As a teenager, I was lucky enough to have my own car — a 1988 burgundy Pontiac 6000 STE. It was very reliable — until I left the headlights on for about seven hours straight while I was at school. After classes ended that day, I hustled out to my car, turned the key in the ignition and … nothing. It’s a sinking feeling that I’m sure many drivers have experienced at one time or another — followed by the panicked question: What do I do now?
Luckily, I was able to call my dad, and he stopped by for a quick jump start (a procedure that mystified me at the time). Now, I have two backup plans in place:
Once you have the cables handy and a friend has agreed to let you use a working automobile to charge your dead battery, here are the steps to take, according to Edmunds:
The jump is meant to restart the disabled vehicle, not to recharge the battery. So, it may be a good idea to put the jumped battery on a battery charger, which you can buy at an automotive store, as soon as possible to help ensure that it’s charged to full capacity. If you’re unsure about the long-term health of your battery, consult a mechanic or a professional at an automotive store for advice.
Originally published September 2013.