Can A Small Car Jump Start A Truck? (Solved & Explained!)

Many people are familiar with and make use of the practice of jump-starting a car.

It’s a useful method of getting a car started that has a dead battery.

The battery having no power means there isn’t even a small amount of power needed to crank the engine.

A jump start provides that jolt from another working battery.

This article answers the question “Can A Small Car Jump Start A Truck?”…

Can A Small Car Jump Start A Truck?

It can be done. The only difference is that with a small car jump starting a larger vehicle, the smaller vehicle may need some extra time to run first and build up some charge while the jumper cables are connected. The two vehicles both have 12-volt batteries, after all.

With the cables connected correctly, and the smaller car given a few minutes running, perhaps helped by a few revs of the engine, the jump start can be done.

Does Battery Size Matter?

While battery designs do differ, as do their cold-cranking amps (CCA), but the voltage in just about all cars, SUVs, and trucks is the same: 12 volts.

The difference in the car’s size and engine power output means that a smaller car may need some extra time to properly charge a larger vehicle battery, but in essence, battery size doesn’t matter.

Does Engine Size Matter?

In itself, the size of the vehicle’s engine does not matter.

If there is a difference in capacity and performance, however, it just means that you might need to connect the jumper cables for a few minutes longer before attempting a start.

If you are jumping a 3.8L V8 engine in a truck using a 1.6L compact sedan, for example, you won’t have any problem.

The jumper cables just need to be hooked up correctly, and the smaller car started up and left to run for a short time.

When all is done correctly and the smaller vehicle has time to offer a bit more output, the rest of the process will happen as you might expect or need.

Can You Jump Start A Truck With Different Fuel Types?

Yes, you can.

Some people believe that jump-starting a diesel truck, for instance, is a problem because they usually have two batteries, whereas gasoline vehicles have just one.

Diesel trucks have two batteries because they need to crank at a higher rate to get started. The fact is, however, that these two batteries are placed parallel within the engine bay.

This means that you can connect to one of the batteries from a gasoline car as you normally would, positive to positive, negative to negative. The one will feed into the other.

There are some important things to remember.

First, both the truck and the helper vehicle doing the jump start need to be in “park” if they’re automatic, and “neutral” if they’re manual transmission.

Second, they should have all their lights and other equipment turned off.

Next, when starting the smaller helper vehicle, it will need to run for a few minutes before the charge can be effective.

Once jump-started, the truck should be left to run for a few minutes to allow the alternator to restore enough power to the battery that it will be able to start again after shutting down.

Can Jump Starting A Truck Kill Your Battery?

As a rule, no you can’t.

Unless there is some serious defect with the truck that you’re trying to jump-start, there’s no way that attempting to charge up a truck battery would result in your own being killed off.

When sharing the power between the two batteries, it’s only a very, very small amount.

It just needs the relatively small amount that is required to crank the engine and turn it over. Once that is done, no more power is drained.

Can Jump Starting A Truck Damage Your Alternator?

Yes, it can. The main way this happens is if the jumper cables are connected incorrectly, then one of the results can be damage to the alternator, among other things.

Cables have to be connected positive to positive (red to red) and negative to negative (black to black). The red cables should be connected first, followed by the black cables.

It’s not definite that damage will occur, but when cables are connected incorrectly, the chances of that are more likely.

In fact, the 12-volt battery in your vehicle acts as an effective buffer to protect against a lot of electrical damage risks.

Is It Bad For Your Small Car To Jump Start A Truck?

No, it isn’t bad in itself for a small car to jump-start a truck.

There is no special risk presented to smaller cars that wouldn’t be present for any other vehicle that was being used for the jump start.

If the truck being jump-started has other problems besides its battery, then it is possible that some issues could be transmitted via the jumper cables and damage the electrics, but that’s not unique to a smaller car.

The only thing that’s different is that a smaller car would have to take a little more time to run and provide the charge needed to crank and turn over the larger truck engine.

Can You Jump Start A Truck With Two Batteries?

Yes, you can. Many diesel trucks carry two batteries because the engines require extra starting power.

This may lead some to believe that jump-starting from a single-battery vehicle is either impossible or ill-advised. This is not the case.

There’s nothing wrong with jump-starting a truck that has two batteries. The two batteries in a typical diesel truck are placed parallel to each other.

You only need to jump-start via one to get the engine started, after which the alternator will automatically feed further power into both batteries.

The best idea to jump start using the battery that appears the most accessible.

Whichever one is easiest to attach the jumper cables to is safer, and shouldn’t present any problems just as long as you connect up the jumper cables correctly.

Which Jump Starting Cables To Use? And Which Not?

Most jumper cables are standard, but there are some brands that have a great reputation for quality and reliability.

The best brands are recognized as Cartman, Energizer, Amazon Basics, and Voilamart. The main thing to look for is actually the size of the cables.

To jump-start a larger truck, you shouldn’t use 4- or 6-gauge cables. For these larger vehicles like trucks, RVs, and SUVs, you’re safer using 1- or 2-gauge cables.

Cartman, Energizer, and Voilamart all make 1-gauge cables. Energizer has the biggest range, going from 1- to 10-gauge.

Equally, you should not use 1- or 2-gauge cables for sedans and compact cars. For these, a 4- or 6-gauge cable is safest.

What Is The Best Cables Brand For A Small Car-Truck Jump Start?

The best brand for a small car-to-truck jump start would be Cartman 1- or 2-gauge cables.

These are the safest and most reliable to use, and the brand is the highest rated among users and online experts.

Another good brand for heavy-duty use is Energizer. If you can’t get hold of Cartman cables, then Energizer cables are a very worthy substitute.