Sunday, January 08, 2012

I totally jumpstarted a car today

We had to jumpstart our car this morning. It's a good Sabbath morning activity, don't you think? I went into the kitchen with the girls to get breakfast and Karen said, "Did you see the note about the battery?"

"No," I said.

Then she told me that the green car wouldn't start so Reid had taken the van to work. Andrew was the last one to drive the green car and, for some reason, had turned the lights on...even though he had run down to campus for one class on Friday. He drove home at noon. Who turns their lights on at noon?

This is not the first time he's done this.

I went to find him and said, "You're in big trouble. The green car won't start."

So after he'd showered and gotten dressed for church (because—obviously—you should work on your car after you're in your Sunday best) he started to work on the car.

First he verified that the car wouldn't start. It wouldn't. Then he pulled his mom's car alongside the green car.

Meanwhile I researched how to jumpstart a car (because, truthfully, we've never done this successfully before—the last time he killed the battery he killed it good and we had to buy a new one).

Then Andrew looked for the booster cables.

"Where are the booster cables?" he asked.

And then I found the booster cables for him.

Then Andrew stood there holding the cables and looking confused.

So I said, "Red—positive. Black—negative. Go!"

And then he stood there looking confused.

So I said, "You seriously didn't research this before you started? Put the red clamp on the positive thing on the dead battery. Then put the other red clamp on the positive thing on the good battery. Then put the black clamp on the negative thing of the live battery and the other black clamp on the negative thing of the dead battery."

He did that.

It sparked a little.

"Now you turn on the good car and then I can't remember what you do."

I ran back inside to check.

Do not attach the black clamp on the negative thing of the dead battery, I read...or at least something along those lines, unless you want your car to explode.

I ran back outside.

"Stop!" I yelled. "We hooked it up wrong. The car might explode or something...we have to hook the black clamp to 'something metal' on the engine, not on the battery."

He quickly turned off the good car and then unhooked the black clamp. But then we couldn't figure out where to clamp it and suddenly became very nervous about accidentally exploding the car.

"Do you want me to call a man?" I asked Andrew.

"No," he said.

I went inside to call a man. Unfortunately the man I called wasn't at home but his wife volunteered to come and help us (thanks, Sister Gillespie). We showed her what we'd done and she told us that was all right. And then we said we were too scared to continue. So she told us to put the black clamp on the negative thing on the dead battery. And we told her that we read that it might explode. So she helped us find a metal part to clamp the last clamp onto (even though she said she'd started cars using the negative node of the dead battery before).

It sparked.

"That means it likes this spot," she assured us.

Then we turned on Karen's car. And Sister Gillespie told us to try the green car.

And the engine roared to life.

And we were all very happy.

And then it was time to remove the clamps.

"So we'll just take these off," Sister Gillespie said, yanking the clamps from the good battery.

I gasped—because I read that you have to take them off in reverse order—but nothing bad the whole process isn't as complicated as the internet makes it out to be.

We left the car running until we were ready to go to church so that the battery could fix itself and then we took the booster cables to church just in case it decided to die on us again. But so far, so good.

I totally jumpstarted a car today.


  1. The car would not of exploded. The battery might if you hook it up positive to negative. I always hook up the cable to the pos and neg terminals of the bad battery and the pos to metal part of the engine on the good battery. This is so that if you do hook it up wrong you won't blow the alternator of either car. Although, it doesn't matter as long as you hook pos to pos and neg to neg (any exposed metal that is not painted, even the frame is grounded or neg and would work. I wouldn't suggest the frame, it is a weak connection and may not work very well.

  2. yeah, I've hooked it up pos to pos and neg to neg before... on the Safari the battery was in a weird spot so it was easier to hook it up to metal, but I've done it both ways. Good job guys :) Oh and Andrew, Sarah says that she loves it when you teach the class, you make everything much easier to understand so I told her I'd pass that along...aka you're her favorite (I told her she just wants a better mark ha!)