9 Tips on How to Jump-Start a Tesla (With Bonus Tip)

With fast gaining popularity in the United States, Teslas are gradually taking over the market and replacing the traditional internal combustion engine vehicles in North America. Electric cars are great for the planet and your wallet, but can you jump-start them in a pinch?

Here’s how to jump-start a Tesla: 

  • Prepare an external jump starter. 
  • Open the tow eye cover. 
  • Locate the two cables from the tow eye cover. 
  • Connect the external jump starter cables to the EV cables.
  • Apply power to the external jump starter. 
  • Disconnect the external jump starter cables.
  • Expose the 12V battery from the EV frunk compartment. 
  • Connect the battery cables to the external jump starter.
  • Apply power to the external jump starter for 10 minutes. 
  • Disconnect the external jump starter cables.

This article will cover how to jump-start a Tesla and discuss a few other frequently asked questions users may have. Let’s dive in.

1. Prepare an External Jump Starter

To jump-start a Tesla, the first thing to do is to prepare your external jump starter. 

When picking an external jump starter, it is best to get it with a twelve-voltage capacity since the Tesla batteries operate in the twelve-voltage capacity as well. 

This Car Jump Starter, SUNPOW 2000A from Amazon.com, is under $100, has an LED display, and provides a 12V battery boost to cars, trucks, and SUVs. In addition, it’s compact and lightweight, so it won’t take up too much space in your Tesla.

Once you have this ready, you can now proceed with the next step. 

Car Jump Starter, Sunpow 2000A Peak 20000Mah Lithium Jump Starter Pack(Up To All Gas And 8.5L Diesel),12V Battery Booster For Cars, Trucks, Suv, Portable Power Pack With Lcd Screen &Amp; Led Light

2. Open the Tow Eye Cover

Tesla batteries are located under the hood and against the firewall. Unfortunately, if your vehicle is completely dead, with no juice in the battery, you won’t be able to open the hood and gain access. 

Depending on which model you have, there are a couple of different methods as to how to open the hood manually. 

Tesla Model X and Y

More recent Tesla models have a simple pull system located on the front bumper, which allows you to open the hood of the car manually.

On the right, as you’re looking at the car, you should see a small panel. Gently, with a sharp knife or flathead screwdriver, pry the panel off and release the two red cables. 

Pull the one labelled “1” until you hear the hood release. Then pull the second cable to fully unlatch it.

Check out this video for a visual on how to do this:

Once you have the hood open, skip to number 7.

Tesla Model S and 3

To open the hood of your Model S or 3, you need to open the tow eye cover. This is usually located on the driver’s side of the vehicle at the front. You should see a circular shape on that front bumper.

To open it, you just need to press the top right of the cover to push that side inward and the opposite side towards you. 

Check out the video below that shows you where to find the cover and where to press to open it:

3. Locate the Two Cables From the Tow Eye Cover

Depending on the model of the Tesla, the two cables can be found attached to the tow eye cover, or it could also be in the hole. 

After locating them, you just need to gently pull them out of the hole or from the cover. Pulling them out of the hole gives you better access and allows you to proceed to the next step. 

4. Connect the External Jump Starter Cables to the EV Cables

When connecting the cables for an external jump starter, always remember to connect them in their matching colors: 

  • The positive red cable from the Tesla to the positive red cable of the jump starter.
  • The negative black cable from the car to the negative black cable of the jump starter.

Also, always remember to first connect the positive red cables before the negative black cables.

5. Apply Power to the External Jump Starter

Once the external jump starter cables are connected to the EV cables, you can turn the external jump starter on for a few seconds. Then, power it for about two to three seconds just to give enough power to open the frunk compartment. 

For a better illustration of how to jump-start your Tesla using a portable external jump starter, you can click on this short video as your reference: 

Opening the funk compartment allows you to supply power to your car’s battery. 

6. Disconnect the External Jump Starter Cables

After opening the frunk compartment, you can now turn the external jump starter off and disconnect its cables from the car. 

Just remember that when disconnecting the cables, always disconnect the negative black cable first before disconnecting the positive red cable. 

Then return the car cables from the hole and close the tow eye cover.

7. Expose the 12V Battery From the EV Frunk Compartment

Upon opening the frunk compartment/hood of a Tesla, you should see a large black plastic panel that covers the 12V battery. It will be under the windscreen near the firewall.

Remove that panel first to expose the car’s battery. This should allow you to connect the battery cables to the external jump starter. 

8. Connect the Battery Cables to the External Jump Starter

Again, repeat the same procedure in connecting cables. 

Always connect the positive red cables first before the negative black cables. 

Before proceeding to the next step, make sure the cables are properly connected to the external jump starter to avoid problems. 

9. Apply Power to the External Jump Starter for 10 Minutes

After connecting the cables, you can turn the external jump starter on. This time, though, you’ll need to leave it on for at least ten minutes of continuous power. 

Within ten minutes of charging time from the external jump starter, you should then be able to power up the car’s computers and use the touchscreen again.

Note that you won’t be able to charge the battery enough to drive in most cases, but rather only give it enough juice to turn on so you can get it on a tow truck.

10. Disconnect the External Jump Starter Cables

After charging the Tesla for a few minutes, you can now disconnect the external jump starter cables. And again, in disconnecting the cables, start with the negative black cables before the positive red cables. 

Then return the large black plastic panel to cover the car’s battery and close the frunk compartment. 

Can You Use a Tesla To Jump-Start Another Car?

