It’s time to head for work. You turn the car key in the ignition, but nothing happens. What’s the problem? Chances are, your battery is dead; and you need a jump start. Besides a neighbor who’s willing to help, there are only a few other necessary items for jump-starting your vehicle. First, check the car’s Owner’s Manual regarding jump starts. Hopefully jumper cables are in your vehicle, since it’s a basic piece of equipment in every car’s emergency kit. A quality set of jumper cables is made with multiple strands of copper wire, and the alligator clips should also be copper. It’s important to wear protective glasses when working with jumper cables, even if just sunglasses or prescription glasses.Next, get your neighbor’s car as close to yours as possible. Front end to front end is best. Open the hoods of both vehicles and find the batteries. Locate the batteries’ terminals. In most vehicles, negative charges are marked with an “A-“and positive charges are marked “A+.”Now it’s time to attach the jumper cables. Attach the red cables to the positive charge on both batteries. Attach the black cables to the negative charges on both batteries. Double check to be sure the jumper cables aren’t interfering with any engine belts or pulleys in either vehicle. Now the good neighbor’s car should be started. Let the car run for a few minutes to charge the dead battery before trying to start the other car. If the car doesn’t start at that point, check to be sure there’s no corrosion or dirt on the battery posts interfering with the charge. Also be sure the clasps are attached tightly. These steps should correct the problem. To complete the charge, let the car with the recently charged battery idle for a few minutes. Then turn off both engines and remove the battery jumper cables. The newly charged battery should have no problem starting the car. If no one is available to give you a jump start, contact City Tow. If the problem isn’t solved with a jump, they also provide local towing services. Preventative maintenance is the single best move to save money and extend the life of your vehicle. An automobile is one of life’s biggest investments, for a typical family; and you can protect that investment by keeping your car in good working order. The owner’s manual includes a recommended service schedule for oil changes and tune-ups, among other things. Following the maintenance tips will help prevent any serious damage to your car during its day-to-day, year-after-year operation. Along the same lines as preventative maintenance is to get in a car pool. It’s good for your car to give it a rest once in a while. By car pooling, you save some wear and tear on your vehicle. An added bonus is that you share the cost of gas, tolls, and parking. Even with preventative maintenance, the need for automobile repair on some level is inevitable. When that time comes, one option is to do the repairs yourself. Start by checking the owner’s manual. The troubleshooting tips will probably indicate whether needed repair requires a mechanic or whether it’s a repair you can do yourself. If you don’t know anything about engines, sign up for a beginner mechanic course at an adult education center. There you can learn the basics of car repair and equip yourself to perform the simpler tasks.