The risks of jump-starting modern cars

10 not-so-obvious jump-start facts to consider…

The concept of jump-starting a car is quite simple and you may have hands-on experience with the procedure. But did you know that this old-school ‘quick fix’ for a flat battery can cause serious damage to modern cars?

Everything from traction control and reverse sensing to airbags and Bluetooth connectivity add to the complexity of your car’s computerised electronic system. For this reason, vehicle manufacturers often require you to follow very specific procedures when jump-starting your car. A small mistake can damage the computerised system and have potentially dangerous consequences. In fact, some manufacturers don’t allow jump-starts at all and you risk voiding your warranty if you do so.

But if you have no other choice and you must jump-start your car there are few things to consider first. While you may have a set of jumper cables in the boot, you may not be aware of the exact procedure and chances are that you don’t have the appropriate gloves and protective clothing and eyewear in case of an explosion. Before hooking up the jumper cables, consult your vehicle manual, consider the below facts and don’t hesitate to call the battery specialists at Battery Centre toll free on 0800 112 600. 

 Here are 10 not-so-obvious jump-start facts to consider:
  1. The two cars should never touch as this can create a shock that can damage on-board electronics
  2. The live car should be switched off, including all electronics, before connecting the cables to avoid an energy drain
  3. The voltage of the batteries need to match to avoid sending a current that can burn out the electrical system
  4. The key should be removed from the ignition before connecting the cables to avoid corrupting the coding between the key and engine control unit (ECU)
  5. Rubbing the jumper cables together can result in high voltage that can damage the electrical system
  6. Battery terminals should be free of corrosion and wiped clean before connecting the cables
  7. Cables must be connected in a specific order and disconnected in reverse order to avoid shorting the electrical system
  8. Always connect the positive leads of both batteries first, followed by the negative leads to prevent power surges or spikes
  9. The last cable connection you make will likely produce a spark which needs to be kept away from the battery
  10. The last connection should ideally be attached to an unpainted metal surface in the engine compartment instead of the battery terminal to ensure a good ground and lessens the potential for an explosion or damage to the electrical system

You can avoid the technicalities and unnecessary car trouble with a free battery check twice a year at Battery Centre. After all, jump-starting your car should be a last resort and not a go-to solution. If you notice a sluggish or failed start, your battery most likely needs to be replaced. A failed start can also be caused by the alternator, a malfunctioning starter or poor connection. Visit your nearest Battery Centre to get all the usual suspects checked by the trusted battery specialists.

Also read: How to put your dead battery to good use