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Safety Tips for Removing and Jumpstarting Your Car Battery

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Your car battery is responsible for powering the vehicle's electrical components during start-up and when the car engine isn't running. Proper use and maintenance are essential to extending the life of your battery, as well as keeping you safe. Whether you need to remove the battery or jumpstart it, there are important handling tips to prevent injury and damage.

Removing the car battery

You may need to remove the car battery to replace it, replenish the liquid or inspect its efficiency. Car batteries carry enough charge/power to cause fatal injury, which is why you should be careful to do the following.

Put on long (preferably arm length) insulated gloves to protect you from the current or acid spills on your skin. Safety goggles and/or face shields are also advisable in case there is leakage of corrosive agents. Remove any jewellery to avoid accidental contact with battery parts and the resulting shock and potential injury.

Do not attempt removal while the battery is running as the agents inside the battery are flammable and ensure your work area is well ventilated to allow harmful gases to escape and be neutralised.

Use some form of restraint or covering, such as zip ties, to ensure the cables remain in the rightful place when removing the battery. Similarly, considering using a dry cloth to ensure metal parts do not touch. If these cables touch, they could create a spark and light up the battery's flammable contents.

Jumpstarting the battery

Similar rules apply to having protective clothing as mentioned above. But when you are jumpstarting the car, keep these tips in mind as well.

Keep away all sources of sparks, for example lit cigarettes, as running batteries release explosive gases that are easily ignitable.

Ensure you're jumpstarting batteries of similar voltage. Mismatched batteries can result in grave damage to both vehicles. Consult the owners' manual of both vehicles for direction. Also ensure the vehicles are close but not touching. Longer cables lose more power along the way and can cause your jumpstart to fail. Both vehicles need to be in neutral or park. Do not lean over either car's battery when jumpstarting. Sparks can fly and injure your face.

Ensure all electrical loads are turned off. This includes the AC system, car radio, hazard lights, headlights, indicator lights, etc. Accessories such as cell phone chargers should also be disconnected to prevent damage from a possible power surge during the jumpstart.

If the battery is frozen, allow it to warm up before jumpstarting. Frozen batteries can cause an explosion if you attempt to jumpstart without warming first.