Tool-Time Tuesday: Jumper Cables

 

One of the most basic tools that every single person should have in their car at all times is a set of jumper cables. Jumper cables work by connecting two batteries together, allowing one battery to “jump start” another battery or car.

Getting stranded by your car is never a fun activity, especially if it’s very hot or cold outside. You hop in your car, and your heart sinks when the starter only clicks or doesn’t even engage. When you’re already late for work, this can be the worse. There is hundreds of reasons for a dead battery, but they all stem from some sort of electrical problem on a car. But when you need to get home or to work, jumper cables will come to the rescue. Are all jumper cables made the same?

In short, no. There are different levels of quality with jumper cables that will greatly effect how well they work. To start, you’ll want to make sure you get a set that have some good length to them. Otherwise your car and another car will have to go bumper to bumper to reach.

Secondly, and this the most important factor when buying jumper cables, is the gauge of wire. The thicker the wires, the better they will work. If you have really cheap cables with a thin gauge of wire, they will work but will take much longer to charge up the battery enough. Or they won’t allow enough amperage to jump your dead car.

More importantly than the length or gauge, is that you have a set in your trunk at all times. You never know when some electrical item might drain your battery while you’re eating dinner at a restaurant. Just like the Boy Scout motto says, “Be Prepared.”

About the author

Tim King

Tim grew up in the garage with his Father. From those early years grew a passion for anything with a motor. Helping his Dad and brother restore a '67 Nova is what fueled Tim’s passion for cars. At the age of 15 he bought his first car, a 1966 Chevelle which he still owns to this day. That car started his journey into the automotive world where he’s done just about everything, from being an auto mechanic to an aftermarket Sales Manager. Not only is he a gear head, but he also holds two Bachelors degrees from Cal State San Bernardino.
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