You should have a portable jump starter. Seriously. But why, you ask? Many reasons.
I have had a portable jump start device that lives in my truck for years. The most obvious reason to have one is to jump start a vehicle with a dead or weak battery. But it can serve a lot of other purposes as well.
The most obvious reason to have one of these is, of course, because the battery that starts your vehicle is low. With the way the universe works, this normally happens on a cold and rainy night when you’re in a big hurry. Of course.
I’ve also watched too many detective shows where someone is the victim of a crime after they can’t start their car in a dark alley.
As with any device that involves vehicle batteries, it’s a really, really good idea to be familiar with how to use this device with your vehicle. While the assumption is that you simply place this on your car’s battery, push the button and get in and start it, that may not be how it actually works on your vehicle.
I also like the units that have a polarity protection function so if you somehow do mix the negative with the positive, you don’t end up with a very, very bad situation. Vehicle batteries can explode for a variety of reasons, so it’s good to know what you’re doing. But it’s also good to have a device that works with you to reduce the chances of something very bad happening.
While I’m pretty meticulous about keeping my vehicle battery clean and well maintained, I’ve used mine several times to come to the aid of others. It’s always nice to be able to be of assistance. People are also pretty surprised that a relatively small jump start box can actually get a vehicle started, but it can.
While I haven’t used the jump start function all that often, I have used the flashlight on the jump starter on several occasions. Since there’s a relatively beefy battery in the jump start device, it stands to reason that the somewhat bright light on mine will run for some time.
Thus far, it hasn’t let me down in this department. Mine also can flash the light in an SOS pattern (three short bursts, three long bursts, three short bursts). Someone out there may know what that means, but it’s a flashing bright light for everyone.
Lastly, this also offers the ability to charge USB devices. If you are stuck somewhere with a dead battery, it’s pretty likely that your phone, too, will be suffering the same fate.
Again, those detective shows.
So being able to bring your phone back to life is pretty valuable as you can call whatever roadside assistance program you have so that they can get there hours later. I know. I’ve called roadside assistance before.
What to get
Looking on Amazon, I noticed that there are a few different brands of these with a variety of capacities, none of which is the brand that I have owned for years. But they share the functionality of being able to charge USB devices, have a flashlight and offer protection in the event that they’re not properly connected or that they detect another issue.
The ones from a company called NOCO Boost seem pretty highly rated with lots of reviews and offer all the features I mentioned. Further, there are different capacities with prices ranging from under $100 up to over $200.
I bought mine at the local auto parts store and, as written, have been happy with it. I think this is one of those essential things you put in your vehicle and hope you don’t have to use it. But it certainly is nice to have if you do.
And that way you won’t be the starring victim in one of those late-night detective shows.