28 October 2011

The next time you jump start your car...

... let this photo serve as a caution to be careful.  If you mix up the wires...
When you jump a car with another car, or an extra battery, you hook positive to positive, and negative to negative or to a metal part of the dead car. When you connect + to - and + to - you create a short circuit, since the electricity was not meant to travel on that path, it was meant to go through the electrical parts of the car.

The insulation on the cables melted from the heat created when the batteries shorted, the battery overheated and caught fire, the electronics may have fried, plastic fuel lines and rubber hoses melted giving more things to burn, and it's all downhill from there.
Further details (and additional impressive photos) in the thread at Reddit.


  1. I had to jump my car in a blizzard once, at night - it was a bad scene, and not my proudest moment. We hooked up the cables wrong, and it was obvious what we did within seconds of starting the good car - the insulation on the cables began to melt and smoke. So we disconnected immediately. For it to get this far, it's as if they weren't there, watched it happen out of fear to touch something, or were just playing around with beater cars and like seeing stuff melt.

  2. ...unless its a positive earth !
    I mean, like DUH.

  3. I also screwed that up once - and you can do worse things than just burn your car down - the battery can explode and give you a face full of concentrated sulfuric acid.

    You might want to consider adding ritholtz to your weekend reading. He's a hedge fund manager of some sort, but on the weekends, he posts links to interesting stuff. More cars than you would be interested in, but there are many things on there you'll like - like this one



  4. It doesn't help when Vauxhall/Opel use brown wires for earth - brown in European mains wiring codes is the live.
    Now, of course, you should also check the top of the battery, but given how obvious battery makers could make the polarity markings, it's amazing how slight some are.


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