Jump start while holding the clamp?

I have a car jumper kit from Schumacher that works great in emergencies. I need to use it to jump a car tomorrow with a dead battery, but the positive lead on the battery is in such an awkward spot that I cannot get the clamp to stay attached.

How dangerous would it be if I were to clamp the positive lead, ground the negative, start up the charger and actually hold the clamp onto the battery while someone else tries to turn the car over?

It isn’t preferred, but if you wear good leather work gloves and hold the clamp clamped to the terminal rather than just touching, you should be fine.

Just don’t lean on the car while you are doing it!

Don’t jump the car in the rain!

Thanks for the tips, all, good to know.

I think the main thing I’m worried about is the very slight chance of explosion (not that there are any cracks or leaking), and the hood of the car doesn’t stay elevated, so I’ll need someone to hold it for me or it would just be resting on my back

Um…I’d prop the hood securely up on a woden stick. You do not want to be grounded to the hood while doing this.

Besides, most shock related injuries come from the secondary effects…like getting shocked and in the reaction impaling the back of your head on the hoodlatch.

A good pair of stovegloves might be a good idea here. They have long leather sleeves in addition to thick leather hands.

Use a stick, or two by four,to hold up the hood. Hold the positive clamp to the positive post, and THEN, clamp the negative clamp to the engine block or car body; but, NOT to the negative battery post.

The chances of getting any type of discernable shock are almost non-existent. The battery voltage is not high enough to overcome your skin resistance and any inductive kickback from the donor car is unlikely with the dead battery still in the circuit.

Your concern about sparks is well founded. Do as HelloKit suggested and you won’t have to worry about that either.

However, I’d suggest that if the battery is really that dead, you’d be much better off trickle charging it overnight instead of subjecting both alternators to the load. The one on the dead car will bear the brunt but the donor car is subjected to the load during jumping- still not good.

Yes, there is no danger of shock. If you have an open wound on the hand you are using, you might feel it (or if you stick your tongue on it), but it will do no harm to you. As a general rule, you need over 30V to have any possible danger at all.
There is, however, a real risk of being burned as the poor connection heats up, or of being way too close to an exploding battery. Also, what if you slip while holding the positive cable and short it to the frame of the car?

How is bzionic supposed to connect a trickle charger if he can’t get a solid connection with jumper cables?

What Model Year Is This 911 ? I Thought Cars Made In Recent History That Had Difficult To Access Batteries, All Had Remote Battery Terminals. German Pride ?

Are you sure no remote locations exist ? Does the car have an owner’s manual that offers any suggestions?

The battery is located where, under the rear seat ? Is that why you can’t get on the positive terminal ? It seems like that would be the easiest place.

Since this is a 911 that needs help from other cars, it would probably behoove the owner to install remote terminals. I see a number of sources for them online.

What about a small pair of vice-grips clamped on and then jump the vice-grips ?


Remove your rings from your hands.

And A Watch With A Metal Band. Don’t Ask How I Know.

The clamps on my trickle chargers are 1/4 the size of my jumper cables. They easily fit into smaller spaces and clamp onto the terminal bolts compared to the unwieldy monster clamps on jumper cables.

Regardless, the idea is to eliminate the risk to the alternators from charging a stone dead battery. Remove the cables and install temporary bolts if you must. It’s not rocket science.

Why not in the rain??

12V won’t shock you unless maybe you soak in salt water.

I like CSA’s answer. A battery can give you a nasty burn if it connects via jewelry.

12 volts can hurt if it gets a good connection, but as noted, it takes breaking the skin or the addition of water, preferably salt water, to get a good enough connection to even feel it. Spit works too (don’t ask).

The biggest danger is explosion. Gloves are a very good idea, but the important thing is to wear good safety glasses or at least face away from the battery as you make and break that connection. If it explodes, it will spray acid everywhere, so take off any wet clothing and get to some running water quickly. That acid is not very strong, but by the time you feel it burning and decide to go wash it off, you will already be burned.

How About It, Bzionic ? . . . I Guess We Might Never Find Out What Happened. Bzionic Was Going To The Jump On 3/24/10 And We’ve Not Heard From Him / Her Since.

I hope there wasn’t an explosion . . . or worse. I do wonder what happened.


Hi all, thanks a lot for the responses. I had forgotten to come back with the verdict.

Don’t worry, I lived, and I don’t wear jewelry anyway. :wink:

The trickle charger idea is a good one, as is the remote terminal. I’ll likely get one once I have my mechanic be able to tell me whether he can detect from where my power draw is coming.

The battery is in the front of the 911 on the driver side under the hood. It is easy to reach, but the positive terminal is toward the back, and the combination of wiring and the curved side of the car there makes it really difficult to get a clamp down.

My main worry was simply if there was a leak, and the fact that the hood still fails to remain open on its own. I kept fiddling and was finally able to get a clamp onto the terminal, albeit not a very strong one. It simply took more time and having a friend hold a flashlight/torch for me to be able to see. I got a small 2x4 to prop the hood open and then it fired up right away (once I pumped some gas in on the accelerator pedal).

So, in the end, I didn’t need to hold the clamp on, but I’m looking into a way to make my clamps more narrow by shaving off some of the plastic cover if possible. Also getting a trickle charger and perhaps a remote terminal.

Thanks a lot for the help and advice!

You’re Welcome. Thanks For Letting Us Know That The Car Started And You Are Well.