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Jumpstart…your car

You leave the grocery store and realize that your car won’t start  What do you do?  Hint:  the correct response is not “cry until a stranger helps you” although that may work your ice cream could be melted by then.

However, because you aren’t a weepy girl you’re going to do the following:

  1. Ascertain that the car battery is actually dead.  When you turn it over it should do nothing.  If the battery is merely low, it will crank slowly and the lights on your dashboard lights may only flicker or appear low.  If your headlights are bright and your electronics are fine – the problem probably isn’t your battery.
  2. Turn off or unplug all your electronics.  Turn off your car.  Pop the hood.  Take a good look at your battery, is it damaged?  If it is, don’t jump it, call a tow truck.  If it’s merely corroded, plan to wipe it off with your towel.
  3. Grab your gear from your car.  You should have jumper cables, a large t-shirt to pull over your clothing, safety glasses, a pair of gloves, your towel and baby wipes to clean yourself up afterward.
  4. Flag down a friendly stranger.  When he sheepishly admits that he doesn’t know how to jump start a car tell him, “It’s okay cupcake, I do.” (Well maybe you should just say thank you.)
  5. Have him arrange his car so that his battery is close your battery but his car is not touching your car.  Then ask him to turn off or unplug all of his electronics.  Have him turn off his car and pop the hood.
  6. Check to ensure you know which is the negative and which is the positive on both batteries.  It’s usually red = positive and black = negative but better safe than sorry.
  7. Before you start – make sure the that positive and negatives ends never touch each other after they’re attached to the batteries.
  8. Connect the positive jumper cable to the positive terminal on the dead battery.  Then connect the positive jumper cable to the positive terminal on the good battery.
  9. Connect the negative jumper cable to the negative terminal on the good battery.  Then connect the negative jumper cable to any clean, unpainted metal surface under the hood of your car (like a bolt).  Do not attach it to the dead battery.
  10. Start the good car and let it run for a minute.  Then turn it off.
  11. Start the disabled car.  If it didn’t work, you may have to try again.  If it continues not to work, you may need to call a tow truck.
  12. Remove the cables in the reverse order that they were connected.  Again, don’t let them touch.
  13. Thank the stranger and help him put his car back in order.  Clean yourself up.  Put your gear back in your car.
  14. Run your car at least 30 minutes to recharge your battery.
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