How Not to Jump-Start a Car

dashboardI’m sure many of you know how to jump-start a car, so I’ll spare you those details.  Instead, I’m going to share how not to jump-start a car.

On my recent PTO, my son, daughter and I were invited to a neighbor-girl’s last minute birthday party. Between my neighbor and I, we had 6 kids and 2 adults — too many for 1 car.  As we were leaving in our respective cars, her car wouldn’t start thanks to her husband leaving a GPS and laptop plugged in overnight.  No problem!  I have cables in my trunk and just jumped a car successfully 4-days prior.  I can do this.

I pull my mini-van into her garage, pop the hood, get out the cables and hook ’em up.  Meanwhile, she struggles a little with her hood which she finally gets popped.  Then she looks at her battery.  Only the negative hook-up is exposed and it appears we need to take a cover off the battery to expose the positive.  But it isn’t obvious how to do this.  We both try for a minute or 2 until she decides to grab her owners manual.  As she turns around, she tells me “you’re smoking”.

I whip around and see my cables smoking as I had hooked them up to my running car and laid the other end on the plastic bag that normally houses the cables.  I immediately unhook them from my car, but as I do that, they start on fire.  There is now fire running up the cables from the “unhooked” end traveling toward my engine.  I throw the previously hooked up end down into the pile of fire in her garage.

Now, to locate the fire extinguisher!  She finds it, but has no idea how to use it.  The cables are still burning, but nothing else has joined in yet.  I step toward her in my black coat to see if I can help just as she figures it out and covers me in white powder.  At last, the fire is out.

Defeated, we buckle 4-kids into the back of my van, 2 into the middle and the adults take our spots in front and head out to the Birthday party location.

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