The Dangers of Jump Starting a Vehicle


How many times have you jumped off someone’s vehicle or had them jump start your car because it would not start ?  Growing up, a set of jumper cables was something that most everyone kept in their trunk.  However, jump starting a vehicle is extremely dangerous, can cause damage to both vehicles, and should only be the last resort.  Remember that in most cases, a dead battery is the result of something else that is wrong with your vehicle so proper diagnosis of the cause is a must.  Preventative maintenance is so important, and the goal is to replace your aged battery before it leaves you stranded on the side of the road.  

Here are a few tips to consider before jump starting any vehicle:

  • Check the battery casing before attempting to jump start.  If it is hot to the touch, wait until it cools
  • Remove any jewelry or other metal that may come in contact with the battery.  These items may short the battery and cause you harm 
  • Wear gloves and protective eye gear as battery acid is extremely corrosive, toxic and can burn skin on contact
  • Smell the battery.  If it smells like a rotten egg, that means the battery is leaking hydrogen gas and jump starting could cause an explosion    
  • Do not smoke anywhere near the battery.  Spark = boom
  • Ensure that the vehicle is out of gear and the emergency brake is applied
  • Make sure that you connect positive to the positive terminal and negative to the negative terminal 
  • Batteries carry between 12 and 14 volts of electricity & improper boosting can cause an electrical shock, not to mention shorting out your vehicle’s computer

While this list only skims the surface of things to consider when dealing with a battery, it hopefully provides some tidbits of information that you can carry with you.  If you feel at all uncomfortable when dealing with a dead battery, it is better to err on the side of caution and have it towed.  Das Autohaus can take care of your battery and any other automotive needs !