4 Essential Things to Know About Jumper Cables

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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Pardeep

21 years of experience
1068 reviews
Pardeep
21 years of experience
Toyota Sienna V6-3.3L - Service Battery/cables - Los Gatos, California
Appointment was scheduled at 5 pm but Pardeeps texted that he could come earlier, which worked out great! I specified the wrong year of my vehicle. He came and immediately noticed the discrepancy. He had to go to change the part. Came back quickly and completed the work. I am very happy with his service. Final price was better than taking the car to any shops. Can't beat the convenience, service, and price. Will definitely use the service again!
GMC Yukon - Service Battery/cables - Mountain View, California
Awesome service and cool dude!. Not ro knowledgeable myself, he knew the "fix it" action in a heartbeat. Also arrived ahead of schedule.

Augustine

12 years of experience
129 reviews
Augustine
12 years of experience
Ford Edge V6-3.5L - Service Battery/cables - Albuquerque, New Mexico
Very friendly, extremely knowledgeable. Solved my problem quickly. I feel confident that the repair I got from Augustine today is one of the most quality repairs I’ve received from any mechanic in Albuquerque.
Toyota Yaris - Service Battery/cables - Albuquerque, New Mexico
Augustine was extremely helpful getting my gas tank replaced. He was very friendly and went above expectations to work with me on getting the repair done in a timely manner. 10/10

Raymond

27 years of experience
223 reviews
Raymond
27 years of experience
Nissan Cube L4-1.8L - Service Battery/cables - Victorville, California
Great work to detail, and he recommended on used tires! Ask Raymond if Tepa Jalisco Tire Shop is the one located on Union / 7th Street! I do plan to buy my used tires over there, and I will buy two at a time, and after I finish buying all the tires, then I will have Raymond rotate them and fix / repair one of the engine mounts in the engine bay! He will let me know about how much it costs for the engine mount online! Raymond does great work, guys! I will see him sometime next month!!!

Richard

35 years of experience
96 reviews
Richard
35 years of experience
Chevrolet Camaro V8-6.2L - Service Battery/cables - New Port Richey, Florida
The service went like a charm -. Nice and easy -. The free check up was also great -. Glad to know my car is in excellent condition -. Richard was professional with a good attitude. Thank You Colette

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