Jumping a Car Battery

In places that have cold winters (such as the place I’m in right now), cars that haven’t been driven in a while sometimes won’t start because of a dead or low battery. It didn’t happen to my car, but it did happen to a friend’s VW Jetta and I was asked to help jump start the car. I’ve never done a jump start before and also haven’t touched the battery of my car before, so this was a new experience for me. The friend had jumper cables, and connecting the cables is pretty easy and there are plenty of online guides (such as this one) on the topic. Basically, you hook up the positive terminal of the dead battery with one end of the red cable and then the positive terminal of the good battery with the other end of the red cable. Then you connect the black cable to the negative terminal of the good battery and then connect the other end of the black cable to an exposed metal part of the dead car’s engine bay. Once that is done, start the good car, and then try to start the dead car while the good car is running. Once dead car has started, keep it running and disconnect the jumper cable in reverse order of connection.

Although the process itself is simple, it took us a hour or so to finally get success. The main reason is because I’ve never messed with the battery of my own car and because my car is designed differently than most cars. Unlike most cars where the battery is under the hood, the battery of the Mercedes ML 350 is in the floor behind the front passenger seat. There are leads for the battery accessible in the engine compartment, but they have plastic covers and it took me forever to remove those covers. I guess the original owner never touched those leads and that might be why they were so hard to pull off. When we finally got everything hooked up and tried the jump start, it didn’t quite work. The Jetta made the cranking noise instead of the clicking noise when it wasn’t connected to my car, but it couldn’t start. Thankfully, another friend returned and offered up his VW Golf, and with the Golf we were finally able to jump start the Jetta. I guess it takes one VW to jump start another VW.

Anyways, this was a good learning experience. I’m not sure why we couldn’t jump start with my car, but it might have something to do with the design of the car. Perhaps Mercedes cars aren’t built for jumping other vehicles. If my car ever gets a low or dead battery, hopefully my friends’ cars can jump start mine. I’ll make sure to take my car for a spin every few days to make sure the battery doesn’t drain though.

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