How to Jump Start a Car by Yourself and Without Another Car?

Are you experiencing difficulty starting your car’s engine because of a flat battery? Are you worried about being stranded because there are no auto mechanics around to help you out? You don’t have to fret unnecessarily. The solution is just three words, “Use Jumper Cables.”

Your car’s engine may refuse to start because of a flat battery, among other problems. This situation may leave you stranded and frustrated if you do not know how to jump-start a car. The process can be pretty easy, and there are different methods on how to jump a car with manual transmission and those with automatic transmission. However, some methods work for both.

If you discover that your car battery has died, you don’t need to panic; follow the steps unveiled in this article to dissolve your worries. Vital information that is relevant to cars with manual transmission and automatic transmission has been provided in this article to enhance your understanding of how to overcome being stranded because of a flat battery.

How to Jump Start a Car

WARNING!!! Never connect the black clip of the jumper cables on the negative (-) terminal of the flat battery; otherwise, you risk irreparable complete electrical damage to your car or an explosion of your car’s battery.

The following steps will show you how to jumpstart a car with another car.

Firstly, it is ideal to personally buy a set of jumper cables and have them kept in your car’s trunk. Otherwise, you would need a “jump-start helper” who also has a set of jumper cables.

How to Jump-Start a Car

  • Pick up your jumper cables.
  • Switch the gears of both vehicles to “Neutral (N) or Park (P)” and turn off both cars’ ignition. Then, pull their hand brakes too.
  • Fix one of the cables’ red clips to the positive (+) or (POS) terminal of your car’s battery.
  • Fix the other red clip of the cable to the positive (+) or (POS) terminal of the other car’s battery.
  • Fix one of the cables’ black clips to the other car’s battery’s negative (-) terminal.
  • Fix the other black clip to a metal surface without painting on your car. Ensure it’s not close to the battery.
  • Start the other car and allow the engine to run for 5 or 10 minutes.
  • Then, start your car too.

If your car starts, make sure you drive it around for between 20 to 30 minutes to enable your flat battery to recharge instead of shutting off your engine immediately. Then, if your car fails to start after that time, it could result from a faulty battery cable or your battery no longer holds power. It would help if you got an auto technician to check out the problem.

On the flip side, if your car fails to start, check the cables again for proper connections; then, let the other person run their car’s engine for another 5 minutes or thereabout. Then, start your vehicle again. If it refuses to start, it could result from bad terminals, or your car needs a new battery.

How To Jump Start A Car

How to Jump Start a Car by Yourself

The most common method how to jump-start a car by yourself is the push-starting method. To do this, switch your car’s ignition to ON position and set the car on gear 2.

Then, get somebody to help you push the vehicle until it speeds up a little bit. After that, release the car’s clutch pedal to enable the transmission to turn the engine over to the point where it can start. However, this method is only possible for cars with manual transmission. Check out this video for a practical guide.

How can I jump in my car without another car?

To jump your car without another car would require a push-starting method. You can only do this if your car has a manual transmission, as it won’t work for cars with automatic transmission.

To jump-start the car without another car, turn the ignition to the ON position, and engage the car on gear 2; then, get someone to help you push the car as fast as possible to enable the car to gain enough momentum. After running for a while, release the clutch pedal to enable the transmission to turn the car’s engine enough to the point of starting. You could use this method if you have a bad starter.

You can also jump-start your car by using a spare battery. To do this, pick up your spare battery of about 12V; then, get your jumper cables. After that, clamp one of the red clips on the positive(+) terminal of the flat battery and clamp the other red clip on the spare powered battery’s positive (+) terminal. Then, clamp one of the black clips on the negative (-) terminal of the spare powered battery, and clamp the other black clip to the flat battery negative terminal.

After that,  start the car. If it starts, leave the engine to run for some time before disconnecting the cables in the reverse order. Also, ensure to drive the car around for 20 to 30 minutes so that the flat battery can recharge very well.

However, if the car doesn’t start, check the connections of the cables very well and tighten any loose connections. Then, start the car again after a few minutes. If the problem persists, there could be a problem with the flat battery. You may have to input the spare battery into the car with the dead battery and use it to start the car directly.


Which car do you put jumper cables on first?

If you are trying to jump-start a car at home and are confused about the car to put the jumper cables on first, here’s a way out. You should clamp one of the red clips of the jumper cables on the positive (+) or (POS) terminal of the flat battery first, which is the car’s battery you are trying to start.

Ensure that it doesn’t touch any metal. Then, the other red clip should be clamped on the positive (+) or (POS) terminal of the boosting battery, which is the car’s battery you are using to start the car with the flat battery.

Should a car be running when jump-starting?

You could indeed jump-start your car with another car’s battery while its engine is running. However, it can result in damaging the car’s alternator.

Therefore, before commencing the jumpstart process, ensure to turn off the ignition of both cars, put the gear on “Neutral (N) or Park (P)”, and engage the park brakes.

