When I was in college, I used to park my car at the masjid and walk to class. Once, I had finished praying salah and was getting in my car to drive home when a brother knocked on my door and asked if I had jumper cables. Turns out his car wouldn’t start and he needed to jump it. I did have cables in my car but sheepishly realized I didn’t actually remember which color clips went on which terminal. Alhamdulillah, he did know, and within a matter of minutes, his engine was running and he was able to drive away.

Every Muslim man should know how to jump a car. It takes only a few minutes to learn but can really help you or a friend (or a stranger) out of a tight bind. Here’s a step by step guide to jumping a car.

First, figure out if the problem really is your battery

If your car isn’t starting for a reason other than a problem battery, jump starting the battery isn’t going to help you even a little bit. Some cars will have a warning light that looks like a little battery. If it lights up, the problem is indeed your battery. If your car doesn’t have that, a useful litmus test is to turn the keys in the ignition and then turn on the windshield wipers. If your battery is really near dead, the wipers will often move extremely slowly. This doesn’t work 100% of the time but it’s a handy tip to keep in mind.

How to jump start the car

  1. Make sure both cars are turned off and in park.
  2. Attach one of the red clips to the positive terminal of the dead battery
  3. Attach the other red clip to the positive terminal of the working battery
  4. Attach one of the black clips to the negative terminal of the working battery
  5. Attach the other black clip to an unpainted metal surface on your car, away from the battery. Do not attach it to the negative terminal of the dead battery. This has the (admittedly small) potential to cause an explosion, something you probably want to avoid. Some cars have a ground spot away from the battery specifically for the purpose of jumping your car. If not, one of the metal struts that hold the hood open is a good choice, or even somewhere on the engine block.
  6. Start the working car and let it run for 2-3 minutes.
  7. Say bismillah and start the problem car. Insha’Allah it’ll start. If not, double check that the cables are connected and try it again after five minutes. If it still doesn’t work, the battery may be too far gone to jump.
  8. Remove the cables in reverse order.
  9. If the car starts successfully, do not shut off the engine. Drive around for 15 to 30 minutes to recharge the battery.


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