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Improper jump start

This morning my beautiful wife needed a jump start for her '05 Chrysler van; this seems to happen about once a month because she leaves something on. I had her connect the cables on the dead van but she connected the positive to the negative terminal and vice versa. After correcting the cables the van started but as soom as I disconnected the jumper cable it died and there was a clicking which I believe was coming from the fuse box. Any thoughts on what was messed up and where should I start to diagnose the issue? Thanks,


Did you connect the jumper cables to the “good” vehicle before or after you discovered the POS/NEG error and corrected it?

It’s possible to do significant damage to a modern vehicle by crossing the cables, even for a brief time.

Will the van start and run now?

It was connected to the runnng “good” vehicle before it was realized. I have not tried to start it again. Just the one time that it started and stopped once the cables were disconnected. The clicking from around the fuse box still was happening after the keys were removed from the ignition.

You probably have major damage to several systems. It is likely that the alternator is one of the things that got blown. Check all fuses.

Go into that fuse/ relay box and replace the clicking relay. It may be the starter relay that got fried–you tell us. Then, come on back for more ideas.

Would it start if that relay was fried? It started after the “incident” but it stopped running without the jumper cables from the good car. Are there other fuses/ relays to look at while I check this one out?

The fuse or fusible link for the alternator is probably fried and the battery in the van isn’t strong enough to run the engine.

I went home last night and re-jumped (correctly) the van and it ran fine. I appreciate all of the input. Thanks, Eric

Congrats on being lucky. I hope you learned that any time you jump start a car, have the same person connect both ends of the cables. Don’t ever share the responsibility.

The way I do it is I hand one end of the cables to the other person and say, “don’t let them tough each other.” Then I connect the cables to the good battery. Then I take the other end of the cables form her and connect them to the bad battery.