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Expert weighs in on claim jumper cables damage new cars

Published: Dec. 29, 2021 at 4:53 PM CST
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - It’s no secret your car probably hates the sub-zero temperatures just as much as you do. Hundreds of cars are having trouble getting up and running leaving drivers stranded and in need of a jump.

Don Herrly called into Valley News Live’s Whistleblower Hotline saying information circulating online claims jumper cables can cause major damage to newer cars. He asked our investigative team to find out the truth.

“I’m half afraid that if I saw someone standing out in the cold with jumper cables I’d be afraid to jump them,” Herrly explained.

Matt’s Automotive Service Center general manager Vern Newman says the answer isn’t a simple one. He said to some degree there is a valid point to Herrly’s concerns.

“Rather than not jump-starting a vehicle at all, I would focus on correct jump-starting,” said Newman.

He advises following the owner’s manual step-by-step because jumping a car varies by vehicle make and model.

“Making sure you’re putting the correct cables on the correct locations: red on red, black on black,” Newman explained.

While it’s not a common occurrence he said five to 10 cars come into their repair shop each winter with jump-start damage.

“They jumped the vehicle backward,” said Newman, “They put the red on the black and the black on the red.”

He went on to say attempting to jump a dead battery that is frozen or swollen is extremely dangerous.

“It could explode in front of you,” Newman explained.

Instead, he advises calling a tow truck.

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