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Do Cars Come with Jumper Cables? What to Expect When You Buy

Carrying a set of jumper cables.

When your car's battery dies, jump-starting is often the only way to get your wheels back on the road. But do cars come with jumper cables?

Cars don't come with jumper cables, despite being standard equipment in your emergency roadside kit. Sometimes, you can ask your dealership for a set of jumper cables as an extra. However, even luxury vehicles in the USA don't include this essential kit.

Buy jumper cables to ensure you can kickstart a dead battery.

But we'll teach you about jumper cables, including how to use them, where to buy them, and even what to do if you don't have any when your car battery dies.

Table Of Contents [show]

    Carrying a set of jumper cables.
    Carrying a set of jumper cables.

    Do New Cars Come with Jumper Cables?

    Even modern cars use a battery to bring them to life.

    So, if the battery dies, the car won't start.

    Jumper cables supply power to a bad battery from a good one.

    However, few cars include jumper cables in their standard packages.

    Historically, only high-end Rolls-Royce and Bentley luxury vehicles came with jumper cables in their accessories kit.

    Lucky owners could also find wheel chocks, safety reflectors, and other helpful accessories to ensure they could jump-start their vehicles while out and about.

    In today's world, finding vehicles that come with jumper cables is near-on impossible — you'll need to ask for them before purchasing a new car.

    With that in mind, you should never forget to buy your own set.

    Can You Use Jumper Cables on New Cars?

    Since new vehicles contain batteries, you can use jumper cables to kickstart a dead car battery.

    That said, you need to be careful.

    These days, most cars are electronic, and you could cause significant damage if you misuse jumper cables.

    You should always establish a proper connection and find a set of jumper cables that protect from voltage surges and reverse attachment.

    What Cars Come with Jumper Cables?

    To put it simply, no cars come with jumper cables today.

    From the affordable Toyota Aygo to the typically out-of-reach Bentley Flying Spur, you won't find a set of jumper cables included as standard — although it's always worth checking with the manufacturer or dealership.

    It's up to you to purchase your own set of jumper cables.

    Connecting a set of battery cables.
    Connecting a set of battery cables.

    How to Use Jumper Cables Correctly

    Since misusing jumper cables can be dangerous, it's imperative to understand how to use them correctly before diving in.

    Here's how to use jumper cables like a pro:

    1. Park the vehicle with the working battery in front of the car with the dead battery and switch them off. You won't need to worry too much about the vehicle's closeness if you have longer jumper cables.
    2. Open both hoods and find the batteries. If they're covered, remove the case to expose the battery posts.
    3. Locate the positive and negative terminals. The former may be red, but since that isn't always the case, look for the plus or minus signs instead.
    4. Remove any dirt from the battery posts.
    5. Grab your jumper cables and connect one of the red clamps to the positive terminal on the bad battery and the other side of the red jumper cable to the positive post on the working battery.
    6. Connect one of the black clamps to the negative post of the functioning battery.
    7. Connect the other end of the black cable to a bare metal surface (i.e., a screw or bolt) on the dead car's engine. This provides grounding for the jump start.
    8. Start the working vehicle's engine first, letting it idle for several minutes.
    9. Start the dead car's engine, also allowing it idle.
    10. If the failing car starts without problems, disconnect the black clamp from its engine before disconnecting it from the other vehicle.
    11. Lastly, disconnect the red clamp from the good car's battery before removing it from the formerly dead battery.

    What Should You Do When Your Car Doesn't Have Jumper Cables?

    It may seem like all hope is lost when you're sat on the road in a car with a failed battery and can't find your jumper cables even after searching in the side pockets, trunk, and under the seats.

    But you have a few options at your disposal to reenergize your travels:

    #1 Call a Tow Service

    If you have roadside assistance, call them.

    They'll almost always have their own set of cables onboard.

    Although, you might have to wait a while for them to show up, depending on your location.

    #2 Battery Booster

    Owning a battery pack can negate the need to ask anybody for help.

    However, you must make sure your new battery pack is charged before you hit the road so you can use it when the time arises.

    #3 The Push-Start Method

    If you have a manual vehicle, you can try the push-start method.

    It can be a tricky maneuver to pull off, so it's best to educate yourself on how to conduct the push-start method before attempting it.

    #4 Call a Friend

    If you aren't far from home, calling a friend or relative to see if they can bring jumper cables and a working vehicle is a great, cost-effective option.

    #5 Ask a Stranger

    If you don't have roadside assistance and your friend/relative is nowhere to be seen, you can enlist the help of a stranger.

    Nine times out of ten, people are willing to help and may have a battery pack or jumper cables to get you out of the sticky situation.

    Are Jumper Cables Obsolete?

    Jumper cables have been the solution for kickstarting a dead battery for over a century.

    However, they require a working battery from another car to obtain power, and the probability of misconnecting the battery terminals and causing damage is relatively high.

    Therefore, many drivers (and probably your auto repair shop) consider them somewhat obsolete — most opt for the battery pack option instead.

    Where to Buy Jumper Cables

    We always recommend having jumper cables in your car for unprecedented circumstances.

    Luckily, they're relatively inexpensive, and you can purchase them from almost any high street auto store or Amazon.


    Hopefully, you're now fully clued up on the necessity of jumper cables, the fact that cars don't typically come with them, and how many drivers opt for a battery pack.

    Remember, if you don't have jumper cables to hand, you can always call roadside assistance, try the push-start method, enlist the help of a stranger, or use a battery pack to get your wheels rolling.