Having a dead battery is not just frustrating and time consuming, it can be dangerous. Everyone should have jump starters in their car for those dreaded moments when your car does not start, but everyone should also know how to use the jump starters. It is the same thing as changing a tyre. It’s a skill you only need to learn once, or use once, and then you can always do it.
Always keep the instructions handy
You don’t really need to practice using jump starters (how do you do this anyway) but you really should familiarise yourself with your jump starters when you buy them. Ask the sales person at the auto repair shop to give you a demonstration. And honestly, only buy a portable jump starter that is contained in a box and where the instructions are clear on the box. This way, you do not need to panic. The step by step instructions are right there for you. Even the most inexperienced of drivers will know how to follow the instructions.
If you own an auto repair shop, always give your customers a demonstration. Even if they are ‘just looking’ offer to give them a demo. You will find they are more likely to buy the jump starters, especially the portable sets.
Keep your jump starter in the car
It is not exactly useful if you keep your jump starter in the tool shed at home. Keep your jump starter in the car at all times. If your jump starter is a portable battery operated one, lithium batteries have the longest shelf life. If you are buying from an auto repair shop, ask them for all details. And if you are an auto repair shop, selling jump starters, sell a variety but always stock the lithium battery operated jump starters too. This way you know your jump starter is always going to start.
The new portable jump starters are high tech, portable and compact. You do not have to have loose cables in your car, getting tangled up and making a mess. Portable jump starters come in a small easy-to-carry box, and they carry a punch. Provided you buy the right and good quality jump starters, you are not going to have a problem. You can store them in your car bonnet, easily, or even in your cubby hole.
How many amps are needed to jump start a car
It all depends on the size of your car engine, but also, on how old your car engine is. The average amps needed for a small car would be 400 amps, but for an SUV, truck or even boat, you would need approximately 1000 amps. If you are starting something with a large engine, you need a large jump starter. You should ask your sales person what amp jump starter is recommended for your specific vehicle. A jump starter, when you connect, might tell you how many amps you need, but this is a bit odd if you are already in the process of jump starting. Rather, do the research in the beginning. You can use a high powered jump starter on a small car, so it might be best to go for the 1000 amp jump starter in the first place.
What other equipment should you keep in your car
So we have said you should always have a portable jump starter in your car. You should also have:-
- A flashlight
- Red or reflective triangles
- A yellow vest
- A jack to change tyres
- A compressor to blow up tyres.
- A spare tyre.
- A blanket.
- USB charger.
- Snack bars.
- Your license and documentation.
Some of the above are connected to a jump starter. The good quality portable jump starters today have flashlights attached to them. Even if you don’t use the jump starter, you may well need the flashlight it has. This is the same with the USB charger. While many cars have multiple USB chargers, you can never have too many. And if you are travelling with kids, they can charge their portable devices as you travel. Also, if your car battery does go dead or your car dies for any other reason, you can charge your phone and get hold of an emergency service. But if you have jump starters, you won’t need the emergency service!
The triangles are for you to use if you are stuck on the side of a road and need to get out, in busy traffic, to jump start your car, change a tyre, or anything else. You want to put a triangle behind your car, and in front of your car, so other drivers can see you. And the yellow vest or jacket is for you to wear if you are jump starting your car on a busy road, also so other drivers can see you clearly and easily.
By the way, you really should always have water in your car, and a few snack bars. And it goes without saying you must always have your driver’s license on you, and documentation too.
Some would say you should also keep warm clothing in your car, windscreen wiper fluid, a car hammer (if you get stuck inside, perhaps in snow, you can hammer your way out), a snow scraper is a good idea, and also a first aid kit. We would never say to the first aid kit (probably as important as a portable jump starter) and all of these are good ideas and important.
How to choose the right jump starter
Ask the auto repair store salesman. If you have a small car, 400 amps is probably enough. But anything bigger, go for the 1000 amps, especially if you drive an SUV, van or truck.
Don’t get caught short with a minor car problem (a dead battery) that becomes a bigger problem if you don’t have the right equipment. A good portable car battery is a vital tool that you should always have in your car.