How to Jump-Start a Semi Truck: A Comprehensive Guide

June 14, 2022


The best way to get ready for any potential breakdowns is learning how to jump-start a semi-truck correctly. After all, once your truck breaks down, how quickly you can get it back up and running again will determine whether or not you end up losing money.

It is almost impossible for you to predict when your semi-truck will break down and leave you stranded on the side of a highway. However, there are some precautions you can take to reduce your risk of this occurring to you.

Essential item checklist

Before we jump-start a semi-truck, we have to ensure we have all the required equipment. Be aware that a semi-truck has a 12v system. To successfully jump-start your semi-truck, see the essential items you must have.

  • Jumper cables that are pretty long with a minimum recommendation heavy duty of 2-gauge

  • Assisting vehicle with a 12-volt battery

  • Safety glasses

  • A battery charger or a jump starter with the correct voltage

How to Jump Start a Semi Truck


How to Jump Start a Semi Truck: Step by Step

The first step to jump-start a semi-truck is to ensure the truck and the electrical system are off. If you begin jump-starting the truck while running, you can damage the starter or something else, leading to more downtime.

Most semi-truck batteries are underneath the driver’s door by the hood (bonnet). This process varies from truck to truck, but most semi-trucks use a red clamp for the positive cable and a black clamp for the negative cable. Therefore, you may need to loosen the battery cables first to access the jump-start battery terminals.

Once you have located the jump-start terminals, connect the red clamp to the positive terminal on the semi truck’s battery and the black clamp to the negative terminal.

Next, connect the other end of the cables to the proper terminals on the car, providing the jump-start. If you have trouble locating the terminals, refer to the owner’s manual for your vehicle.

Once both cars’ batteries are connected, start the vehicle providing the jump-start. Make sure to let it run for a few minutes (sometimes it may take even longer), and then try to start the engine. If a semi-truck does not turn over immediately, try to start it again.

If you still can’t get it started after two or three tries, your battery may be completely dead. In this case, a mechanic may need to get a new battery and have it installed.

After Jump Starting Your Semi Truck

Once you have successfully jump-started your semi-truck, you should try to figure out what caused your battery to go dead in the first place. It will help you to avoid the same problem in the future. Also, if a stranger jump-started you, you should try to thank them as soon as possible. You can also pay it forward by helping other people with similar emergencies in the future.

Make a note of any battery issues you experienced during your semi-breakdown. For example, if you had a low charge, you should try to figure out what caused it. If it was a faulty alternator, you should get it replaced as soon as possible. Doing so will help prevent another semi-breakdown in the future.

Driving a semi-truck can be a challenging career, but once done right, it can be a very rewarding way to make a living. Following these steps can reduce your risk of getting stranded on the road with a dead battery and makes jumping start your semi-trucks easier.


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