothing could be further from the truth! Finding those jumper cables in the bargain bin may seem like a great idea at the time, but the shock that you get from cables that don’t have rubber-coated handles will quickly convince you that you should do your research before making a purchase. Learn about the minimum specs for these handy tools as well as tips for making the jump safely.

Gauge and Width

Seeing a nice, thick pair or jumper cables at the store marked “heavy duty” can be deceiving—what you really need to look at is the gauge of the cables themselves. Hint: a higher number gauge is not better! A 10 gauge cable will not get you enough juice to jump your vehicle, and a 6 gauge should give you plenty of oomph unless you need to jump-start a dump truck. The lower the number, the faster it will charge and the more power that passes through.

Clamp and Length

When you go shopping for jumper cables, be sure you’re getting a good, solid clamp with teeth that don’t look like they will slip off the battery terminals. Getting some nice, rubber-coated handles helps assure that you won’t be getting a shock. A good minimum length for jumper cables is 12’, but even longer would be better in case you’ve gotten yourself and your vehicle into a crazy location and need a jump.

Starting the Jump

Having the correct type of jumper cables is only the first hurdle. Next you actually need to know how to use them without disastrous consequences. After you’ve parked the vehicles facing each other and opened the hoods, clamp one end of the red cable to the positive battery terminal on the boost car, then clamp the other end to the positive battery terminal of the dead vehicle. Next, the black clamp is attached to the negative terminal of the boost car, with the other side of the black cable grounded on an unpainted metal screw or knob of the dead vehicle. Start the boost car, let it run for a few minutes and then you can start the not-so-dead car with ease.

Finishing Up

Once you have the dead vehicle running, you can safely remove the cables in the reverse order – black cable removed from the dead car, then the boost car. Next, remove the red cable from the dead car and finally from the boost car.

Pack away your cables so they are ready for your next adventure! If you are having ongoing problems with your battery, it might be time to contact YourMechanic to schedule an appointment to get your battery checked.


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Ostus

6 years of experience
57 reviews
Ostus
6 years of experience
Mazda 6 - Service Battery/cables - Jonesboro, Georgia
Ostus was prompt. He explained to me what he was doing. He assessed the problem quickly. He recommended the additional services and we were able to have everything done in under 2 hours. I’ll definitely be requesting him in the future. Great and painless experience.
Ford Explorer Sport - Service Battery/cables - Fairburn, Georgia
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Tyrone

7 years of experience
154 reviews
Tyrone
7 years of experience
Honda Accord - Service Battery/cables - Redondo Beach, California
Tyrone was great at explaining everything throughly and showing what exactly needed to be worked on to get my car running. Highly recommend him!
Nissan Sentra - Service Battery/cables - Los Angeles, California
Tyrone was very knowledgeable and helpful. This is my first time using this service and I was throughly impressed. I will definelty be taking his recommendations to heart.

Breck

18 years of experience
541 reviews
Breck
18 years of experience
Kia Rio - Service Battery/cables - Houston, Texas
Breck was fast and efficient. He explained the process and I would recommend him to anyone in need of repair services.
Chevrolet Cobalt - Service Battery/cables - Tomball, Texas
Breck was able to identify the issue very quickly and resolved it in almost no time. He took the time to give the system a good check to make sure there were no other underlying issues. Very pleasant and would recommend.

Daniel

19 years of experience
294 reviews
Daniel
19 years of experience
Ford Escort - Service Battery/cables - Baytown, Texas
Daniel came out looked at my son's car and fixed the problem within 20 minutes. Great guy, very kind and professional. Will use him again.
Lexus IS300 - Service Battery/cables - Webster, Texas
Daniel did an amazing job getting my car back up and running! It did not take him long at all to replace my broken starter, and he also was able to find other issues with my car that was very important to bring to my attention. I WOULD HIGHLY recommend Daniel to anyone! He is very professional, very well educated on cars, and knows how to get the job done for you.

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