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How To Choose A Battery Jump Starter

By Money Pit


 

Don't Let A Flat Battery Ruin Your Day
Don't Let A Flat Battery Ruin Your Day

Not something that can be assigned to a winter problem, getting a flat battery can happen at any time of the year. It does however happen with more regularity in winter mainly due to longer nights and the use of your car lights in the late afternoon. The most common cause of a flat battery will no doubt be leaving these lights on but more modern cars are trying to combat this with auto off switching when you lock the car.

For the rest of us however we still must contend with at least one or two flat batteries throughout the year. For this reason it is wise to have in your emergency box a battery jump starter but which type is best to have.


Types of Battery Jump Starters Available

The most important feature of any battery jump starter has to be the ability to kick life back into a completely flat battery. There are some jump starters that will only work if the battery they are trying to start has not completely lost its charge. This is important to remember because if you return to your car and you can’t get enough power to start the car make sure you don’t keep trying until all power has gone from the battery.

The first type to point out is in fact not a battery jump starter no matter what the manufacturer says. Cigarette lighter chargers are just that they are chargers and not jump starters. The electrical circuit is not designed to have such a high voltage needed to jump start a car to go through it. These are ok if you have a friendly passer buy who doesn’t mind waiting the 10-60mins these items need to charge your battery enough to start the car.

Next would be the trusted jumper cables. These are something that should be in everyone’s car just in case. Basically they are two cables approximately 2m long with large bull nose clips on either end. You connect one set of these clips onto your battery and one set onto the battery of another car, whose engine is running. The idea is that you drawn the power needed to start your car from there battery. Although relatively inexpensive these need to be used correctly or they can cause damage to both batteries involved. Two things to always remember when using them is, always have the car engine running before connecting the batteries, no point in having two dad batteries, and ensure you know which clip goes onto which battery terminal.

Finally would be the emergency battery jump starters that can kick live into all but completely flat batteries. These units are small enough to be stored along with the rest of your emergency stuff yet powerful enough to start your car should you find yourself without anyone to help. They operate by holding enough charge to get your car started but like all batteries they will not hold this charge forever. You must ensure these units are maintained so that when they are needed they have enough power in them. They are simply charged from any household mains socket and only take a short time, depending on the manufacturer but doing the maintenance is the difference between having a stress free breakdown and carrying about a lump of plastic and metal that is no use when needed.


 

How To Start A Car With Jumper Cables

The video on the right goes through a step by step process of how to use jumper cables to get your car started using a booster car. There are two things I would like to point out about the video. One is use the video to understand how and in what order to fit and remove the cables to each car, this is important for safety and for the condition of the batteries being connected. The second point is that I would say always have the car engine running before trying to start the flat battery car. I have seen some cars drain all the power from the good battery and leave both cars stranded.