Dead car batteries are a very common situation that every car driver sometimes has to face. You often forget to turn off the headlights while leaving your car.
As a result, battery drains and you won’t be able to start your car. Modern cars have a number of digital devices which, if not turned off, can drain the car’s battery. In this article, we’re going to learn how to boost a car battery with a car booster pack.
Similarly, the problem often arises during the winter. The older batteries discharge quickly with cold temperatures. So, it becomes very frustrating when you need your car and instead finds out that its battery is dead. A car battery booster will help you overcome this setback.
In such a situation, the discharged battery is jump-started from a battery in good condition. A battery boost is what you need to get your car running again.
The common practice to jump-start a car is to solicit a jump from another vehicle using jumper wires. For this purpose, the jumper wires are connected between two cars in a specific order and arrangement. However, this method is not a smart and safe option, particularly for modern vehicles.
The new vehicles have many digital devices. Jump starting a vehicle with wires connected to another running vehicle is dangerous. It can create a voltage surge.
This increased voltage can damage the expensive electrical devices in either vehicle. So, it is not advisable to provide a jump to another car because it can damage your own car as well.
Read on to learn how to jump start car with booster pack the right way.
Opt for a Battery Booster Pack
A better alternative to jump-start your car is to use a Booster Pack. Also called a jumper pack or a portable jump starter. The booster pack’s battery gives the jump to the dead battery at a safe voltage. It is the safest method to jump-start a car if it is used properly.
In this article, we will discuss in more detail why portable jump starters must be used. We will explain how you can boast a car battery with a portable jump starter. We’ll also discuss the necessary precautions required during the process.
In the end, we will highlight some of the features of the available booster packs. Based on those features, we will present a buying guide for you.
Why a Booster Pack?
Normally, a running vehicle is used to jump-start a vehicle with a dead battery. But that has its risks.
The risks of using jump-starting a car with another vehicle
To do it, the battery of a running vehicle is connected to the dead battery via jumper wires. However, this method isn’t safe. Because it creates a voltage spike of 15.5 volts in both vehicles. This voltage can fry the digital devices in either vehicle.
This voltage spike can be avoided by leaving the engine off in the donor car. But, this can end up in dead batteries in both cars if the car with a dead battery won’t start right away.
Furthermore, you can do a lot of damage to yourself as well as your car if you make a little mistake in connections. If you connect both batteries in reverse polarity, you can damage both the batteries.
Even a little slip while connecting the clamps can result in a spark. This spark can result in an explosion. Because of the hydrogen gas being produced near the dead battery.
Besides being unsafe, it is often difficult to find a separate vehicle to jump-start your car. Suppose your battery goes dead and you are stranded on the side of a road at midnight or in some dark parking lot.
In such a situation, it is very unlikely to get help from any stranger because no one will stop to help you. Even if one so, that would be risky because one can have ulterior motives.
The advantages of Booster Packs
Therefore, a better alternative is to use a portable jump starter to jump start your car. The battery inside this gadget provides a boost to your dead battery at a safe voltage. Besides, it has several safety features embedded within.
For instance, protection in case of a connection in reverse polarity and many more. We will have a look at these features later in this article. If properly used, a booster pack is the safest method to jump-start your car.
With a portable jump starter kit, you can start your car without a separate vehicle. You also do not need any assistance from some stranger.
In addition, you cannot use hybrid cars to jump-start a car with a dead battery. Hybrid cars have a 12-volt auxiliary battery. It can be jump-started if it is completely drained. But, this battery can’t be used to jump-start another car due to its low capacity.
If you use this auxiliary battery to jump-start another car, it will get itself drained. Therefore, hybrid cars can’t be used to jump-start another car. Furthermore, the high voltage batteries in a hybrid car also cannot be jump-started.
Cold reduces the lifespan of batteries
Portable jump starters are particularly necessary for people living in extremely cold weather. In extreme cold, the life of the batteries reduces. They lose their half of starting capacity in severe cold. Most often, people living in extremely cold places won’t be able to start their cars in the morning.
So, they have to use some kind of method to boast batteries of their cars. Therefore, booster packs are quintessential for people living in extremely cold places. And for those who are planning to go on a trip to colder areas.
In light of the above argumentation, it is a good idea to purchase a portable jump starter. You would never have to worry about getting stranded with a dead battery if you have a charged jump starter in the trunk of your car. It can help you to safely jump start your car if you know how to use it properly.