How can I start my car with a dead battery?

Starting your car with a dead battery is dependent on whether the car has an automatic transmission or a manual transmission.

If you drive a car with a manual transmission, you can jumpstart the car without jumper cables. You need to know how to jump-start a car by pushing. This method requires you to turn your car’s ignition to the ON position and put the car on gear 2. Then, get someone to push the car; after it speeds up a little, release the clutch pedal. The transmission will turn the engine well enough to start the car.

Meanwhile, a car with automatic transmission will require you to use a set of jumper cables connected to your car’s battery and another car’s battery that you intend to use to boost your car’s battery to enable it to start, or you could find out how to jump-start a car with a battery charger. This method would require you to have a battery charger.

Can you ruin your car by giving someone a jump start?

Yes, you can if you are not careful enough. If you fail to properly connect the jumper cables to the battery of the car that you are jump-starting and your car’s battery in the correct order, it could cause electrical damage in your car or explode your car’s battery.

Therefore, you must ensure to check the connections properly in the process of jump-starting a car to avoid any form of damage.

What should you never connect to the dead battery?

Ensure that you never connect the black clip of the jumper cables on the negative (-) terminal of your dead battery; otherwise, it could lead to the explosion of your battery.

Also, ensure that you search your car’s manufacturer’s manual carefully to ascertain the recommended method of jump-starting your car because the process may differ in some specific vehicle makes and models.

Can jumping in a car kill your battery?

It depends on whether the jumper start is done correctly or wrongly. If done correctly, it won’t kill any of the batteries of the two cars. But, if there is a mistake in the process, it could either kill your battery or lead to some other more expensive problems for your car or the person helping you with the jump start.

Why does my car only start when I jump?

If your car only starts by jump starting, the battery is most likely bad and needs to be changed. A dead battery won’t hold a charge; hence, it can’t start a car normally, except by jump-starting.

A car with a manual transmission whose battery is dead can be jump-started by pushing. In contrast, a car with automatic transmission will either require another car’s battery or a battery charger. You could also jump-start a car with a spare battery.

Is it bad to jump-start a car multiple times?

Yes, it isn’t nice when you consistently jump-start your car. If your car’s battery runs down repeatedly, thereby requiring a jump start, it could damage your car’s alternator and eventually kill the battery completely.

It would be best to take your car to an auto mechanic to find out why your car won’t start without a jump start. The problem is usually a result of corrosion, loose connections, weak battery life or dead battery, etc. If this is the case, you should clean battery corrosions, check for loose connections, tighten them, or change the battery. If otherwise, let the mechanic repair any faulty component that is responsible for the problem.

What happens if u hook up jumper cables wrong?

If you mistakenly hook up jumper cables wrongly, the dipole-dipole intermolecular forces between the car’s electrical system and the dead battery will experience a reversal for a moment. This occurrence can completely damage most of the sensitive electronic components of the car, such as electronic sensors, onboard computers, etc.

Be extremely careful never to hook the jumper cables wrongly on a car’s battery, especially in modern vehicles with diverse electronic components.

Do I turn my car off before removing the jumper cables?

It is ideal for you to turn off the engine of both cars before removing the jumper cables. The jumper cables must be removed in the reverse order to how the clips were fixed, starting from the black clips from your car (the car with the flat battery) and ending with the red clip from the other car (the car boosting the flat battery).

How long should you leave jumper cables on?

You wouldn’t have to leave jump starter cables on when starting older cars; they could start immediately after connecting the cables and starting the car with the powered battery.

However, modern cars with computerized systems would require you to leave jumper cables on for about 5 to 10 minutes before starting the car with a flat battery. The waiting time may be more in some cases.

how to jump start a car with a spare battery

Final Words

Understanding how to jump-start a car would save you from being stranded when that becomes the only option you have to start your car and continue your journey.

You need to buy a portable jump start car toolset and keep them in your car’s trunk in case you would need them anytime. However, it is advisable to ensure that your car’s battery is in good shape before driving out. It would save you a lot of unnecessary stress.

Osuagwu Solomon

Osuagwu Solomon is a certified mechanic with over a decade of experience in the mechanic garage, and he has over five years of experience in the writing industry. He started writing automotive articles to share his garage experience with car enthusiasts and armature mechanics. If he is not in the garage fixing challenging mechanical problems, he is writing automotive repair guides, buyer’s guides, and car and tools comparisons.

2 thoughts on “How to Jump Start a Car by Yourself and Without Another Car?

  1. Good info thanks! I keep a small lithium battery bank / jump starter (that I highly recommend) in our Pathfinder! Any tips on how to jump a diesel truck like my Ford 6.7L with 2 batteries? Thanks

  2. My car 1981 MB diesel will push start even with a flat battery…needs to be going about 20-30 mph…so I always park on a hill!

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