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Mechanic Cautions About Jump Starting Batteries

December 5, 2013, 9:56 PM by Shawn Neisteadt

Mechanic Cautions About Jump Starting Batteries

This latest blast of winter weather has been tough on people, but the upcoming cold could be even more difficult on cars.

You could say Marie Rentsch has already had enough of this latest weather. 

"I like snow as far as for Christmas, but this kind of stuff, no," Rentsch said.

That feeling of dislike multiplied Thursday morning when her van got stuck in the snow at the end of her driveway.

Another not-so-popular part of winter is stopping others in their tracks. Subzero temperatures are keeping some cars from starting. While you might be tempted in these elements to hook some cables up to your car and try to give it a jump start, those who work on vehicles for a living say, you might want to leave it up to them. 

"Back in the old days that was an awesome thing to do. Now days, you have to pay attention," Jerry Heirigs of J&M Transmission and Auto Service said.

Heirigs says jump starts can be difficult on new cars and that confusion can easily lead to a bigger problem.

"If for some reason you hook the cables up wrong it can cause significant damage to the computers and stuff inside the car. There can be thousands of dollars in damage if something goes wrong catastrophically," Heirigs said.

If you do choose to jump start or charge a battery, Heirigs says to be patient. Even good jumper cables can take at least 15 minutes to get a charge back into a dead battery.

As for Rentsch, just let her know when this weather warms up.

"I think I should just stay home, not go to work, bundle up in a nice warm blanket and maybe some nice hot coffee, that would be my ideal, nice winter day," Rentsch said.

Improperly jump starting a vehicle can damage both vehicles. Professionals also suggest reading your owner's manual which will explain the proper battery charging and replacement methods for that particular car.

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