Let’s learn how to do it!
How To Charge Car Battery With Booster Pack
Although most booster packs are easy to use yet you have to follow the necessary precautions. You can minimize the risk associated with jump-starting a car to absolutely zero if you follow the correct procedure.
The following are the safety precautions required for boosting a car with a booster pack.
- Always read the car’s and jump starter’s manual before jump-starting
- Wear gloves or protective clothing while making connections
- Use glasses or any other eye protection while making connections
- Remove jewelry and never put your face near the battery
- Make sure the vehicle is not near any flammable liquids or gases
- Keep the booster pack as far away from the battery of the car as the length of cables allow
- Remove the keys from the ignition of your car so that you be sure that car is completely turned off
- Ensure the jump starter is off before making the connections
Blowing up the battery and damaging the delicate electrical components of a car are two possible dangers associated with jump-starting a car.
These situations can arise from the spark while connecting the cables, from connecting the cables in reverse polarity, or by shorting the positive and negative leads.
The method of connecting wires to the dead battery is the same as that when you use jumper wires. However, using a jump starter gives you extra protection.
How to Boost a car with a Booster Pack
Let’s learn how to boost a car with a booster pack. The following are the steps that must be followed in order to ensure the safe use of a booster pack.
Step 1 – Fully Charge your Booster Pack
As a jump starter relies on a battery for its power, so it needs to be periodically charged. If you don’t keep the pack charged, its battery will degrade to the point that it won’t accept or hold a charge.
You need to recharge your pack after each use. Also, a jump starter needs to be charged once in at least 6 months. Usually, an indicator light tells you when it needs to be charged.
It is recommended to charge your portable jump starters before going on a long trip.
Step 2 – Set the Right Position
Position your booster pack in such a way so that the cables can easily reach the discharged battery of your car.
Also, the pack must be placed as far away from the battery of the vehicle as possible.
Step 3 – Turn off your vehicle and booster pack before connecting the clamps
It is necessary to turn off your booster pack before connecting the jumper cables to your pack if cables are not permanently attached. Doing so, will not result in a spark. This step can be ignored if cables are permanently attached to your jumper pack.
Similarly, it is safe to turn off your vehicle before connecting the cables. This will prevent any damage to the electrical components of your vehicle if clamps are not connected in the right way.
Also be sure to turn off lights, stereo, and any other types of equipment.
Step 4 – Carefully Connect the Clamps
With both booster pack and vehicle still completely off, connect the positive (red) jumper clamp to the positive terminal of the car’s battery and the negative terminal to any clean, unpainted, and non-moving metal part.
Choose any area on the car’s frame or engine block, far away from the battery, carburetor, and fuel lines. Also, make your that the clamps are tightly connected so that they can get loose when the car starts.
It is a common practice to connect the negative jumper clamp to the negative terminal of the car’s battery which is fine in most cases. The negative terminal of batteries of various vehicles is also grounded. It is connected to the chassis of the vehicle.
But connecting to chassis away from battery is preferable. Because the vehicle’s battery could possibly be giving off hydrogen gas. And a spark while connecting the clamps on the battery could result in fire or explosion. However, these chances are very rare with vehicles with modern car batteries.
Note: If you have accidentally connected the clamps in reverse, a warning light will indicate on your booster pack.
Step 5 – Turn on the Jumper Pack
When the jumper cables are firmly attached to the battery of your car, the booster pack can then be turned on.
Step 6 – Try Starting your Car
After turning on the booster pack, try to start your car. If the engine doesn’t start right away, do not crank the engine for more than 5 seconds.
When you attempt to start your car, the jumper pack is forced to deliver its maximum current. The jump starter is designed to give its maximum current in short bursts.
If you crank the engine for a longer time, it can cause the battery of the jump starter to overheat. Owing to overheating, the battery of your pack can be damaged.
Also, allow a good 2-3 minutes break after a 5-second attempt to start the engine. This will allow the jump starter to cool and also its voltage to recover.
Doing this will ensure that you get the maximum current when trying to start the engine again. Also, this practice increases the lifetime of your booster pack.
Step 7 – Turn off your Booster Pack and remove the cables
When your car starts, switch off your booster pack. Then, remove the negative jumper cable, followed by the positive one.
Step 8 – Recharge your Jumper Pack
After use, allow your booster pack to cool for a while. Then, it is good to recharge it as soon as possible, even if a considerable amount of charge is left in the device.
