Red and Black Jumper Cables, Which One is Positive?

  • By: Jeremy Jacobs
  • Date: September 4, 2022
  • Time to read: 6 min.
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Jumper cables seem so simple, don’t they? There are two wires and two clamps, basically. But man alive, if you get those two wires mixed up, you are in for a world of hurt.

So when you need to jump-start your car, it is essential to know which cable is positive and which one is negative. If you connect them wrong, you could damage the battery, the jumper cables could melt, or worse-start a fire. In most cases, red is positive and black is negative, but always consult your car’s owner’s manual just to be sure.

RED (+) is Positive, Black (-) is Negative

As I said, the RED cable is almost always positive and the black cable negative.

The red cable attaches to the positive battery terminal on both vehicles.

The black cable attaches to the negative battery terminal on the donor car. On the dead car (pay attention this is important) the negative cable goes on a section of bare metal of the chassis. This could be the firewall or the wheel well. It does not connect to the negative battery terminal of the dead battery.

How to Use Jumper Cables

how to use jumper cables

Jumper cables and battery jump starters are not difficult to use and it is a good skill to have if you ever break down. So what are the steps in how to use jumper cables?

list the steps in how to use jumper cables

1. Park both cars close to each other, with the batteries as close to each other as possible.

2. Open the hoods of both cars.

3. Connect the positive cable (red) to the positive battery terminal on the donor car.

4. Connect the negative cable (black) to the negative battery terminal on the donor car.

5. Connect the positive cable (red) to the positive battery terminal on the dead car.

6. Connect the negative cable (black) to a section of bare metal on the chassis of the dead car. DO NOT connect it to the negative battery terminal of the dead battery!

7. Start the donor car and let it run for a few minutes.

8. Start the dead car and let it run for a few minutes.

If you are looking for a new set of jumper cables these Coleman Club 4 gauge 16 foot are a good choice from Advanced Auto Parts. The 4 gauge rating will jump almost anything and 16 foot length will give you good flexibility.

Amazon also offers a variety of jumper cables these TOPDC 4 gauge 20 foot jumper cables are an excellent buy.

Why Do You Connect the Red Cable First?

red and black jumper cables

If you’ve ever been in a situation where you needed to jump-start a car, you know that there’s a specific order to things. The red cable always goes first, but have you ever wondered why that is? As it turns out, there’s a pretty simple explanation.

The red cable is connected to the positive terminal of the battery, while the black cable is connected to the negative terminal. When you connect the red cable first, you’re essentially creating a circuit between the two batteries.

This helps to prevent sparks from flying, which could potentially damage the electronics in your car. So next time you find yourself in need of a jump start, remember to put the red cable on first – your car will thank you for it!

If you’ve ever had to jump-start a car, you know that there’s a specific order to connecting the cables. But have you ever wondered why the red cable always goes first?

It turns out that there’s a very good reason for this. The red cable is connected to the battery’s positive terminal, while the black cable is connected to the negative terminal. This is important because batteries contain a highly explosive chemical called hydrogen gas.

If the cables were connected in the wrong order, the hydrogen gas could ignite, causing an explosion. So next time you’re jump-starting a car, make sure to connect the red cable first – bad things could happen if you don’t!

What Happens If I Connect Negative First?

answer the question WHAT HAPPENS IF I CONNECT NEGATIVE FIRST? If you connect the negative cable to the battery first, it will send a charge through the cables and into the positive terminal of the other battery. This could potentially damage the electronics in your car. It’s always important to connect the cables in the correct order – red first, then black.

When you connect the black cable first you are setting up the circuit to be complete. Then when you connect the red wire, the one that has the charge, you are going to get a spark.

As we discussed above, sparks are bad because there could be hydrogen gas near the battery that could explode.

The moral of the story is? Connect the red cable first, it’s the proper, safe, and correct way to connect jumper cables.

Now that you have your jumper cables all connected, you have to take them off. What’s the proper way to do this?

Which Jumper Cable Comes Off First?

The jumper cables should be disconnected in the reverse order that they were connected. So, first, disconnect the black cable from the negative battery terminal, then disconnect the red cable from the positive battery terminal. This will help to avoid sparks and potential damage to your car’s electronics.

So there you have it – the next time you need to jump-start a car, make sure to connect the red cable first. And when you’re done, be sure to disconnect the black cable first. Following these simple tips will help to keep you and your car safe!

If you are not certain you are up for the task of jumping your car. Don’t worry. There are jumper cables that guide you through the process, awesome!

These Autogen Heavy Duty 1 gauge jumper cables have reverse polarity protection! They tell you if you have connected the jumper cables wrong. How can you go wrong with that?

Black and Yellow Jumper Cables, Which Is Positive?

I know that we have been talking red and black here. However, there are jumper cables out there that have Yellow and Black cables. What do you do now?

It’s okay, we can work through this. There is nothing wrong with your jumper cables, they will work just fine. In this case, the yellow cable is your positive, and your black cable is the negative connection.

These jumper cables connect similarly to the red and black jumper cables.

When color matters and you NEED a set of yellow and black jumper cables these K Krieger Jumper cables fit the bill. They are 4 gauge and 20 feet long which should be what you need in almost any situation. They also have a convenient carry bag.

Why Are Jumper Cables Red and Black?

Now after all this are you wondering ‘why’ jumper cables are predominantly red and black? ‘No’ you say, ‘I don’t really care’, good for you. You obviously have more interesting things going on, but just in case. Why are jumper cables red and black?

The red and black color scheme is used for jumper cables to help prevent confusion between the positive and negative terminals. Most cars have a red positive terminal and a black negative terminal, so using red and black cables helps to ensure that the jumper cables are connected in the correct order.

Final Thoughts…

So there you have it – the story behind why jumper cables are red and black. Now that you know, be sure to never forget which cable goes where especially when your car is stalled on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. And if you ever find yourself in that situation, remember to stay calm and use these tips for how to jump-start a car.

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