The risks of jump-starting modern vehicles

There are 10 not-so-obvious jump-start facts to consider. Photo: Pixabay. For illustrative purposes.

The concept of jump-starting a vehicle is quite simple and you may have hands-on experience with the procedure but, did you know that this old-school ‘quick fix’ for a flat battery can cause serious damage to modern vehicles?

Battery Centre said in a statement that everything from traction control and reverse sensing to airbags and Bluetooth connectivity add to the complexity of your vehicle’s computerised electronic system.

“For this reason, vehicle manufacturers often require you to follow very specific procedures when jump-starting your vehicle. A small mistake can damage the computerised system and have potentially dangerous consequences. In fact, some manufacturers don’t allow jump-starts at all and you risk voiding your warranty if you do so. But if you have no other choice and you must jump-start your vehicle there are few things to consider first.

“While you may have a set of jumper cables in the boot, you may not be aware of the exact procedure and chances are that you don’t have the appropriate gloves and protective clothing and eyewear in case of an explosion.”

So, before hooking up the jumper cables, consult your vehicle manual and consider the below facts …

Here are 10 not-so-obvious jump-start facts to consider:

1. The two vehicles should never touch as this can create a shock that can damage on-board electronics

2. The live vehicle should be switched off, including all electronics, before connecting the cables to avoid an energy drain

3. The voltage of the batteries need to match to avoid sending a current that can burn out the electrical system

4. The key should be removed from the ignition before connecting the cables to avoid corrupting the coding between the key and engine control unit (ECU)

5. Rubbing the jumper cables together can result in high voltage that can damage the electrical system

6. Battery terminals should be free of corrosion and wiped clean before connecting the cables

7. Cables must be connected in a specific order and disconnected in reverse order to avoid shorting the electrical system

8. Always connect the positive leads of both batteries first, followed by the negative leads to prevent power surges or spikes

9. The last cable connection you make will likely produce a spark which needs to be kept away from the battery

10. The last connection should ideally be attached to an unpainted metal surface in the engine compartment instead of the battery terminal to ensure a good ground and lessens the potential for an explosion or damage to the electrical system

You can avoid the technicalities and unnecessary vehicle trouble with a free battery check twice a year at Battery Centre. After all, jump-starting your vehicle should be a last resort and not a go-to solution. If you notice a sluggish or failed start, your battery most likely needs to be replaced. A failed start can also be caused by the alternator, a malfunctioning starter or poor connection.

Do you perhaps have more information pertaining to this story? Email us at [email protected]  (please remember to include your contact details in the email) or phone us on 011 693 3671.

For free daily local news on the West Rand, also visit our sister newspaper websites

Roodepoort Record

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  AUTHOR
Clinton Botha
Editor

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