Jumper cable

Ensuring Jumper Cable Reliability: Maintenance and Signs

Jumper cable: Have you once in a while experienced the worst feeling whereby you need to go somewhere urgently yet your car cannot start? The ignition problem might make you get late for an important appointment or even miss some crucial, highly time-bound items.

If you have the jumper cable, things might be a bit easier to bail you out from a desperate situation. Most drivers usually move with their jumper cables to help them manage the harsh occasions where the battery fails.

Jumper cable is an essential piece of equipment that every car owner should have for every trip, whether far or near. In most cases, you would want your vehicle to always work well. However, that is not the case with jumper cables; Jumper cables can go bad. Typically, they become less effective with time, and when the deterioration is significant enough to render the jumper cable useless, you’ll need to seek another replacement.

In addition, the overall damage and failure of the jumper cable depend on the quality of materials used to make it and the technique of manufacture. The routine practice of using the undersized jumper cable also increases the risk of melting the cable or even causing a fire. 

The damage of the jumper cable’s physicality is the major reason that makes them go bad. Issues like frayed wires and corroded clamps make the cables less effective with time.

Jumper cable

How Do Jumper Cables Go Bad?

If your jumper cable has been in absolute idleness for more than three years, then you need an update. Moreover, the signs of corrosion and the poor contact surfaces are the hallmarks to inform you that you need to replace your jumper cable before the next trip.

Corroded contacts don’t allow for proper connection with the battery terminals. Therefore, the jumper cable with such a problem won’t help you when the battery is dead. You might think of dealing with the corrosion manually, but if the damage is too big, that won’t save your moment; you need to buy a new jumper cable.

Fortunately, if you take care of the physical condition of your jumper cable and ensure that it’s free from corrosive substances, then it won’t go bad easily for it to serve you and your friends for a longer time.

How To Know If the Jumper Cable is Bad

The most straightforward technique that you can use to know whether your jumper cable is damaged or in good condition is to give it an easy eye test. You need to inspect the physical condition of the jumper cable, keeping note of the corroded areas, exposed wires, or worrisome marks on clamps.

Jumper cable that has gone bad has the following signs;

  • Visible copper wires indicated as exposed wires without the insulating material.
  • The frayed wires are near the clamps. If the wires are sticking out from the edges recklessly, then the jumper cable is not good and safe for use.
  • The poor integrity of the clamps marks corrosion.

Exposed and frayed wires are the most obvious signs of damaged jumper cables. If your jumper cable has exposed wires, you shouldn’t risk using it without insulation. It would be best to plan how to acquire a new variety and dispose of the one with ripped insulation. Maybe you can take it back to the manufacturer or sell it to scrap collectors who will recycle it to make the bad jumper cable useful once again. 

It’s easy to know if your jumper cable is bad even before testing. At first sight, if you can’t see the obvious deficiencies, then you can proceed to test it if it’s good.

Why Do The Jumper Cables Go Bad?

Many things can happen to jumper cables if they are not protected. In addition, the electronic devices attached to them can easily render them useless due to short-circuiting issues. There is also a possibility that the jumper cables are worn out faster with time.

Jumper cables fail mainly because of physical deterioration, and that again depends on the quality of materials used. The worst thing that can ever happen to your jumper is when the wires separate from its clamps. The separation happens, it will be a daunting task for you to connect properly to the other battery terminals for a good flow of electric charge.

If the jumper cable wires are separated, sparks can also crop up, and such have the potential of causing an explosion or fire. Your jumper has loose or exposed wire, then you need to think twice before setting it to start the car with a dead battery.

When jumper cables get good protection and proper maintenance, they can last for more than 10 years. That again leads us to the bigger question; how should you maintain the jumper?

How to Maintain Jumper Cables

First things first, you need to protect your jumper from all the potential dangers that can harm its physicality. Therefore, you need to keep them safe in a storage box or a bag that is spacious enough to allow for adequate air circulation. Avoid storing the jumper cables with sharp objects or punctures in the same container.

The Jumper cables storage bag or box should also offer protection from water or other liquids that can get in to cause cable corrosion. Most jumper cables come with storage containers. You can store the box or bag under the seats or in the trunk.

Notably, don’t store your jumper cable in the external toolbox or something of the same sort. The exterior toolbox can easily collect moisture to stimulate the process of corrosion.

What to Do With A Damaged Jumper Cable

Now, you’ve done everything right, but unfortunately, you have a jumper cable that is failing. What should you do? If you’ve a damaged cable, you need to replace it as soon as possible. If you can’t find a specific type that works for your car, then you can borrow someone.

The old, broken, and damaged jumper cables need to be disposed of as trash because they are no longer suitable for the intended purposes. 

Jumper cable

The Bottom Line


Jumper cables can go bad. They can easily break and wear down, making their components separate. However, it might take a long time for jumper failure to happen, especially if it’s given the maintenance and protection it deserves.

Luckily, there are things you can do to prevent your jumper from going bad. Please keep them in spacious places, free from moisture and sharp objects or punctures.

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