According to Prevent Blindness America, each year there are about 6,000 eye injuries caused from auto batteries. That does not even take into account skin burns, hand injuries, and other possible injuries from improper use of car batteries. To bring awareness of the dangers of car batteries and share important tips to prevent fatal injuries, October is dedicated as Auto Battery Safety Month.

In our October 2012 Newsletter, we briefly discuss a simple version on how to safely jump-start a car battery. Let’s recap the proper steps and go more in-depth:

  1. Have both cars turned off and close together. That also includes the interior lighting and radio. It is important to note that both cars should not be touching in any way and should have the same battery voltage. Check the jumper cables to make sure that they are clean, untangled, and not damaged in any way before using. Using damaged jumper cables can cause injuries.
  2. Connect one red (+) clamp to the positive (+) labeled post on the dead battery. Make sure there is a strong and secure connection to the post of the dead battery. If there are visible signs of grease, dirt, or corrosion on the battery terminal, remove cables and clean properly. Try starting the dead car since sometimes batteries only need proper cleaning to function again. If car still doesn’t start, then continue using jumper cables.
  3. Connect the other red (+) clamp to the positive (+) post on the good battery. Again check to make sure that the connection is strong and secure. To be safe, make sure that all the clamps are separated from each other and not touching.
  4. Connect the black (-) clamp to the negative (-) labeled post on the good battery.
  5. IMPORTANT: Connect the last black negative (-) clamp to a clean, solid, and unpainted metal surface in the engine of the dead car to ground the circuit. Do not connect the black (-) cable to the dead battery itself, but as far away from the dead battery as possible. Connecting the clamp onto the battery can cause a devastating explosion.
  6. Start the car with the good engine and wait 2 to 3 minutes, then start the dead car. Wait longer if the car has not been used for some time to allow the battery to recharge properly. If the dead car does not start even after several minutes, refrain from trying over and over again because further damage to the starter can be done.
  7. Remove the cables in reverse order: Black dead car, black working car, red working car, and finally red dead car. Once the dead car is started, it is safe to remove the jumper cables while the cars are running. Be careful to not let the clamps touch each other or fall down into the engine.
  8. Keep stalled car running for at least 30 minutes to recharge battery properly. If the engine is not left on for a longer duration after being dead, then there is a chance that the car will need to be jump-started again. It is recommended to take the car to a repair shop to ensure that the battery gets fully recharged.
  9. Drive away happy!

We want to do our part in bringing awareness of the importance of auto battery safety. To make sure that you and your loved ones will always know how to properly jump-start a car, Prevent Blindness America offers a free battery jump start sticker in both English and Spanish on their website. The sticker can be placed under the engine hood or garage for future reference.

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