Jumpstart your car

January 15th, 2004

Last night’s freezing weather totally killed my poor Renault Clio’s battery. I’ve had this problem once before just a couple of weeks ago but luckily my car was facing downhill and I was able to roll-start the thing. This time I wasn’t so lucky. Last night I parked my car up-hill. Not to be deterred, I had the random idea that rolling it downhill in reverse might still work. It didn’t. So I went back inside my house and phoned work telling them there was a high chance I might not be in to work today.

After a cup of tea and a couple of slices of toast I went back out to the car, hoping that all the hot water I’d poured over the engine might have helped. Surprise surprise, it hadn’t. I’d resigned myself to accepting that I was going be forced to take a day’s leave when along came a big old diesel parcel delivery van. It stopped bumper to bumper with my Clio. Hmm, I thought – that’s a rather advantageous place to stop your van. I cheekily asked the courier if he wouldn’t mind helping me jump start my unfortunate motor. He obliged. Ten minutes later my car was ticking over like normal. Great stuff. Thanks to Mr. Green Arrow I’m now at work to write this note.

I decided to look up the official process of jump starting a car since I’ve always made it up as I went along. Apparently, the way I do it is a little bit dangerous. I always connect the negative cable first and then the positive. I guess I should have realised by the amount of sparks that fly off the battery that this was probably the wrong way round. But I just want to get the thing moving. Anyway, the way I do it could result in the battery blowing up in my face, sending sulphuric acid into my eyes. Bad news. Now, thanks to this handy guide, I will always connect the positive (red) lead first.

I went out at lunchtime to buy a new battery from my favourite garage. I saved about twenty quid on the Halfords price which is good. However, the garage were too understaffed to fit it. So, that’s become my job. Seeing as I’ve been going about jump starting all the wrong way, I’ll be keeping this guide to changing a car battery close by my side. Of course I will also wear the protective goggles and gloves as suggested.

I’ve now added to my ‘essentials’ links on the right.