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What Two Wires Start A Car?

What Two Wires Start A Car? Your battery dying could be caused by several things, such as leaving the lights on for prolonged periods, cold weather, or simply your battery aging. 

Regardless of the cause, a simple jump-start is all you need to resolve the issue. 

However, to jump-start your car, you’ll need to know what two wires start a car and have some special tools. 

Table of Contents

What Two Wires Start a Car?

Jumper cables, commonly called jump leads or booster cables, are wires with insulation of enough capacity with crocodile clips at both ends. 

Made of steel or copper, the alligator clips have an insulation to prevent inadvertent shorting. Also, the clips have a red (+) or black (-) mark to indicate polarity.

A pair of jumper cables should have a black and red cable. The cable’s color is an important indicator of where you should attach the cable. 

Connect the cables to their correct terminals to get a proper jump start. It would be best to connect the black cable to the negative terminal and the red cable to the positive terminal. 

Also, ensure the cable clamps are not touching anything except the target.

How to Use the Two Wires?

You’ll need to jump start a car with two important things: a power source (another car or portable jump starter) and a pair of jumper cables.

How to use your jumper cables to jump start a car using another car

  • Park the vehicles close to each other to easily connect the jumper cables to both batteries. 

However, ensure the cars don’t make any contact with each other to prevent the flow of electricity besides through your jumper cables. 

  • Ensure both cars are in parking.
  • Now connect the cable clamps as follows.
  1. Connect the red cable to the dead battery’s positive terminal.
  2. Next, connect the opposite end of the cable to the positive terminal of the working battery.
  3. Then, connect one end of the black cable to the working battery’s negative terminal.
  4. Finally, connect the opposite end of the black cable to an unpainted stationery metal piece on the other vehicle. 

Some people argue about connecting the black clamp to the dead battery’s negative terminal.

However, it increases the chances of an explosion or fire if something unplanned happens, such as, spars igniting hydrogen gas from the battery.

So, locate it somewhere else, like the chassis, alternator bracket, or grounding terminal, not close to the battery.

  • Now, start the car with the working battery to begin charging the dead battery. Sometimes, the battery might start immediately, but sometimes, it’ll require some time to charge. 
  • Then, try to start your car. You might need to try starting your car a few times for it to work. 
  • Disconnect the cables by following the steps below.
  1. Disconnect the black cable from the car that had a dead battery.
  2. Next, disconnect the black cable from the other car.
  3. Then, disconnect the red cable from the car with the working battery.
  4. Finally, disconnect the red cable from the other car.
  • If your jump start works, drive around for a few minutes to help your battery recharge. However, if your jump start fails, the issue could be more complicated, and you’ll need a mechanic further.
Jump Starting Dead Battery With Another Car

Jump Starting Dead Battery With Another Car

How to use jumper cables to jump-start a car using a portable jump starter

  • A portable jump starter is normally compact enough to carry around or store in your glove box or trunk. Check the user instructions, as not all can handle the high temperatures you expose your cars to during summertime heat.
  • Similar to when jump starting using another vehicle, ensure the car, auxiliary features, and portable jump starter are off.
  • Normally, portable jump starters have two clamps connected permanently to the device. The black (negative) and red (positive) clamps should remain separate at all times to prevent sparking. If your cables aren’t already connected to your jump starter, you’ll need to connect the red and black cables to the positive and negative terminals, respectively.
  • Now, connect the red cable to the positive terminal of your car’s battery. 
  • Then, connect the black cable to an unpainted metal piece on the engine or vehicle’s frame. 
  • Start the portable jump starter and try to start your car. Turn the ignition key and hold it for a few seconds if necessary.
  • If your car fails to start, give your battery pack some time to cool off and prepare before trying again. Doing so increases the energy sent to the battery during your next attempt.
  • Your car should start running on its own if you are successful. Now, you’ll need to disconnect the cables from the battery, starting with the black cable and then the red cable from the positive terminal.
  • However, if your jump-start fails, it could indicate further underlying issues. Therefore, you’ll need to visit a mechanic for further diagnosis. 

