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Jumper cables

How to jump-start a car

With temperatures falling to the lowest point in a generation, here are some tips on the proper way to jump-start a car with a dead battery, courtesy of the travel club AAA:

For starters, position the working car as close as possible to the dead vehicle but make sure they don’t touch. Make sure both cars are in park or have the parking brake set, then turn off the ignition.

Open the hoods and find the batteries. Identify the positive and negative terminals, which are often marked red (+) and black (-). Use a rag to wipe them clean if necessary.

Attach the red (+) clamp to the positive terminal of the dead battery (remember: “red to dead”). Make sure the connection is firm.

Attach the other red clamp to the positive terminal of the battery in the working vehicle.

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Still at the working vehicle, attach the black clamp to that car’s negative terminal.

Back at the dead vehicle, attach the other black clamp to a piece of unpainted metal such as the frame or engine block. This keeps sparks away from the dead battery, which can give off flammable gas.

Start the engine of the working vehicle and let it run for a couple of minutes before trying to start the disabled car. It may help to step on the gas of the running car.

Remove the black clamps from each battery, being careful not to let them touch the other clamps.

Then remove the red clamps, making sure not to let them touch.

Let the disabled car run to recharge the battery or take it to a repair shop to have it tested.

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