Automotive

This Is Why You Always Double Check Your Jumper Cable Colors


See, the problems start when you let the magic smoke out of the engine
Gif: whotfiskatie on TikTok

I’ve jump-started more cars than I can remember, but I always find myself running to Google before connecting a single cable. Why? Just to be sure that this exact situation, captured on TikTok, never happens to me.

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Last week, TikToker whotfiskatie posted a clip of a jump start gone wrong. At just 27 seconds in length, the clip is a masterpiece of environmental storytelling. If cinema is, as Martin Scorcese famously said, “A matter of what’s in frame and what’s out,” then this TikTok is inarguably cinema.

What’s in frame is a smoking Ecotec four-cylinder and a pair of melted, demolished jumper cables. It’s unclear whether the Chevrolet was jump-starting the Nissan, or vice-versa, but the Malibu and the cables took the brunt of the damage. What’s out of frame is the actual cause of the damage, left implied by its results: someone hooked up their jumper cables wrong.

Jump-starting a car may be a fairly everyday occurrence, but that doesn’t make it any less dangerous. Car batteries can output thousands of watts of power, and sending all that energy to the wrong place can have serious consequences. In this case, those consequences took the form of some seriously taffy-looking jumper cables.

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Pro tip: jumper cables are generally supposed to be solids, not liquids

Pro tip: jumper cables are generally supposed to be solids, not liquids
Gif: whotfiskatie on TikTok

Luckily, it appears no one was injured in the jump start gone wrong. The pride of the car owners, however, may not fare so well — the TikTok currently has over ten million views, and it’s still climbing. Whotfiskatie has even updated their bio on the app in reference to their surprised hit: “✨The cars aren’t mine✨ I was just there with my friend, I did not jump them.”

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So, next time you’re jumping a car, take the time to double-check your cables. If you remembered it right, you may feel like you wasted the thirty seconds it took to research, but that’s certainly a better outcome than getting it wrong.

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