What Happens if You Hook up Jumper Cables Wrong?

What Happens if You Hook up Jumper Cables Wrong

Sparks are the last thing you want to see if you’re connecting jumper cables. If you’ve accidentally hooked up jumper cables in the wrong way, you may have seen sparks fly or other unusual signs. Find out why it’s important to connect Duralast jumper cables the right way and what you can do if you’ve already hooked them up the wrong way. Learn from your mistake and follow these steps to keep you and your vehicle safe.

Can Jumper Cables Mess up Your Car?

Jumper cables are designed to connect two batteries to recharge a battery that has been partially discharged. If your car won’t turn on, you may have a fully or partially discharged battery. A fully discharged one won’t receive a charge and will need to be replaced, but jumper cables can boost partially discharged car or powersports batteries to help you start up the engine again.

Your car may not start if you hooked up the cables in the wrong order. Connecting the positive terminal to a negative terminal or another error in jumper cable use can permanently damage the lead-acid battery and other electrical components in your vehicle due to a temporary reverse in polarity.

Even worse, improperly installed jumper cables can cause sparks in your car’s engine compartment. Leaking fumes from the battery or from other components under your hood could ignite and cause an explosion.

What To Do if You Hooked Up the Jumper Cables in the Wrong Order?

Assuming that your battery didn’t explode, there are some steps you can take to restore your vehicle even after connecting the cables in the wrong order. Remove the cables and connect them in the proper order:

  1. Positive clamp to live battery positive terminal
  2. Second positive clamp  to dead battery positive terminal
  3. Negative clamp to live battery negative cable
  4. Second negative cable to unpainted, stationary metal piece

Use extreme caution when connecting jumper cables, as incorrect use can damage your vehicle or result in electrocution. After following the correct steps, your car may not start. The most common issue caused by incorrect jumper cable use is a blown fuse. Use your owner’s manual to find the fuse box for your engine control unit. This box typically has large fuses, between 40 and 80 amps, designed to protect your vehicle’s computer system. Inspect these fuses to look for signs of a blown fuse and replace the necessary fuse or fuses.

If your vehicle still doesn’t start, there may be issues with one or more electrical devices. You’ll need to inspect the spark plugs, fuel pressure, immobilizer system, direct injectors and a number of other components to find the fault.

Find out how to tell if your battery is dead and other helpful information online from a trusted auto parts store. Enjoy helpful information on essential maintenance steps to prevent injury and keep your vehicle running. Don’t let a jumper cable accident prevent you from solving a dead battery on your own, but use caution and find answers to all your questions before attempting to recharge your car battery.

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