You cannot use a Tesla to jump-start another car because the engine of an electric car is not powerful enough to jump-start the regular combustion engine. Attempting to jump-start another vehicle with your Tesla could cause damage to its engine. 

Most people think that Teslas can jump-start an ICE car battery by simply connecting its cables. However, contrary to that belief, most Tesla models cannot jump-start an ICE car battery. 

This is because Tesla uses a low battery voltage compared to ICE cars that require a high battery voltage to start their engines. 

So, instead of using your Tesla to jump-start your friend’s car battery, use an external jump starter much like described above. 

Using Another Car To Jump-Start Your Tesla

On the other hand, though you can’t jump-start another car with your Tesla, you can use an ICE car battery to jump-start your Tesla. This is because the battery of internal combustion engine cars has a higher voltage, especially for models S, X, and 3. 

You will need to follow the steps above to gain access to the batteries, and then instead of connecting the cable to a jump starter, you’ll connect them to another car.

Best Tool To Jump-Start a Tesla

You never know when you’ll need a portable jump starter, whether you’re on a weekend road trip or just traveling a few miles to the local grocery shop. 

Car batteries deplete with time, thus having a jump starter in your vehicle ensures your safety and peace of mind. But is it worth buying a portable unit, or should you rely on using simple cables and another car?

Here are the pros and cons of using a jumper cable with another car compared to a portable jump starter. 

Pros and ConsJump CablesPortable Jump Starter
SafetyJump cables are safe to use, but improperly connecting them could cause sparks, explosions, or fire.Portable jump starters include safety mechanisms to prevent sparks and damages when connecting the cables.
VersatilityJump cables only work when connecting a battery to another battery.Portable jump starters are self-contained and even allow users to charge their phones or use other electronic devices when needed.
AccessibilityJump cables are accessible as long as other vehicles are around, and the owner’s permission to use their battery to jump-start yours.Jumpstarters must be fully charged for use, and not all jumpers will work with all cars.
As you can see, there are pros and cons to each. But in general, if you can remember to keep your portable until charged, it will be more useful in the long run – especially if you find yourself on a quiet road with no service and no other cars to help.

Check out this related article that I wrote about the Best Tire Repair Kit for Every Tesla Model. This is somewhat related to this post.

Type S Jump Starter

There are a variety of portable jump-starts available. However, the best recommendation is the lithium Type S jump starter.

Type S jump starters can bring life to a dead battery in seconds. They’re made up of solid lithium batteries, with battery cell capacities varying across models. They’re small, portable, and can jump-start 12-volt vehicle batteries rapidly to get you back on the road as soon as possible. 

It is also straightforward to charge a Type S jump starter. The majority of devices use a micro USB connector to charge from any standard electrical outlet. When the battery is fully charged, color-coded LED lights usually flash. 

The majority of problems are caused by depleted portable jumper batteries. After each usage, the device must be recharged. 

Charging times vary, but they usually take between four and five hours to finish. When not in use, be sure to charge your portable jump starter every three to four months. This will assist in lengthening the unit’s life. 

This TYPE S 12V 6.0L Jump Starter is very affordable and offers instructions on the screen for jumping your vehicle. 

In terms of price, high-capacity lithium-ion devices can cost anywhere from $50 to $100, depending on features and overall battery capacity. 

Type S 12V 6.0L Jump Starter With Qi Wireless Charging, Jumpguide™ And 8,000 Mah Power Bank

Benefits of Portable Jump Starters

A portable jump starter gives a strong charge to assist your vehicle when its 12-volt battery is dead or depleted. These portable devices may be stowed in a car trunk or glove box since they have built-in batteries and can be very compact.

Here are some other benefits of portable jump starters:

  • Lithium-Ion Power. Modern lithium-ion battery technology is used in Type S models. Traditional lead-acid batteries are greatly outperformed by lithium. They are more efficient, can be recharged hundreds of times, and keep a charge longer. All Tesla automobile models use this battery technology, which provides constant and reliable power on demand. 
  • Compact Design. Type S jump starters are ultra-lightweight, small, and portable. They can be tucked away and out of sight in the glove box of a car, truck, or boat or beneath a seat. The majority of them are also under 5 pounds (2.3 kg), making them incredibly light and portable. 
  • Multi-Use Handy Charger. The adaptability of these portable jump starters is incredible. To charge your personal devices on the road, most include USB, micro-USB, and USB Type-C connectors built-in. So when you’re on the road, keep your cellphones, tablets, smartwatches, GoPro camera, and headphones charged. 
  • Handy Flashlight. On most Type S models, a rechargeable lithium-ion LED flashlight is included. There are three flashlight modes: flashlight, strobe, and hazard. It can be used to replace a tire at night, check for your keys on the floorboard, signal for help from a passing car, and more. 
  • Wireless Charging Capability. You are in luck if you have an iPhone or Android phone that supports wireless charging. One Qi-certified Type S jump starter type can charge your smartphone while you’re on the road. 

Final Thoughts

To jump-start a Tesla, first, you need to gain access to the battery. In older Model S and 3 cars, this involves jumping cables behind the tow hook. In later Model X and Y vehicles, there are pulleys behind a panel on the front bumper. 

Once the hood is open, you can connect jumper cables to the battery and give your Tesla enough juice to get it on a tow truck. 

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Erwin Meyer
Erwin Meyer

Thanks for visiting evspeedy.com. The goal of this site is to be a helpful resource for Tesla and EV owners as this is where my passion lies. I was a TSLA shareholder before the hype and still am. I also believe in Tesla’s speedy mission to accelerate the world to a sustainable future.