Can You Use A Jump Starter While Plugged In?

Can You Use A Jump Starter While Plugged In? Jump starting is a life-saver for any driver to get their dead batteries back to life. But how you jump-start your car is in question here. 

Some drivers get out of the conventional way and try out jump starting in different ways. And in trying to do so, they might expose themselves to some mighty risks. 

One of those jump-starting methods is by using Jump Starter while plugged in. 

Can You Use A Jump Starter While Plugged in?

You are always discouraged to jump-starter while plugged in. The battery of the vehicle contains the 12V SC current whereas, any kind of power supply would be AC voltage. And these completely conflicting characteristics of voltage can cause severe damage to both the battery and the vehicle. 

This is just the hint of our entire discourse. If you are a vehicle owner then you should definitely check out the following article to know a few hacks and facts that would be a great help for you. 

Are Jump Starters Safe to Use While Plugged In?

No, you should never use a jump starter on your vehicle while plugged in. as there are two different types of electricity flowing at the same time, it may not only damage the battery but also cause a serious explosion.

Usually, the battery you are having in your vehicle is a 12V DC battery. On the other hand, the house current we are providing is AC. These opposite current sources highly conflict and cause serious damage to the system. 

A jump starter such a device that helps jump-start the battery of the vehicle. While jumpstarting, you need to attach the clamps of the jumpstarter to the vehicle’s battery terminals where the battery pack stores the charge. So while jump-starting, it is strictly recommended to unplug all the other power sources before clamping the charger to the battery. 

Because if there is any other source of voltage in your battery other than the 12V DC source, there is a high chance of having a spark or electric shock. As a result, it will damage both the jump starter and the vehicle battery.

When talking about jump starter safety you may like to read my other article on – whether you can take a jump starter on a plane.

Jump Start A Vehicle Safely: Steps in Details

Jumpstarting a vehicle is quite a familiar term for any car or jeep owner. Basically, we start the engines of the vehicle with a motor powered by the battery and the battery is recharged while the vehicle is running. So at times, when your battery is discharged totally, it can’t operate the starter motor.

This is the time when we’ll be needing a jump starter to provide the electric power supply to the battery. It’ll start the engine as well as recharge the battery from the power supplied by another car’s battery or engine.

Can You Use A Jump Starter While Plugged In

Let’s see how we can jump-start a battery safely in the following-

Step 1:

First, place the vehicle with the good battery about 18 inches apart from the vehicle with the dead battery. The vehicles shouldn’t touch each other but the distance has to be suitable so that both the batteries can be connected through wires. 

Set both the car’s gear selector and shift lever in the park and put the manual transmission in neutral and put the parking brake on each vehicle.  

Step 2:

Turn off anything that is electrical or has a power supply including fans, radios, and overhead lights. Lastly, take off the battery from the ignition as well. Now it’s time for work with clamps. Make sure no clamps are touching each other while working with them. 

There are two colors of clamps available red and black on the jump starter or the good car battery. Here the red one is for the positive terminal and the black one is for the negative one.

Step 3:

Now detect the battery and find the positive and the negative terminals of the battery color-coded in your vehicle. First, connect the positive clamp of the starter to the positive terminal of the damaged battery, and then connect the positive clamp of the starter to the positive terminal of the good battery.

Can You Use A Jump Starter While Plugged In

Step 4:

Next, take the black clamp and connect it to the negative terminal of the good battery. Do not mistake connecting the other negative clamp of your starter to the negative terminal of the damaged battery as it might cause a spark. Rather connect it to a bare unpainted metal under the hood of the damaged battery. 

Just make sure the metal is not any moving part.

Step 5:

Now enter the car with the good battery and put the key into the ignition and start the battery. Once you have started the good battery vehicle, remove the jumper cables in reverse order as you put them on.

Keep the good battery running for at least 15 minutes or even more so that the bad battery can get charged through it. 

If jump-starting still fails to start the bad battery after 2-3 times try, then there might be a severe problem in your vehicle and you need to consult an expert.

Risk of Jump-Starting Modern Vehicle

A few possible risks are there while jump-starting a modern vehicle having flat batteries. As we already know, when we jump-start a battery, the battery booster pack or the vehicle with a good battery works as a reservoir of power supply to get the other vehicle started by bypassing the damaged battery. 

As soon as the good battery gets started, we disconnect the clamps from the damaged battery, the alternator finds the battery empty. And as soon as it finds it empty, it immediately reacts by opening the floodgates in order to refill it. 

This sudden rise of massive current can create a spike in voltage. As a result, it can damage the battery. This also can lead to the battery heating up as well as bending the plates of the battery. 

It’ll eventually shed off active materials that end up creating debris underneath the battery terminal. This whole scenario will impact the performance of your battery efficiency. 

For more information follow the-

Can You Use A Jump Starter While Plugged In? Things to Keep in Mind While Jump-Starting

Here are a few things you need to keep in mind while jump-starting your solenoid, or vehicle in order to avoid any unwanted situations-

  1. If you get any rotten smell or visible damage in your battery, your battery might be completely damaged. Do not try to jump-start a damaged battery
  2. If you are using jumper leaks, use the high-quality one that provides spike protection
  3. Make sure your jumpers are connected in the correct sequence as instructed by the manufacturers
  4. Double-check, if there are any kinds of electric sources, turned on while jump-starting, and turn them off immediately
  5. Before starting the jump-starting process make sure you check the manual as different vehicles might have a different procedure

When talking about caution you can check another relevant article on – Should you overcharge a portable jumpstarter

FAQs: Can You Use A Jump Starter While Plugged In?

Does jump starters damage the battery?

Yes, under a few circumstances, jump-starting might damage the battery. The sudden rise of massive current during jump-starting creates a spike in the voltage. This entire scenario can cause damage to the battery. Also, the alternator is pumping a higher rate of current than the battery can handle. That also causes damage to the battery.

How long it takes to charge a battery with a jump starter?

A jump-starting will take 10-30 minutes max to charge a battery, not more than that. Where most of the time needed while jumpstarting is on connecting the cables. Once you are done connecting all the cables, jump-starting will take only a couple of minutes. To fully charge the battery, you need to charge it for 15 minutes at least.

Which one is better, charging a battery or jump-starting?

Jump starting is comparatively better than normal charging the battery as a jump starter can provide much faster charging than normal charging does. The main reason behind this is jump starter provides a much higher ampere than a regular charger. It can start a completely empty battery in a couple of seconds. In that sense, it is a better option.

Read also: Type S Jump Starter Says, “Battery Protected, Unplug, Start Over”

Final Words: Can You Use A Jump Starter While Plugged In?

I hope this article was informative enough to resolve all your queries regarding Can You Use A Jump Starter While Plugged in. If you know the jump-starting procedure properly, you will find this process pretty useful for your vehicle. 

That is everything for this time. See you soon with something more useful.

Till then, safe driving! If you want you can read my another article on – Can a Jump Starter Charge a Car Battery

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About Frank Diaz

Hi everyone, my name is Frank Diaz and I am the face behind GaragestPicks. I studied Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology and worked as a mechanic for over 20 years. I love working on cars and doing DIY projects around the house. I write this blog to share my knowledge and help others fix their cars with most common tools.

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