Updated: May 27, 2015
Jumper Cable Reviews:One of the most critical accessories you can own for your car is a good set of jumper cables. Dead car batteries are a fact of life and over your lifetime you are bound to have at least 1 time where you will need to jumpstart your car with jumper cables. The process is pretty easy once you have the jumper cables in place. You need to attach the cables to a car with a strong battery and then connect the other cables to the car with the dead battery. Once the good car is started, it gives the dead battery a "boost" and you should be able to start the car with a dead battery. Both my wife and I own a set of booster cables and we keep them securely in our trunks just in case we need them out on the road or in a parking lot someday when we have a dead battery. For safety reasons, it's important to carry jumper cables no matter where you go. I have used my battery cables several times in helping others out with a dead battery. They are inexpensive to buy ($20 to $50) and never need replacing as they should last a lifetime. Almost any auto parts store will carry them - places like Schucks, Napa Auto Parts, or AutoZone. You will find them in stores and online, even at sites like Amazon.com.
Using jumper cables is not that complicated if you are somewhat familiar with your car battery. I recommend that all car owners at least know where their battery is and be able to locate the positive(+) and negative(-) charges on the battery. If you can do that, then using booster cables is easy. Essentially you connect the positive cables first - put it on the positive connector on the car with the dead battery first then follow with the positive connector on the good battery. Then put one negative jumper cable on the good battery. The only tricky part is placing the last negative connector cable onto a "ground" on the car with the bad battery. You can just clip the cable to the metal frame of the car with the dead battery. We found two websites that walk car owners through the process - one with photos of each step and the other has an actual video you can watch to see how it works to set up the jumper cables and jumpstart your car. Go HERE for step by step instructions with photos or go HERE and watch the video at eHow.com on "How to Start a car with jumper cables". Once you have the cars connected with the proper cables to the correct positive/negative areas of the batteries, start the engine of the good car and rev the engine a bit, then attempt to start the engine of the other car with the dead battery. You should be able to start the car at this point if all connections are ok and the battery was the problem. At this point you take the cables off the batteries and cars in reverse order that you put them on. You'll want to drive the car that had the dead battery around for about 20 minutes in order to fully charge the battery going forward. It would be a good thing to take the car with that had the dead battery into the shop and get it looked at to make sure the battery is still ok. There are a variety of jumper cables you can buy at the store, some are basic, some are heavy duty with long cables (20 feet or more), others have glow in the dark polarity indicators, and there are a few expensive units that don't require a second vehicle in order to jump start your dead battery. RECOMMENDED - View the top rated jump starters here