How Long Does It Take To Jump Start A Car Battery?

How long it's taking to jumpstart your car battery totally depends on how you do it and ways to do it.

I’m sure you know what jump-starting a car battery means, but do you know how long it takes to jump a car battery? This is a question that has no straightforward answer. Nevertheless, in this article we will try to determine the length of time it takes to jump a car and the reasons why getting the right answer is almost impossible.

How much time is needed to jump a car battery? The “jumping” actually takes only as long as it takes to turn the key or switch on the ignition. A few seconds is all that it takes to jump a car. That is if the only thing wrong with the car you’re jumping is a discharged battery.

In some cases, it takes two or three attempts at “jumping” before the engine starts. How long that will take depends on you, the driver. But, if after the 3rd attempt, the battery is still dead as a dodo, stop at three because the reason why the engine won’t start may not be the battery but something else. Continuing to jumpstart the battery can result in damage, not only to the battery but also to the car’s electrical system.

If after “jumping”, you turn the key and you don’t hear a “click”, it could be that the booster cables are not properly connected with the terminals.

If the car starts after you jump it but the engine conks out again after “jumping” then most probably the problem is the alternator.

There Are Ways To Jump-Starting A Car

There are two ways to jumpstart a car; One way is with the help of another car and the other way is by using a portable jump starter. What we will discuss here in detail is how to jumpstart a car using a healthy battery of a donor car.

How To Jumpstart A Car With Another Car

For this method, you can either make a distress call to a friend or relative and wait for one of them to arrive or you can entrust your fate to the hands of a stranger, The second alternative is a bit risky, but is the quickest way for you to be able to get going again. You will just have to trust your instinct and your ability to read a person’s character on this one.

Before proceeding to jumpstart, there are things that you need to take note of and do, These are:

● Consult the owner’s manual of your car. There might be information there suggesting that your car should not be subjected to jumping.
● See to it that your battery is not frozen. Jump-starting and charging a frozen battery is a big no-no.
● Inspect your battery for cracks or leaks. Never jump start a battery with leaks or cracks. What you need is a new battery.
● Check the electrolyte level of your battery and see to it that it isn’t dry. Top off the electrolyte with distilled water if the electrolyte level is low before “jumping.”
● If there are signs of corrosion on the terminals of the battery, remove them with a brush, clean rag, or aluminum foil but never with your bare hands. Remember that batteries contain acid that is hazardous to your person.
● Make sure that you or the donor car has the appropriate jumper cables.

Step-By-Step Procedure

Step 1 – Position the cars

Position the two cars facing each other with about 18 inches separating their bumpers. For cars with automatic transmission, set the car on park; for cars with manual transmission, put the car on neutral. The two cars must have their parking brakes on to prevent unexpected movements. Switch off the engines of the two cars and take out the keys.

Step 2 – Locate the batteries on both cars and identify the terminals

Most cars have their batteries under the hood, but to be sure, consult your owner’s manual. Once you find out where the batteries are located, the next thing to look for and identify are the terminals. Be sure you can differentiate between the positive and the negative terminal

The positive terminal is usually labeled with a + sign, and the cap and cables are colored red. On the other hand, the negative terminal has a – sign beside it and the cap and cables are colored black,

At this stage, you will have to clean the terminals of corrosion if you see the white-blue powdery stuff.

Step 3 – Connect the jumper cables

Some word of caution: once you start connecting the cables, in no way should you allow the connector clamps to get in contact with each other. You and your good samaritan should hold the one end of the cable each, keeping the two clips isolated.

Connect the batteries, starting with the positive terminals. Hook-up the red cable clamp {positive) of the jumper cable to your dead battery’s positive terminal. Then attach the red cable clamp on the other tip of the jumper cables to the good battery’s positive terminal. Make sure that the connections are tight and solid.

Connect the black clamp on one tip of the jumper cables to the donor battery’s negative terminal, while the black clamp at the other end of the jumper cable should be attached to a nut of the engine block or any metal part of the car which is unpainted to make sure that the jump is safe.

Step 4 – Start the car with the good battery

Start the car with the healthy battery and let it run for several seconds. As mentioned above jumping a battery takes only as long as it takes to switch the engine on. However, if the dead battery is old or has been dead for some time, you might have to run the engine of the good battery a little longer than a few seconds.

Step 5 – Start your car with the dead battery

Turn on the engine of your car, at this point, it should already start. If it still doesn’t start, let the healthy battery charge your dead battery for a few more minutes before trying again. Revving the engine of the donor car might help in reviving your dead battery.

Step 6 – Disconnect the jumper cables

Once your battery is running, the jumper cables can already be disconnected. This time, begin disconnecting with the negative cable first, followed by the positive cable. Never allow the clamps of the cable to connect with each other while one end of the cable is still connected to any of the cars.

Step 7 – Recharge your battery with a short spin

After disconnecting the jumper cables from both cars, take your car for a short spin so that the alternator can recharge your battery. This is to ensure that it won’t die again when you switch off the engine.

When “Jumping” Fails

If after several attempts of jumping your battery, it still refuses to start, or it starts and after a while, it dies again, better stop before you do real damage to the alternator and the car’s electrical system. You need to have your battery tested. If the damage to the battery is irreversible, you may have to buy a replacement. But if the battery is good, there must be something wrong with the car’s electrical circuit or other engine parts such as:

● Alternator
● Ignition switch
● Fuses
● Starter connection

At this point, you might need to bring your car to an auto repair shop or car care center to have it diagnosed and repaired.

Jumping With A Portable Jump Starter

A portable jump starter is a device that stores energy or power just like a battery. And like a battery, it needs to be charged. It is used to deliver a shot of electricity to a dead car battery to start it. A portable jump starter gives a drained battery a powerful surge of power to start a car.

The biggest advantage of a portable jump starter is convenience. You can jump-start your car at any time and anywhere. You also don’t need to bother relatives and friends or the “charity” of some stranger to get your car with a dead battery running again.

It is a most convenient device to carry around since it is rather small and won’t add weight or occupy space in your car. In fact, it is too compact that it could even fit into the glove compartment of a car. And the good news is, it is not only convenient, but it is also quite cheap.

This article is also explained about the ways to jump a car battery without another car.


“How long does it take to jumpstart a car battery” should not be the question. It should be, “do you know how to jump a car battery”. Having a dead car battery to deal with is a pain. That is why knowing how to jumpstart a dead battery and have the car running again either with the help of a portable jumper or a healthy battery of another car is a big advantage.