Jumper cables are used to start a vehicle with a dead battery. This must be done correctly and in the right order to avoid sparks or a shock. Once the vehicle with the dead battery is started you must drive the vehicle to charge the dead battery.
- Check whether you need jumper cables. If you turn the key and your vehicle makes a click, but won’t start, you will need the jumper cables.
- Unravel the jumper cables so that they are straight.
- Park the vehicle with the fully charged battery next to the vehicle with the dead battery. It is best to park the vehicles with the engines either facing each other or side by side. Raise the hoods so the engines are exposed on both vehicles.
- Attach one of the jumper cable red clips to the positive terminal of the dead battery. A “+” sign will indicate which terminal is positive. You may need to remove a plastic cover on the terminal to attach the red clip. The clip should be attached to the metal part of the terminal nub.
- Attach the other red clip to the positive terminal of the fully charged battery. This will also be designated by a “+” sign and the positive terminal will be slightly larger. The clip should be attached to the metal part of the terminal nub.
- Locate the black clip next to the red one you just attached to the fully charged battery. Attach this black clip to the negative terminal of the fully charged battery. This will be indicated by a “-” sign on the battery. The clip should be attached to the metal part of the terminal nub.
- “Ground” the other black clip to the engine block of the car with the dead battery. You do this by clipping it to any piece of metal on the engine. Don’t panic if your jumper cables spark a little bit when you do this. As long as you aren’t touching metal you won’t be shocked.
- Start the vehicle with the dead battery. It should start right up. If it doesn’t start check the connections on your jumper cables.
- Disconnect the jumper cables in reverse order. Remove the black clip on your engine block first followed by the black clip on the charged battery and then the red clip next to it. Finally, remove the red clip on your battery.
It is generally an offence to use on a public road, a vehicle of testable age that doesn’t have a current test certificate, except when:
- taking it to a test station for an MOT test booked in advance
- bringing it away from a test station after it has failed the MOT test, to a place of repair
- taking it to a place, by previous arrangement, where problems that caused the vehicle to fail its MOT test, can be repaired
- bringing it away from a place where the problems with the vehicle have been repaired
Even in the above circumstances you may still be prosecuted for driving an unroadworthy vehicle if it doesn’t comply with various regulations affecting its construction and use. Your car insurance may also be invalid.
The police can ask to see an MOT certificate for a vehicle that needs to have one. They also have access to the computerised records of MOT test results and can tell if the MOT certificate for your vehicle has expired.
It is your responsibility as the vehicle owner to ensure that the due MOT test is carried out in time. You can use the peel off reminder sticker on the front of the certificate and put it in a place where you’ll be reminded of the expiry date. A place like the sun visor or the back of the tax disc holder facing inside the vehicle.
The penalty for driving a vehicle on the road with an expired MOT certificate is a fixed penalty notice from the police, currently £60, or a court fine up to a maximum of a £1,000.