Is Jump Starting Bad for Your Battery?

Updated on July 5, 2020
electronicsguy profile image

Fernando the electronics guy is an electronics designer. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from UC Riverside.

Is jump starting another vehicle damaging to your own battery or electronics? Are sparking jumper cables a bad sight? Should I charge a super dead battery? Explanations to those questions, safety tips, and how to properly start jump starting another person's car battery.

Will I Damage My Car If I Give Someone a Jump Start?

The short answer here is maybe. Let's explain why.

12-volt batteries simply lack the power to cause significant damage to electronic components – not to mention one can usually find integrated anti-surge protection when charging. As a result, expensive car battery damage happens when you do not connect the ends of a jumper cable properly to both your car and the recipient’s car. Unless you are touching one of the leads to something else and as a result shorting one or more components of the vehicle’s delicate systems, there should not be electronic damage.

How you proceed to crank the car with the dead battery makes a difference. The safest way is to charge the dead battery using the good battery and, after the dead battery is sufficient to start, disconnect the cables and then crank the car with the bad battery.

The less safe way is to crank the car with the bad battery while the car with the good battery is running and both batteries continue to be wired to each other. This method creates a heavier load on the battery, requiring higher currents. Just the act of removing this load from the good battery can create a load dump – a moment where current falls drastically and voltage spikes momentarily due to the inductance of the field winding inside the alternator. This may or may not cause electrical problems.

The safer method is preferred, but make such a decisive action at your own risk.

My Jumper Cables Are Sparking. Is This Bad?

Sparking is dangerous as there is always a small probability the battery may explode, ejecting battery acid in your face. Avoiding this problem is exactly why it is recommended to connect the negative jumper cable to the vehicle body and not the negative post of the battery. Always place the jumper cables in the correct order and way.

Can a Car Be Too Dead to Jump Start?

In normal cases charging a too dead battery for a few minutes before attempting to start the bad battery’s vessel will work. But, in the case that said process does not work, the terminals of the battery may be corroded or the battery itself may be very old and beyond repair. In either case there is also the possibility the problem is found elsewhere – the alternator, a blown starter, etc.

Jump Starting Safety Tips

  • When jump starting, make sure you are not smoking.
  • Make sure the vehicle is in park.
  • Do not let the cables dangle from the car.
  • Do not use poor- and low-quality cables. Use high-quality ones.
  • Refer to your car manual for instructions.
  • Keep a wire brush handy for proper cable-to-terminal connection in the case cleaning battery terminals is appropriate.

The Electronics Guy's Recommendation

If you want to be the best at jump starting, you need to own the best.

For years I have paid for countless sets of jumper cables that were below $100. Nearly all have failed me up to this day. The following are the most common problems you'll face with a cheap set:

  • Corrosion
  • Low amperes [current] conduction
  • Bad contact
  • Self destruction of product
  • Having to crank/try more than once. This only happens with cheap sets.
  • Damage to battery.
  • Costlier
  • Damage to either yours or someone else's vehicle's electrical/electronics system

I personally learned my lesson years ago. I bought the following product -- a product I recommend to all my friends and family. It has paid for itself and I've never had the same problem again.

It really does pay for itself. You won't regret it.

How to Begin Jump Starting Properly

Sources

Admin (2016). Will I damage my car if I give someone a jump start? Serra Hyundai,

Alsop, Rory. (2012). Is it possible to harm your car by giving someone a boost. Stack Exchange: Mechanics.

Azuma, Tsukasa. (2019). Is sparking while jump starting a car safe or not? Car From Japan.

How to jump start a car. (August 22, 2016). Firestone.

Lim, John. n.d. 8 things you should never ever do when you start your car. Says.

How long should you charge a dead car battery? (April 10, 2018). Meineke.

Connecting the jumper cables. (October 27, 2010). [Photograph]. My Techie Guy.

Vallet, Mark. (December 3, 2015). The do’s and don’ts of jumpstarting a car. Your Mechanic.

McMahon, Russell. (January 10, 2012). Why is there risk of overvoltage when jump-starting a vehicle? Stack Exchange: Electronics.

How to jump start a car. (February 8, 2018). Holts Auto.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2020 electronicsguy

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, axleaddict.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)