Do you know how to use a portable jump starter? No worries if you don’t. This article has all the necessary information. If you have been driving a vehicle or a motorbike for some time, you’ll understand that your battery can disappoint you when you least expect it.
There’s nothing as embarrassing as not being able to start your car after driving to your girlfriend’s place. You’ll crank the engine only to find out that the battery of your car is weak.
It could also happen when you’re in a hurry to leave home so that you can catch an important meeting. And when your car does not start, you have to find a way to recharge the battery or have it jumpstarted with the battery of another vehicle.
This is why a portable jump starter kit is a must-have for every vehicle owner/user. If your battery can no longer start your car, you can jumpstart it with a portable jump starter. The steps are quite easy and we’ll walk you through them here and now.
In addition, we will also answer some of the most frequently asked questions about portable jump starters. So, sit back and read the article to the end.
How To Use A Portable Jump Starter – 8 Easy Steps
We have made the steps so simple that even if you’ve never used a portable jump starter before, you should understand them.
Step 1 – Read The Manual
Although the steps to use all jump starters have been given below, we will still advise you to study the manual that comes with yours. This will help to prevent confusion. Your car and the jump starter must be off before you begin the process.
Step 2 – Wash Off Corrosion
Check the terminals of your battery for any corrosion. If there is, you can wash the terminals. Corrosion prevents the jump starter clamps from having a firm grip on the battery terminals.
Step 3 – Connect The Red Clamp To The Positive Battery Terminal
First, you need to identify the positive and negative battery terminals. The positive head is usually labeled as “P”, “POS”, or “+” while the negative head is labeled as “N”, “NEG” or “ – “. If you don’t see any label, you need to seek help from a professional. You should never guess which one is positive or negative.
Mistaking positive for negative terminal head could lead to an explosion. So, you need to be sure about the polarity of the battery terminals. Moreover, you need to identify the positive clamp and negative clamp of your jump starter. This is quite easy. The red clamp is the positive one, while the black one is the negative one.
Step 4 – Clamp The Positive Battery Terminal
Fix the positive clamp on the positive battery terminal. Make sure it is as firm and tight as possible. It may not work if it’s not firm. Don’t forget that the red clamp is the positive clamp.
Step 5 – Clamp A Metal Frame
You should fix the negative jump starter clamp to a metal frame in the body of the car. It has to be far from the battery and any component that takes fuel. Also, make sure it is very firm. Remember, the negative clamp is the black one.
Step 6 – Turn On The Jump Starter
Check the connections again and be sure there’s no mistake before you switch the jump starter on.
Step 7 – Start Your Car
Now, you can start your car. Your car should start immediately. If it does, leave it on for about 5 minutes before you move. Don’t crank it longer than 5 seconds. If it does not start, leave it for at least 2 minutes before you make another attempt. If after 4 attempts, it still does not start, it is not likely to start.
It is either the battery is flat dead, or there’s another reason your car isn’t starting. And if the jump starter is able to start your car, don’t forget to recharge it as soon as your can. It has to be fully charged all the time.
Step 8 – Turn The Jump Starter Off
Once you’re through with the device, you can turn it off while its clamps are still firmly connected. Then, you can remove the black (negative) clamp first. After that, you can remove the red (positive) clamp. Let the can run for some minutes before zooming off.
That’s it. You can see that it is quite easy to use a jump starter even if you’ve never used it before.
Why Is My Portable Jump Starter Not Working?
There are several reasons why your portable jump starter may not work. First, it may be completely depleted. Maybe you didn’t charge it after your last use. Or you stored it where it got heated, and it lost its charge. Another possibility is leaving it for a long time. If you leave your jump starter for more than 3 months, it is likely to lose its charge.
This is why you’re advised to check and charge your jump starter every 3 months if not used. So, if your jump starter is not working, the next step is to charge it. If it still does not work after charging it, you might need to check its cables. Be sure all the cables are intact.
If the cables are okay, it might be an internal problem. You need to take it for repairs. A good jump starter usually lasts for about 6 to 10 years, but there are several low-quality jump starters around. Another reason why your jump starter may not work is that it has reached its life span. It may have packed up.
This is why you should always go for high-quality and trusted jump starters. We understand that high-quality jump starters are usually expensive. They are still more cost-effective in the long run. Which option is smarter and cheaper?
Jump Starter A costs $40, but it will last for at least 6 years.