Jump Starting Dead Battery With Portable Jump Starter

Choose the Best Two Wires To Start a Car

Below are the factors you should consider when choosing the best two wires to jump-start your car.

Wire Gauge

Amperage determines the amount of current a car engine pulls when trying to start. If you drive a smaller car, you won’t need the same amount of amperage as a full-size SUV or large truck will need.

Sometimes, as little as 200 amps will be enough power to start your car. However, it’s not advisable to use a cable rated lower than 400 amps. Furthermore, in some scenarios, you might need more, something with 600 amps or higher.

Jumper cable ranges vary from 1 AWG – to 12 AWG. Depending on the scale, the 12 AWG cable is a lightweight option, whereas the 1 AWG is a more heavy-duty option. 

If you drive a regular-size car, a 6 AWG cable is often sufficient.

If you drive a bike, a 10 AWG cable will probably do the job. Since motorbikes don’t consume as much power as cars, smaller cables are enough for your needs.

If you drive a full-size truck, especially one running on diesel with a bigger battery, it is best to opt for a 4 AWG jumper cable. This thicker cable is ideal for jump-starting some heavy machinery.

Then, if you drive something heavier, such as a truck that requires a lot of juice and uses multiple batteries for power,  it’s best to opt for a 1 AWG or 2 AWG jumper cable. Also, such a cable is capable of jump-starting skid steers or other machines.

Furthermore, a 10 AWG jumper cable is capable of jump-starting a drained battery in mild temperatures. However, it’s not strong enough to jump-start a battery that’s completely dead. 


A 10-foot jumper cable is long enough if you park the two cars close to each other. However, this won’t always die in a convenient place; therefore, it’s always better to get a longer cable for flexibility.

Keep in mind the longer the cable, the lower the gauge because more current can move in the gauge. Hence, The 4 AWG is recommendable for most situations.


If you reside in an area with a cooler climate, it’s a good idea to get well-insulated jumper cables. If not, you might easily break the wire when removing your cables.

Furthermore, the cable’s insulation helps prevent it from wearing off. Once the cable wears off, it increases the chances of an arc that might shock you or your vehicle.

Although you can opt for a cheaper jumper cable that gets the job done, insulated cables are a better future investment.

However, based on the level of insulation included, you’ll have to pay significantly more for a cable.

Clip Material

The clamps attached to the battery are in charge of making a secure connection. This is the point of contact for the electricity moving between the batteries. 

However, after using the clamps for a while, they start to wear off, making the connection not as secure as before.

This is because, under the plating, manufacturers use steel as a base, and steel isn’t as conductive as copper.

Over time, as the plate gradually wears off, you’ll find it difficult to start your car.

Opting for copper clamps ensures you get a more dependable jump. Despite you repeatedly scratching the clamps from frequent use, they will still conduct electricity to avoid leaving you stranded.

It is not always easy to determine if your jumper cables are made of solid copper. Therefore, you’ll have to read the manufacturer’s product description in order to determine the material used in your cables.

If you’re buying your jumper cables online, it’s beneficial to first go through the customer questions and reviews.

Also, the price of the jumper cables could be an indication of the materials used to make the jumper cables.

If the jumper cable is cost-friendly, there’s a high chance it’s not made of copper clamps. Therefore, in order to get a cable made of more conductive materials, you should opt for a high-end option.


In case you suffer from a dead battery, you can now navigate yourself to solving the problem. Keep in mind when selecting your jumper cables there are a couple of factors you should consider.

If you have any further queries, feel free to contact Cloom.

Hi I am Christa, sales manager of Cloom.

I have extensive expertise and experience in wiring harnesses and I believe I can help you.

And we have a very professional technical team who can clearly understand the customer’s needs and give professional suggestions and solutions after receiving the drawings.

If you also have wiring harness needs, please send me the drawing so that we can give you our quote and start our business.

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