Your jump starter is one of the tools you need to make sure is sharp and ready to go. When your car battery is low or depleted, a charged starter can mean getting back on the road quickly and waiting hours for someone to help you - or spending money on a tow truck or other service vehicle. However, you should know exactly how to charge your starter and the safety precautions that come with it. The first step is to find out what type of starter you have and how your particular model works.
Different types of jump starters
There are several different types of jump starters out there.
The most basic of all these types is the jumper cable. Although this is not technically a jump starter, the cable does the same thing but requires another vehicle to work.
There are also plug-in jump starters, and recently, new jump starters have come on the market that are completely portable - some of which are no bigger than your smartphone - and can keep your car running even if the battery is completely drained. These portable jump starters need to be charged, which is the focus of this article.
How to charge your jump starter?
Charging a starter is usually very easy. Many of them simply plug into the wall and you'll need to charge them for a few hours until the flashing green light turns a steady green.
Some of the more exotic jump starters may let you know they are charged in a different way, but most of them will only light up a steady green. However, not every jump starter uses an electrical outlet.
You can use your car's cigarette lighter to charge other jump starters. With the help of these, you need to make sure that you only charge the portable jump starter when the vehicle is in motion. This way, you know that the battery is still charging even while the portable jump starter is being charged. Again, read the user manual or check the specifications before you buy.
When to test your jump starter?
You should test your starter regularly. One of the things that happens is that drivers forget to check their jump starter and leave it in their vehicle for months or even years, and then, when the battery does die and they need to use the jump starter, it is not there. There is not enough charge to start their vehicle.
You should check the jump starter regularly (when you don't need it to start the car) and make sure it's capable of providing juice to the battery; once a month is a good benchmark, although you could probably go once every six weeks and still be safe.
Make sure your jump starter is fully charged
This is therefore difficult to explain, as each jump starter has a different method of indicating whether it is charged or not.
Many of them will have an indicator light to show when the battery is low and you need to plug it in. Some of them will come with gauges to show exactly how much juice is left in them. Other starters do not have any indicators at all, although these are few and far between.
The best option is to read the user manual and determine what the charger will tell you when it is fully charged or about to run out.
Other portable jump starter
There are other uses for the portable jump starter that you may not be aware of. Many models have USB plugs that can be used to charge smartphones and other devices. This is one of the reasons why it is so sensible to buy one (or more) and keep it in your vehicle in case of an emergency.
As well as emergency supplies like torches, water, blankets and the usual parts of a standard emergency kit, you should also add at least one portable charger. If you're still unsure what starter jump starter to buy, then our best portable jump starters will be your ticket.
The most important thing is to first make sure you choose a good starter and then learn how to use it properly. You will need to read the manual and learn what the indicators mean and how to plug it into your vehicle to get started quickly - and how to charge it. Make sure you check it regularly so you can be charged if needed. You can also use it in an emergency if you need to make a call but your phone battery is dead. This makes the portable charger one of the most useful tools you can use in your vehicle.