Giving jump starters: This is how bridging works

Mechaniker gibt Auto Starthilfe

Your car won’t start and the battery is to blame? If you don’t want to wait two hours for the breakdown service, just ask a nice fellow person if they can help you jump start. And we’ll tell you how it works – including step-by-step instructions, tips and tricks, and lots of useful information. This way you will be able to connect the jumper cable correctly in just a few simple steps – and give your car the jump start it needs. Are you ready? Here we go!


  1. Giving a jump start – with the right jump lead
  2. Bridge the car – note the order!
  3. Jump start and the indicator lights suddenly come on? You have to do that!
  4. Bridge the car – with a jump starter
  5. Giving a jump start – our conclusion

Giving a jump start – with the right jump lead

Before you get started, check whether the jumper cable is suitable for your car. In the Choosing the right jumper cable is it important that you the right measurements take. Why? Quite simply: A lot of electricity flows during the jump-start process. The cable heats up. If it is too thin or poorly insulated, it can start to stew. The result: Not enough current is flowing and your attempt to jump-start the car fails.

Good to know: Starter cables that are put on sale must have a certificate of conformity. Certain ISO standards apply to this. The following applies to starter cables: you should DIN standard 72 553 or. ISO standard 6722 be made.

Note jumper cable cross-section area!

We can recommend the following cross-section thicknesses for a well-functioning starter cable:

So that you can give a jump start: Pay attention to the right dimensions for the jumper cable!

Tip: Do you already have a jumper cable in the trunk? If not, we recommend it as part of your basic equipment. It is inexpensive – in our shop you can find thin jumper cables from around €20. Simply click on the appropriate link in the table to go directly to the appropriate product. The great thing about it is that the cable doesn’t take up much space and can get you out of trouble quickly and easily in tricky situations.

Bridge the car – note the order!

Before you bridge the battery, you should check in advance where the battery is located in both cars. After all, the approx. 3 m long jumper cable must also be sufficient.

safety tip: If you’re standing on the side of the road or it’s dark, please safety vest dress and that warning triangle set up. Safety first!

But now to Step-by-step instructionsto give a jump start:

Giving a jump start – instructions

Step 1: Park cars

  • Caution: The cars must not touch!
  • Pull handbrake
  • remove key
  • Switch off both the on-board electronics and the lighting.

Step 2: Connect the red jumper cable

  • To do this, open the bonnet and attach the red jump lead to the positive pole of the full battery.
  • You clamp the other end to the positive pole of the empty battery. Note: Always connect the red jumper cable plus to plus!

Step 3: Connect black jumper cable

  • Connect the black jumper cable to the negative terminal of the full battery.

Danger: That other end of the black cable does not come to the negative pole of the empty battery, but to the therefor given mass point. This is usually located on the body next to the battery; The info is in the owner’s manual for your vehicle. If no ground connection is provided for this, you can alternatively the cable on a any unpainted engine part in the engine block or engine compartment of the empty vehicle. Note here: minus mass!

Step 4: Start the engine of the donor vehicle and accelerate

  • Now start the engine of the donor vehicle and give it a little gas.

Step 5: Start the engine of the empty vehicle

  • Now you can start the engine of the empty vehicle.

Important: do now all power guzzlers in the receiver car such as light or heating on! In this way you avoid voltage peaks when removing the cable, which can damage the electronics of your car. Let both vehicles connect and run for about a minute.

Step 6: Remove jumper cables

  • Now you can control the engine of the donor cars turn off. Ideally, the recipient car keeps running.
  • Install the jumper cable reverse order off again. So first disconnect the black wire from the donor car, then from the recipient car. Repeat the same with the red wires. And leave it at that Keep the engine of the breakdown car running.

Step 7: Recharge the battery

  • The last step is to recharge the battery. That means driving for at least one to two hours.
Pro Tip: To ensure that your battery is charged safely without being damaged later, you should then charge it let it fully charge overnight. There are cheap devices for this – such as the battery charger from Bosch from our shop. This allows you to charge your battery without having to remove it. Handy, right?

Another tip: If the receiver car goes out again when you disconnect the cable, you most likely have a defective battery or alternator.

Bridging the battery in different vehicle types – that’s what matters!

Is every vehicle suitable when it comes to jump-starting another car? Here is a small overview of common vehicle types:

  • Diesel ↔ petrol?
  • car ↔ truck?
  • Car ↔ motorcycle?

In general, a car with Gasoline engine to jump start a diesel vehicle give and vice versa. Provided:

  • The voltage on the batteries of both vehicles is the same.
  • And the gasoline engine gives enough gas as a donor car so that the battery does not drain.

This is also the prerequisite for a jump start between car and motorcycle. If the motorcycle also has a 12V battery, nothing stands in the way of a jump start.
Only in the case of cars and trucks does neither party benefit from jump-start assistance. The voltages are too different. So, hands off!

Jump start and the indicator lights suddenly come on? You have to do that!

Now you’ve got the engine running again and are driving around to properly charge your battery. But suddenly control lights light up… Don’t panic! This is most likely due to the fact that your battery was really completely empty before the jump start. This is where the color matters:

Yellow indicator lights come on

When the indicator lights are amber, there are two options:

  • Drive a little further and wait for the lights to go out again after about 15 minutes.
  • If the lights stay on, you should visit a workshop.
  • In this case, experts will read out the memory system and make any adjustments.

Red indicator lights come on

  • In this case you should switch off the engine immediately and visit a workshop.

Bridge the car – with a jump starter

If there is no second car that can give you a jump start, there are also jump start devices – often called power banks or boosters. You take over the part of the donor car. You proceed here in the same way as when bridging with the help of another vehicle:

  • Attached to the device are two cables with clamps.
    • With the engine switched off, you clamp the red end of the cable to the positive pole of your battery, the black end to any unpainted engine part in the engine block.
    • Now switch on the power bank.
    • Now you can start your breakdown vehicle and switch on some energy guzzlers.
    • Let the engine run for a moment.
    • Now you can disconnect the power bank and start your charging journey.

Tip: Do not store the power bank in the car in cold temperatures. The cold attacks the battery and impairs the function of the device. The jump starter feels most comfortable at room temperatures. Just don’t forget to pack it when you go on a big trip.

Our tip: It is definitely worth buying a jump starter. Because with this you play it safe and you can give your car a jump start all by yourself, even on deserted roads.

Giving a jump start – our conclusion

It’s actually not that difficult to bypass your car battery. And if your battery is only empty because you z. For example, if you forgot to turn off the radio, you can quickly recharge it and get fit.

Another tip: If the problem keeps popping up, you should start troubleshooting. Do you drive too many short trips? Also check the alternator! And check if there might be leakage current that keeps draining your battery. If in doubt, contact your trusted workshop!

And here again as a reminder:

  • Always connect from donor to recipient car.
  • Red cable: plus to plus.
  • Black cable: minus ground!

Now it’s your turn: Have you ever given jump starters? Do you have any other tips & ideas on how to bridge a car battery? Then write to us in the comments!

Maximilian from ATP


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