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How to jump start your car

Have you ever gotten into your car only to realise the lights were on overnight and now the battery is flat. do not fear... it's easier to jumpstart a car than you might think.

First you need a set of jumper cables. Then you need to find someone with a car who is willing to help. Make sure your valiant rescuer has a battery that is the same voltage as your battery.

Once you have these 2 things, follow the next 10 steps.

1. Ask your rescuer to bring their car bonnet close to your car bonnet making sure that the cars are not touching.

2. Ensure both cars are in neutral, both have the parking brakes on, but the car lights, radio and air-conditioning off. Open both bonnets and locate the batteries.

3. You will notice 2 terminals on each battery. One might be red and/or have a "+" sign or "POS" written on it. The other might be black and/or have a "-" sign or "NEG" written on it.

4. Firstly lift the red terminal protector and clamp red clip to the red/positive terminal of the flat battery.

5. Then attach the other red clip to the red or positive terminal on the charged battery.

6. Locate the terminal on the charged battery that is either black or has a "-" sign or "NEG" written on it. Lift the terminal cover and clamp one black clamp on the negative terminal.

7. With the other black clamp, find an unpainted metal part of the engine in the car with the flat battery to act as an earth (possibly one of the metal struts that holds the bonnet open, a bolt in the engine or a clear metal part in the engine). The clamps will almost certainly damage painted areas of the vehicle, so choose wisely.

8. Now start the car with the charged battery. After it has run for a few minutes try and start your car.

9. If your car starts, KEEP IT RUNNING as you safely disconnect the jumper cables, close your bonnet and thank the hero that helped you.

10. Now DRIVE for at least 15 minutes to ensure your battery has charge in it. Once you have driven for at least 15 minutes you can turn off your car. The longer you drive the car the more time the alternator has to replenish the charge in your battery.

If jump starting your car doesn't work, your battery may be beyond help and a call to your mechanic might be in order.

If a battery regularly goes flat or there is no good reason for it being flat (leaving lights on overnight for example) there may be a problem with the alternator (not charging the battery) or the battery itself may be beyond it's lifespan and no longer holding a charge. Good luck!

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