Should it be a thick cable?
I bought one from Sears, very thin and wasn’t even soldered
I had good luck with good quality thin ones, but they were a little slow when you had to boost a really dead battery. Thicker is better and solder isn’t necessary.
The Heavier The Copper Wire, The Better They Work. Look For A Gauge With A Low Number, Like 4 Ga.
Some stay more flexible than others at lower temps. Look for that feature and it’s nice if they have a feature making them easy to use with both “top post” and “side post” batteries.
The thinner the cable usually the cheaper(hopefully) and the longer you wait (up to 10 minutes) between attempts at starting. The good thing about thin cables they are significantly less bulky/samller to store in your vehicle. If you like chancing it around with an older battery get the better ones or ignore those flicker red battery lights on the dash.
“Should it be a thick cable”? Define “thick”.
I like to get fairly long jumper cables, so I go for a 4-gauge cable. But they are harder to coil up, and take up more trunk space. And the type of clamps are important too.
Big is fine, but if your jump starting a 1 ton diesel off of a geo-metro, you’re wasting your time, battery and vehicle size are the biggest factors here; the bigger the vehicle, the more power you’re going to get from the alternator; the bigger the battery, the more power you’re going to get from the battery. as for soldering, I would rather not have it, if you bend and flex the clamps at the soldering (and you usually do) you could eventually destroy the solder, depending on how often you use it.
The thickest set I’d need can be found at a Wal-Mart or O’Reilly’s a 16-ft 2 ga starter cable, it runs around 50 bucks.
Don’t worry about the solder, most aren’t - which ones did you get? “thin” is relative…
Thicker is generally better. Thinner cables will let you charge a battery (if it will take a charge), but will not be able to deliver the current required to start a car with a bad battery that won’t hold a charge. A thin cable may get too hot to touch, the insulation may smoke or melt. The thicker the cable, the bigger the pipe, the better the flow.
Look at the battery cables on your car, the ones that connect the battery to the car. Jumper cables have to be AT LEAST that thick.
You want good jumper cables? Get a set of jumper cable alligator clamps at a tool store, and connect them with about 12 feet or so of arc welding cable. They’ll be better than anything you can buy anywhere and you can jump start anything.
I agree with making your own from welder lead. I did that once and they were great.
If all you have a thin cables - connect the cables with both cars turned OFF. Then start the good car, and put something between the throttle and the throttle stop to get it to a fast idle.
Then have a cup of coffee while it charges the battery on the dead car.
Then turn the good car off again, but leave the cables connected, start the dead car, and then remove the cables.
I know that the dead car will crank more energetically with the good car running, but I suggest that you not do that if you like the good car.
If you have safety glasses, use them. My dad was nearly blinded by an exploding battery.
Connect the positive lead first, and connect the second ground lead to a good engine ground rather than to the battery. That will prevent getting a spark right next to the battery.
It is better to have a heavier gauge jumper cable than a lighter one because of the current load you have when trying to run the starter and a drained battery of the other car. As was previously stated the heavier gauge allows more energy to be transfered to the other system.
I have always prefered a set of jumper cables that were 20 feet long and 4 gauge in size, along with being real flexable. I still have a set that came from Sears I purchased manys years ago. They will still be good beyond my lifetime. They are a little higher cost but if you need them just one time I figure they have paid for themselves. You can get by with using 6 gauge cable but I prefer the performance of 4 gauge.