Jump Starter B costs $10, but it may not last more than a year.
Someone who went for option A will still be enjoying his jump starter after 6 years, but someone who went for option B would have bought 6 jump starters after 6 years. He would have spent $60 ($10 x 6) instead of spending $40 on a durable jump starter. So, it is always smarter and cheaper to buy higher-quality jump starters.
Can You Charge A Car Battery With A Portable Jump Starter?
No, you can’t charge a car battery with a jump starter. The device isn’t designed to charge any battery. What the jump starter does is to give the battery an instant, powerful flow of current enough to start a car. And when a car starts running, its alternator will then charge the battery.
Car batteries don’t easily lose charge. If you mistakenly leave a light or an appliance on in your car after turning the ignition off, your battery could lose its charge. If the electrolyte in your battery needs a change, your battery will get weak quite often.
Therefore, if you have to jumpstart your car battery more than twice a week, something is wrong with your battery. Let a professional check it.
How Long Do Portable Jump Starters Last?
As explained above, a good jump starter lasts for about 6 to 10 years, but it also depends on how you use it. If you don’t charge it regularly, it may pack up sooner than later. Also, you should not store it in the trunk of your car. It could dangle around as the car moves and may get damaged. Instead, you should fasten it to a point.
And if you won’t use the jump starter in a long time, you should always charge it after every 3 months. Now, let’s talk about how long its charge lasts. When you charge your jump starter to capacity, it should help you jump start cars for up to 3 months.
However, if you don’t store it in a cool, dry place, it may lose its charger sooner. What makes a portable jump starter lose its charge faster is heat. If you keep it in a hot place, your jump starter will lose its charger faster.
How Often Do You Have To Charge A Portable Jump Starter?
It is advisable to charge your portable jump starter after every use. Also, it is necessary to keep your jump starter fully charged all the time. Some of them have an indicator that alerts you when a charge is necessary. We understand that if your battery is in top condition, you may not need to use your jump starter for a long time, and it’s quite easy to forget about it.
This is why it is best you keep your jump starter in the trunk of your car, where you’ll see it all the time. If you have not used it in 3 months, you need to charge it. If it stays without charge for over 6 months, it may stop working.
And when you’re charging the device, an orange or a red light indicates that it is charging, while a green light shows that it is fully charged. You can remove it.
Where Can I Buy A Portable Jump Starter?
You can get a jump starter on Amazon and several other online and offline stores. We will suggest that you purchase it on Amazon because the platform offers competitive prices. There are many vendors for jump starters, so there’s huge competition among them. That’s why the prices on Amazon are usually the best.
Secondly, whatever you buy on Amazon automatically comes with a 30-day return window. So, if you don’t like your jump starter, you have 30 days to return it and get either a full refund or a replacement. Once you purchase a jump starter, you should try it out within the 30-day return window, so if something is wrong with it, you can easily return.
Another reason to purchase your jump starter from Amazon is that every product on the platform has several user reviews. The reviews will let you know if the product is a good one or not. You should purchase only a portable jump starter with a high Amazon rating and good reviews.
In everything, your safety should always come first. That’s why you should apply the following safety tips.
You Should Never Guess Which Battery Terminal Is Positive Or Negative
If the terminals of your battery are not labeled as explained above, or its label has cleaned off, don’t guess. Consult a professional. He knows how to detect which of them is positive. And when he eventually detects the positive and negative one, you should label or mark each of them to avoid costly mistakes.
As for the jump starter clamps, the red one is the positive one while the negative one is the black one. That is the standard for all portable jump starters.
Don’t Overcharge It
As much as you want to keep your jump starter fully charged always, you shouldn’t overcharge it. Follow its charging indicator lights. You’ll see an orange, amber, or red light when it is charging, and a green light will appear when it is fully charged.
Don’t Try To Fix It
If your jump starter isn’t working, don’t try to fix it yourself. You’re likely going make the problem worse. Get it fixed by a professional
Keep It In A Cool Place
Jump starters don’t like heat. The more the heat around them, the faster they will lose their charge. Besides, excessive heat could damage their cables or casing. So, you should always store your jump starter in a cool place.
To conclude this piece, we’ll remind you to always keep your jump starter fully charged always if you don’t want it to disappoint you when you need it most. Also, store it in a cool, dry place. Most importantly, buy a trusted and tested brand.