Updated at: 26-08-2022 - By: Lucas

For vehicles with poor batteries, jumper cables are a must-have accessory. The starter motor will not be able to start the engine if the battery is weak. Having a nice set of jumper cables on hand will allow you to get your vehicle up and running so that you can set off on your excursion.

Car jumper cables are sadly not a common accessory among drivers. And to those who don’t know how to safely jump start a poor battery: Thank you. Bad things can happen if jump starts aren’t done correctly For example, melted plastic and rubber insulation on jumper wires could be one of those undesirable things.

Jumping a car battery for the first time might result in melting jumper cables and other hazards if you don’t know what you’re doing. Here are some of the most prevalent issues that cause jumper wires to overheat or melt.

Problem 1: Cables Are Damaged

Jumper Cables Smoking

Over time, jumper cables can wear out and become useless. The jumper cables could be damaged if you keep them in the trunk and often pile objects on top of them.

Corrosion and weakening of the metal are possible outcomes of a spill. It’s possible that the plastic and rubber insulators will crack and crumble over time. It is possible that the clamping mechanisms may grow brittle and fail when used.

With jumper cables, proper storage can make all the difference. The cords in your kit may survive longer if they’re packaged in a sturdy plastic case.

It is possible to start your vehicle with a clean pair of jumper wires without risking the cables melting or overheating. A thick plastic bag can be used to protect the wires from moisture and other corrosive factors, if you don’t have a case to put them in.

Problem 2: Wrong Size Jumper Cable

The weak battery of the stalled vehicle must be charged using the charging mechanism of a donor vehicle through a jumper connection. Because the charging mechanism generates the electricity, you’ll need the donor car to sit idle while the weak battery is recharged.

Overheating and melting of the plastic and rubber insulators could occur quickly if the jumper cable is a low-quality variant. Jumper cables are graded according to the amount of current they can carry.

To handle the maximum power, repair businesses typically use 0 gauge jumper wires. They’re also quite pricey, and you won’t need all of them to properly jump start a car. they’re

Jumper cables with a 4 gauge rating will do the job without overheating or burning the plastic and rubber insulation around the wires. The weakest of the group, a 15, is the highest gauge available for jumper cables.

Jumping a battery with anything less than a 6-gauge cable usually won’t work. In terms of wire gauge, you should seek for jumper cables rated between 4 and 6.

If you try to jump start a car using the cables, they will look great in the package but perform horribly. Paying a little more for a quality pair of jumper cables is always a good idea. If you have a dead battery, the last thing you need are fried jumper cables to complicate matters.

Problem 3: Wrong Connections Used

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To get the task done perfectly, you need to make sure the jumper cables are connected properly.. The most common mistake individuals make when trying to jump start a car is to link the wrong cables to the wrong posts.

In this case, if you attach one end to a positive post on the donor vehicle and the other end to a negative post on the weak battery, the wires are crossed and cannot be connected. The jumper cables could be melted if the wires are crossed.

The colors of the jumper cables are all the same. Red and black are the colors of the two wires. Only the positive posts on the donor battery and the weak battery should be connected to the red positive connector.

Cable No. 2 (black) serves as a conductor for grounding. Your stalled vehicle’s engine or frame would be the best place to put this wire, which would be connected to the negative post of the donor battery. Flowing electricity and charging a weak battery will be improved by this.

Problem 4: Bad Connection at the Battery

Jumper wires can safely transfer electricity from a working battery to an out-of-date one. A firm connection is required for the cable to complete its work. It is possible for the wires to overheat due to any type of poor connection.

Due to loose cable connections, moisture, and other conditions that cause metal parts to corrode, battery posts can get rusted. It is possible for the ends of jumper wires to corrode.

With a wire brush, you can clean the battery posts and the ends of jumper wires while you’re in an emergency situation. If the cables are not overheating or melting, a good, clean connection will aid in the most efficient passage of electricity.

Problem 5: Wrong Type of Wire

Jumper Cables Smoking-3

Metal wire is used in jumper cables. When electricity passes through different metals, they respond in different ways. That’s why copper is used in many electrical systems.

Copper is an excellent conductor of electricity because it does not generate excessive heat. Sadly, copper is an extremely costly metal. To keep production costs down, many jumper wire makers have turned to aluminum instead of copper. The inexpensive cost of aluminum cables is another benefit.

Jumper cables are a good example of an item where you get what you pay for. Purchasing inexpensive jumper cables ensures that you will receive inferior cables that will not be able to jump start your vehicle. Instead of transferring energy from one battery to the next, aluminum lets too much power escape. The hotter the wires get, the more electricity the aluminum loses.

How to Select Quality Jumper Cables

On a cold and windy winter night, you don’t want to waste your money on subpar jumper wires. Jumper cables, on the other hand, can cost hundreds of dollars and may not be needed for years.

All you need is a good set that will last for years in your car’s trunk while it’s not in use. There is no need to worry about them overheating, melting, or otherwise failing to do their job when it comes time to jump a vehicle.

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Make sure that the copper wires in each cable are protected by a thick layer of insulation. Over time, cheap and thin plastic coverings can dry rot and fracture. You don’t want this on your home.

The wires should be protected with a thick and malleable rubber coating and excellent clamps at either end. they should be thick and flexible. The clamps will aid in securing a strong connection to the battery posts.

Jumper cables should also have their gauge checked. You’re looking for something between 4 and 6 gauges that can handle a lot of power without overheating. Due to their bulk and inability to conveniently stow in your vehicle, 0 gauge jumper cables are an unnecessary expense when it comes to your vehicle’s safety.

However, you don’t want to go too low and buy the cheapest set. Make sure you’re using the right gauge and type of wire, as well as quality insulation and clamps, for your project.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are all jumper cables the same?

All of these characteristics can be found in a variety of different jumper cables. Thick copper cables with rubber insulation and excellent clamps are better at jump-starting cars than thin plastic insulation over aluminum wires on narrow cables.

Copper, on the other hand, is a conductor of electricity. Plastic insulation, on the other hand, is prone to melting and cracked.

Is it dangerous to jump-start a car?

The majority of the time, jump-starting a car is safe, but in rare cases, a battery explosion can occur. If you cross the wires when charging a battery, you run the risk of igniting the battery, which could lead to an explosion. That problem has been solved by battery manufacturers, thus it is much more difficult to blow out a modern car battery.

That’s why the negative cable is attached to a metal element instead of the negative post on the battery that needs charging, and only the positive wires are connected to both batteries. When only one cable is connected directly to the battery posts, it is impossible to produce a spark in the battery cell.


Jumper wires that smoke, heat up, or melt while trying to jump start a vehicle are almost always the result of human mistake. A person who wants to jump start a car must first learn how to do so safely and correctly. To avoid smoke, heat, or melted jumper wires, do this.

Another possibility is that you’ve made a mistake by using inferior cables. If you know how to properly choose and keep your jumper cables, you shouldn’t have any issues starting your car or another vehicle with them.