It is best practice to not let your booster pack discharged completely.
Choosing a Portable Jump Starter Buying Guide
There are a number of booster packs from different manufacturers and with different features in the market. You can find plenty of them on the auto parts stores with a price range from $50 and up.
But, each is compatible with a particular type of vehicle with a particular engine type. So, you must check the compatibility of your engine with the pack, before buying it.
The importance of Cranking Amps (CA)
You must check the cranking amps (CA) rating of the booster pack. The number of amps the battery of jump starter delivers during the jump start while maintaining at least 1.2 volts per cell is its CA rating. The booster pack with a higher CA rating is better than the one with a lower rating.
Usually, you need a minimum of 225 CA to jump-starts a 4- or 6-cylinder engine. If you have a larger engine or need more power, you must look for a booster pack with CA rating of more than 400. People living in a cold climate must consider a jump starter with a relatively higher CA.
Besides engine size, the age of a vehicle also determines the CA required to jump start it. The older vehicles require more amps to jump-start.
The CA rating must not be confused with the peak amp rating of a booster pack. Many manufacturers list the peak amp rating on their pack. Peak amp is not a reliable indicator of battery power. It is not an indicator of the pack’s ability to jump-start a vehicle. Instead, CA is this indicator.
Other important features
Moreover, a buyer must look at the size, weight, and power capacity of the pack. The pack must be portable and have enough capacity to charge your vehicle. Almost all jumper packs from reputable manufacturers have more than enough capacity.
The buyer must explore the compatibility of the pack with his/her vehicle. Different jump starters are compatible with different kinds of Gas/Diesel engines.
For instance, DBPOWER 600A 18000mAh Portable Car Jump Starter can be used on engines up to 6.5L gas and 5.2L diesel. While Suaoki U28 2000A Peak Jump Starter Pack boasts all gas and diesel engines up to 8.0L.
It is important to look at the safety features which a jump starter provides. Short Circuit, over-current, overload, over-voltage, overcharge, and overheat protection are common safety features which a jump starter must possess.
A good jump starter must also have good build quality and design. Its jumper wires must have clamps which conduct well. The clamps must also be adjustable to fit into the terminal of any size.
The latest jump starters have many extra features as well. Some booster packs have built-in air compressors to fill the air in the tires, i.e., STANLEY J5C09 Jump Starter.
Extra features to look for
Following are some additional features to look for in your portable jump starter:
- Built-in air compressor
- Spark-proof Technology
- Reverse Polarity Protection
- Flashlight/ Emergency Lights
- Digital Display
- USB Ports to charge your other devices such as laptops, tablets, smartphones, etc.
- Separate AC and DC Charging/ Power Outlets
Usually, the most affordable packs compromise on some features to meet the low prices. For that reason, avoid the temptation of buying the cheapest models.
Can you Charge a Car Battery with a Booster Pack?
This is a question I got recently: can you charge a car battery with a booster pack?
Not exactly. Let me make it clear.
A booster pack is not designed to fully charge your battery from 0% to 100%.
Its function is to provide your car and battery enough power to get the engine running. The alternator will then convert part of the engine power into electricity to feed the various car types of equipment and also charge the drained battery. As the engine runs it will charge a healthy battery.
Portable jump starters are, indeed, very useful. They can be used to jump-start cars with dead batteries safely. Though, you have to follow the correct procedures.
You still need to make the right connection in the right order. But, jump-starting a car with a jump starter is way easier and safer than using a donor battery/vehicle.
Reading this article you now know how to charge a car battery with a booster pack and what steps to take.
Portable Jump Starters are quintessential for people living in a cold climate. Because the dead battery is a very common situation in extremely cold weather.
Also, modern vehicles have more digital components. Thus, soliciting jump from another vehicle has become quite dangerous. Also, the auxiliary battery in hybrid cars cannot be used to jump-start another car. Therefore, it has become necessary to buy a jump starter.
While buying a jump starter, several things must be kept in mind. One of them is buying a booster pack that is compatible with your vehicle. You must look at the additional features of a pack as well before buying it.
Always check the booster pack’s characteristics before buying.
I hope now you know how to boost a car battery with a jump starter. Be sure to use it according to the instructions provided in this article and the user’s manual, to ensure its safe and sound use.
Also do check out our favorite portable jump starters reviews: