Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Best Bluetooth OBD2 Scanner: Complete Buyer’s Guide and Top Products in 2020

from Twitter

September 16, 2020 at 04:25AM
via Auto Clean Freak

Best Bluetooth OBD2 Scanner: Complete Buyer’s Guide and Top Products in 2020

girl checking scanner

Routinely servicing your vehicle is important in order to keep it running efficiently and smoothly. Often, the check engine light will turn on when sensors pick up an issue with your vehicle’s performance. However, the check engine light can pop on at any time, even if you take great care of your vehicle. Using the best Bluetooth OBD2 scanner can help you determine the cause of the check engine light, within minutes, so you can take care of the problem immediately and keep your vehicle running smoothly.

I’ve put together an in-depth buyer’s guide that includes all the important information you need to know when you’re shopping around for a new OBD2 scanner. I’ve also reviewed many of the best-selling models, narrowing it down to six scanners that are a steal for the price and offer a better than average, highly accurate performance.

Below, you’ll find a comparison chart that features each product on my list, their best features, and their rating.

Bluetooth OBD2 Scanner Comparison Chart

Product Compatibility Code Library Subscription Rating
Autel AP200M OBD2
Scanner Bluetooth

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Android/iOS Yes Yes
BlueDriver Bluetooth Pro
OBDII Scan Tool

Shop On Amazon!
Android/iOS Yes No
Veepeak Mini Bluetooth
OBD2 Scanner

Shop On Amazon!
Android No No
AUTOPHIX 3210 Bluetooth OBD2
Enhanced Car Diagnostic Scanner

Shop On Amazon!
Android/iOS Yes No
Bafx Products Bluetooth OBD2 /
OBDII Diagnostic Scanner

Shop On Amazon!
Android/Windows No No
Bluetooth Scanner

Shop On Amazon!
Android/iOS No No

Autel AP200M OBD2 Scanner Bluetooth

Our Rating: (5/5)

This Bluetooth OBD2 scanner by Autel provides a more stable Bluetooth connection compared to competing models, offering a range of up to thirty feet. This model can perform OE level functionality, providing comprehensive diagnostics, advanced ECU scans, allows you to read and clear codes, and features live data reading scans. It also has a reputation for being three times more accurate than competing models. It comes equipped with six maintenance functions including electronic throttle position service, diesel particulate filter, battery management system, steering angle sensor, electronic parking brake, and oil reset.


  • Twelve-month guarantee
  • Multilingual menu
  • Compatible with iOS and Android devices
  • One-year free subscription


  • $19.99 monthly subscription fee after the first year


This feature-packed model can do it all. Download the app on your smartphone and watch as the scanner runs diagnostics on your vehicle. The device is compatible with over 130 makes and models and comes with a multilingual menu, free year subscription for scanner use, and a DTC lookup feature that allows users to read the explanation behind each code.

BlueDriver Bluetooth Pro OBDII Scan Tool

Our Rating: (4.5/5)

This scanner is compatible with Android and Apple devices, is easy to use and allows you to get free unlimited repair reports that are vehicle specific. These repair codes are generated from a database of millions of fixes that have been verified by automotive technicians. The code reader is easy to use, includes free updates, allows you to save data, and features an interactive graph of live data.


  • Easy to use
  • Compatible with Android and Apple devices
  • Bluetooth capabilities
  • Trusted by mechanics


  • Slow data refresh rate


With this scanner, you can read and clear error codes, using an extensive database that includes millions of fixes. This scan tool also comes with free updates, no subscription fees, is easy to use and it was developed by pro engineers. This model is reliable, accurate, and a steal for the price.

Veepeak Mini Bluetooth OBD2 Scanner

Our Rating: (4.5/5)

This OBD2 scanner is compatible with Windows and Android devices but will not work with Apple devices. This model will allow users to read diagnostic trouble codes and reset check engine lights. You can use a PC, tablet, or a smartphone to view important vehicle information. To use this model, you’ll need to download a third-party app such as OBD Fusion or Torque Pro. This model is compatible with trucks and cars made after 1996.


  • Easy to use
  • Compatible with a variety of third-party apps
  • Low price
  • Resets check engine lights


  • Not compatible with Apple products


This device is easy to use and can turn your phone, PC, or tablet into a diagnostic tool that will allow you to easily determine the cause of a check engine light. This model will allow you to reset check engine lights, clear and read diagnostic trouble codes, view live sensor data, view freeze frame data, and determine whether or not your vehicle will pass a smog check. Reasonably priced, compact, and easy to use, this model is a great choice for beginners and car owners who want to save money on costly diagnostic tests offered at their local garage.

AUTOPHIX 3210 Bluetooth OBD2 Enhanced Car Diagnostic Scanner

Our Rating: (4.5/5)

This model scored well for its user-friendly design and its ability to diagnose a check engine light, clear default codes, battery health checks, O2 sensor tests and more. The scanner is also able to provide data for EVAP system tests, onboard monitoring, performance tests, freeze frame, and I/M readiness. It also comes with a built-in OBD2 fault code library, so users can reference the library for the definition of each error code.


  • Includes code library
  • Performance tests
  • O2 sensors
  • User-friendly
  • Can provide readings in nine different languages


  • Poor Bluetooth connection


Unlike most scanners in this price range, this model provides all the information needed to accurately diagnose a car’s trouble codes, so even people who don’t know much about repairs can benefit from using this handy device. Additionally, this model is compatible with both Android and iOS devices and supports major brands and models for vehicles made in 1996 and newer. This model won’t just read off code errors, it will also provide the definitions of each code and the possible causes your vehicle’s check engine is turning on. This model is a great choice for pros and vehicle owners who don’t know much about repairs.

Bafx Products Bluetooth OBD2 Diagnostic Scanner

Our Rating: (4.5/5)

This affordable OBD2 scanner is compatible with Windows and Android devices but isn’t compatible with Apple products. This model will work on all types of vehicles made in 1996 or newer. It’s also covered by a two-year warranty against defects. You can use this scanner to clear and read codes, and run diagnostics in real-time. This scanner is not able to read oil changes, TPMS, SRS, ABS, or anything that’s not directly related to the check engine light.


  • Easy to use
  • Covered by a two-year warranty
  • Affordable
  • Provides diagnostics in real-time


  • Does not include code library
  • Not compatible with Apple products


This model is pretty limited in terms of what it can do. While some competing models will include an onboard library, and will run a variety of diagnostics, this is a very basic model that can read error codes only and will allow users to clear codes. However, unlike competing models, this scanner is covered by a two-year warranty and includes a basic design that makes it very user-friendly.

OBDLink MX+ OBD2 Bluetooth Scanner

Our Rating: (4/5)

This Bluetooth OBD2 scanner is compatible with Windows, Android, and Apple devices. It’s also compatible with a wide variety of apps, allowing you to choose one that offers a user interface that works for you. It also offers advanced support for certain major vehicle brands including:

  • Kia
  • Hyundai
  • Honda
  • Scion
  • Lexus
  • Toyota
  • Infinity
  • Nissan
  • Mazda
  • GM
  • Ford

This model will allow users to run diagnostics, clear check engine lights, and will also provide live parameters for TPMS, SRS, ABS, and more. It also features battery drain and over-voltage protection and regular firmware updates.


  • Easy to use
  • Firmware updates
  • Compatible with Android, Windows, and iOS devices
  • Battery drain protection


  • Does not include an onboard code library


This easy to use Bluetooth OBD2 scanner is compatible with most smartphone operating systems, includes advanced support for many of the major vehicle makes and models, and offers more live parameters than many models of OBD2 scanners in this price range.

OBD2 Scanner Buyer’s Guide

With an OBD2 scanner, running diagnostics on your vehicle is a breeze, in fact you can usually get a reading in under a minute. A car has a computer system that monitors a variety of subsystems that make a vehicle run. The onboard diagnostics scanner allows users to check the status of their vehicle without having to take it to a mechanic and pay a fee for the same service.

Models that run on Bluetooth allow you to use your smartphone or tablet as a diagnostic scanning tool. Using apps that communicate with the scanner when its plugged into your vehicle makes the process even simpler.

While there are many different types of scanners on the market to choose from, wireless Bluetooth models are more convenient and easier to use compared to traditional models.

But before I go over what features these innovative easy to use scanners have to offer, first, let’s discuss the benefits of owning your own OBD2 scanner.

Bluetooth OBD2 Scanner Benefits

bluetooth scanner control

  • When a sensor in your vehicle detects an issue, the car’s computer produces a code and the check engine light will turn on. This light indicates that there’s an issue somewhere in the system. However, without reading the code from the onboard computer, the vehicle owner will have no idea what the issue is. In order to read the codes, the vehicle owner will need to take it to a local garage and have a mechanic run diagnostic tests or the owner can simply purchase an OBD2 scanner. Running diagnostics will cost money, so if  you take your vehicle to a mechanic every time your check engine light turns on, you’ll have to pay a fee. But if you have a scanner, you can do the same tests yourself, for free.
  • These portable devices can easily hook up to your vehicle and will display any trouble codes that pop up. This knowledge will be invaluable when it comes to either the car owner fixing the problem themselves or figuring out how much money it’s going to cost them to have a professional do it.
  • When you own a code scanner, you can easily do your own diagnostics. All you need to do is locate the OBD connector which is usually placed on the driver’s side, under the dash. Once you’ve located the connector, you’ll follow the connection instructions for the scanner. When you run the diagnostics, the codes will instantly pop up on the scanners display or your smartphone or tablet.
  • Sometimes a check engine light will turn on for a serious problem, one that will make it unsafe to drive your vehicle until it’s been repaired. In some cases, the light will turn on when a sensor is out. While it’s important to get that fixed, it’s not something that will require immediate action. The ability to read trouble codes yourself will help determine the severity of the problem.
  • These scanners are very versatile and will work for many different makes and models of vehicles. In 1996, manufacturers were required to use a standard diagnostic method. This onboard diagnostic system allows users to purchase a single scanner for a variety of vehicles. This means car owners will not have to buy a new scanner every time they get a new vehicle.
  • These devices are highly portable, so you can bring one along when you head out on a long car trip. This way, if your check engine light pops on when you’re on the road you can whip out the scanner and determine whether or not your car is in need of immediate repairs.
  • The ability to pinpoint the source of your vehicle’s check engine light means that you’ll be more likely to handle the problem yourself. Some scanners will provide more information than others.
  • If you don’t know much about your vehicle and you’ve never done your own repairs, having a scanner can come in handy to ensure your mechanic isn’t charging you for repairs you don’t need. Most mechanics are honest, but there are some who will overcharge a client who obviously has no idea what’s going on with their vehicle and doesn’t have much knowledge in terms of automotive repairs. Knowing exactly what’s wrong with your vehicle before you bring it to a mechanic will allow you to do a little research online to find out how much the repairs will cost.

Other Important Features

When a check engine light pops on, this indicates that the car’s computer has detected some type of error. This can be anything from a dead oxygen sensor to a loose fuel cap. The error pops up as a code, which will remain stored in the computer’s memory until it has been cleared either with a predetermined reset, a number of engine starts without further issue, or by using a special tool.

OBD2 devices will come in handy for a variety of reasons, especially if you’re someone who is capable of working on your vehicle yourself. But there are many features you’ll want to look for before you purchase a scanner. For starters, if you’ve never used one before, you’ll want to purchase a model that has a reputation for ease of use. Additionally, a scanner should be compatible with both your smartphone and your vehicle and should provide codes within a matter of seconds. Unfortunately, not all models are created equal.

Now, let’s take a look at the basic features these devices have to offer and discuss why a scanner will be invaluable to both the DIY mechanic and the drivers who don’t have much mechanic knowledge.


The codes that a car’s computer generates can be checked with a scanning tool. These tools are a standard piece of equipment at any garage. These scanners can be very simple to use, but you can also come across models that are more feature-packed and thus more challenging to use correctly. The devices themselves consist of a small piece of hardware and an LCD screen, a primitive operating system, and a few buttons. The scanners are preloaded with trouble codes from a wide range of manufacturers and they’re designed to assess an engine’s performance, quickly and efficiently.

Bluetooth Capability

You’ll also come across a number of pro-quality models that are designed for smartphone use. These compact devices will connect to the serial portal in your vehicle, transmitting data over Bluetooth and interacting with an app on your tablet or smartphone. These scanners will allow you to read and clear codes and have a better reputation for more accurate readings.

These devices work by translating the data that’s output from a vehicle’s computer using the OBD interface.

Since everyone has a smartphone these days, using one of these Bluetooth devices is incredibly convenient.


Some scanners will have brand specific apps, while others will allow users to choose from a wide variety of apps based on operating systems. Most of these apps are free, however, there are some that will require a small fee to install it.


Some higher priced scanners can require a monthly subscription fee to use the dedicated app. Often, these scanners will offer a free six to twelve-month subscription, then they’ll begin monthly charges after the trial period is over. The subscription fee can be as low as $2 a month, up to $20 a month.

OBD Compatibility

One of the biggest concerns buyers will have to deal with is choosing a model that’s compatible with their vehicle. Before you purchase a scanner, you need to ensure that the model you choose is compatible with your vehicle. This can be done by reading the product’s spec sheet. Not all scanners will be compatible with every car. If you have a newer vehicle, then you’re probably in the clear. However, if you have an older vehicle, then you may run into some issues when it comes to finding a model that will work with your vehicle. As of 1996, all vehicles that were sold in America have been required to be OBD compatible. Basically, if your vehicle was manufactured before 1996 then you probably won’t be able to use an OBD2 scanner. Additionally, when it comes to compatibility, you’ll also need to check if the scanner is compatible with the type of smartphone or tablet you use. If you have a major brand of phone or tablet, then you shouldn’t run into any compatibility issues.

Trouble Codes

Every model will list the trouble codes after a scan has been completed. Once you have the trouble codes, you can do a quick online search if your scanner doesn’t have a code library. This can help you diagnose what’s going on with your vehicle. If you have a higher priced scanner, the tool may provide you with the description of the trouble code, which will make the process much faster. Some models will even provide information that’s vehicle specific. Once you have determined what the codes mean for your vehicle, you can use this information to make the necessary repairs and to purchase the right parts. If the repairs are beyond your skill level, then you can take this data to your local mechanic.

Code Library

Top of the line models that come equipped with an onboard code library can save you plenty of time and effort that would otherwise be spent looking up the code definitions. These code libraries will allow you to quickly perform a search for the code definitions, so you can learn more about why the check engine light keeps turning on and pinpoint exactly what’s going on with your vehicle. Unfortunately, not all models offer this feature, which is a must-have for people who don’t have much car repair experience.


Basic models that will provide just the codes, can run anywhere from twenty dollars up to forty dollars. Models that will display the codes and a description of what each of the trouble codes mean will cost more, but this ability can save you plenty of time and money. On average, these scanners can cost $30 to $100. The more information a model provides, the higher the price tag.


The warranties available can range from ninety days to two years. Higher priced models will often come with better warranties that offer more coverage, while low-priced scanners may not come with a warranty at all.

Ease of Use

Some models will be easier to use than others. If you don’t have much experience working on cars or you’ve never used an OBD2 scanner, then you’ll want a model that has a reputation for a beginner-friendly interface and one that includes intuitive controls.

Connecting and Reading an OBD2 Scanner

  • Using an OBD2 scanner is pretty straightforward. Before you start, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with the scanner’s user manual.  After you’ve learned about the basics of the scanner, you’ll need to download an OBD2 scanner app on your tablet or smartphone, then pair it with your device.
  • You will also want to update the scanner’s software before you use it. Many scanner manufacturers will offer software updates, which will update the model’s code database. This is often done by plugging the scanner into a computer via a USB cord.
  • Next, you’ll plug the standard connector into the vehicle’s port, which is located on the driver’s side of the dash. Turn your vehicle on in order to power the scanner. You may need to enter vehicle specific information such as the VIN. In order to check for the engine codes, you’ll press the scan button and follow the instructions that pop up on your tablet or smartphone.
  • A scan will usually take about thirty seconds. Once the scan is completed, follow the screen prompts to see if your vehicle is reporting any error or trouble codes. Make sure you record the data. If you want to see if the code was a one-time issue or you’ve used the data to repair the vehicle, use the scanner to clear the reported codes. This resets the check engine light.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are all OBD Readers the Same?

All vehicles will use the same definitions when it comes to generic codes. For enhanced codes there are models available that are vehicle specific, however, the accuracy can vary from one year to the next, so the codes may be out of date by the next model year.

What is the Difference Between an OBD Reader and Scanner?

A code reader is essentially a simplified version of a scanner. This type of tool is only able to perform basic scans for trouble codes. A scanner can read and clear codes and may also be able to read advanced data and can come with knowledge bases and playback features, in addition to diagnostic procedures.

How do I Permanently Delete Engine Codes?

In order to clear trouble codes using a monitor cycle, you’ll begin by repairing the issue that caused the trouble code to appear. Once the repairs have been made then you can clear all the codes.

How Can I tell if my Engine Code has Been Cleared?

On the scanner, you’ll press enter or read, depending on the model of scanner you have. Next, you’ll scroll down to the I/M readiness menu and choose it. Take a look at all of the systems. If the majority of them say not ready, then it means that the check engine light has recently been reset.

How Many Miles do you Have to Drive to Clear a Check Engine Light?

After clearing a car’s computer, you may only need to drive fifty to sixty miles, but one hundred miles seems to be the average for most vehicles. As you drive around, the vehicle’s computer will monitor every sensor and register the results.

Final Thoughts

The best OBD2 Scanners are beginner-friendly, feature an intuitive menu, and will connect to your tablet or smartphone via Bluetooth technology. Make sure that the model you choose is compatible with your make and model of vehicle. In most cases, you can purchase a model that will work for all of your vehicles, however, there are model specific scanners available, which can be a huge plus for some vehicle owners. This buyer’s guide, in addition to the products I’ve chosen, are designed to help you select a model that will come with all of the features you need to accurately diagnose your vehicle and have it up and running in no time. Each of the models included in my guide scored well in terms of versatility, ease of use, and overall quality, so you should have no trouble finding a solid model that you can rely on the next time your vehicle’s check engine light turns on.

from Auto Clean Freak
via Auto Clean Freak

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Best Car Floor Mats for 2020: Epic Buyer’s Guide

from Twitter

July 22, 2020 at 12:25PM
via Auto Clean Freak

Best Car Floor Mats for 2020: Epic Buyer’s Guide

clean car interior

Your car really goes through it. You and the family track in dirt, mud, pollen, debris, spill food and beverages, and create a mess that can end up bringing down your vehicle’s resale value. So why not protect your investment by using the best car floor mats to keep the interior intact?

Shopping around, you’ll notice there are dozens of sets to choose from, but finding that right set, one that’s durable, attractive, and can offer the type of protection your car’s carpet needs, isn’t as easy as it sounds. Because of this, I decided to test out many of the leading sets of floor mats on the market, narrowing it down to four sets that are built tough and perfect for a wide range of carpet styles. I’ve also put together an in-depth buyer’s guide that lists many of the features you’ll want to pay attention to, so you can be sure you purchase the right type of floor mats for your vehicle. Below, you’ll find a comparison chart that includes each of the models that made it onto my must-have list, including their rating and best features

Car Floor Mats Comparison Chart

Product Material Pieces Colors Rating
Motor Trend Car Floor Mats Set

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Rubber 4 3
AmazonBasics Rubber Floor Mats

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Rubber 3 3

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Rubber 3 1
BDK MT202 Carpet Floor Mats

Shop On Amazon!
Carpet 4 7

Motor Trend Car Floor Mats Set

Our Rating: (5/5)

The latest tortoise mats by Motor Trend are designed with durability in mind. The mats are heavy, thick, and include a trunk/cargo mat, two front mats, and a rear liner. The rubber is 100% odorless. The mats are also semi-custom, so you can trim them to fit the footwells perfectly. This set is easy to clean and features flexible contours so they will slide right in. They’re a great choice for anyone looking for all-weather mats.


  • Durable
  • Four-piece set
  • All-weather design
  • Odorless


  • 3 color options only
  • 1 size option


This mat set will work to protect your vehicle’s carpet from stains and spills. They’re durable, semi-customizable, and are available in three color options, so you can choose one that will complement the interior of your vehicle.

Amazon Basics 3-Piece All-Season Rubber Floor Mats

Our Rating: (4.5/5)

These rubber floor mats are perfect for every season. The set consists of three pieces, including one full-coverage back mat, and two mats for the front. The rubber is odorless and BPA-free. The mats are also fade-resistant and will not warp, split, or crack in harsh conditions. The ergonomic design consists of non-slip grooves that will improve foot traction in wet weather. The bottom of the mats are equipped with anti-slip rubber spikes, designed to keep the mats securely in place. This set is also covered by a one-year warranty, which will give shoppers a huge incentive to buy.


  • Rubberized spikes on back prevent mats from sliding
  • Odorless BPA-free rubber
  • Durable
  • Fade-resistant


  • Rear mat is very small


Built tough and perfect for all-year use, these mats will not move or slide as you get in and out of your vehicle, thanks to the rubber spike backing. They’re a great choice if you’re looking for some basic mats that are thick, durable, and designed to not fade, wear, or crack, and can take on any type of weather condition.


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

These mats are designed to fit Honda Accord Sedans from 2013-2017. Additionally, these mats are not designed for vehicles with vinyl floors. The mats are made out of nontoxic materials and do not contain lead, cadmium, or latex. They’re designed to provide all-weather protection and feature a non-slippery design. The mats are designed to be easy to clean, simply spray them down with a hose and shake them out, leaving them on a flat surface to air dry in the sun. Their thickness is what makes them so durable, while the unique channels on the surface will trap sand, dirt, snow, and liquids, protecting your interior against spills.


  • Durable
  • Channel design traps spills
  • Made out of nontoxic materials
  • All-weather use


  • Only compatible with Honda Accords
  • Not designed for use on vinyl floors


These mats utilize advanced technology and provide all-weather protection from sand, mud, spills, and snow. They’re only compatible with Honda Accords, and cannot be used in vehicles with vinyl flooring, which will be a deal breaker for some potential buyers. Overall, the all-weather design and their top of the line durability are what makes this set a top seller.

BDK MT202 Fresh Carpet Floor Mats

Our Rating: (4/5)

These carpet car mats can handle mud, snow, and rain. They’re equipped with ergonomic grooves that provide comfort and improved foot traction, while also working to trap liquids and minimize messes caused by spills and wet weather. The heel rest station consists of a thick pad that’s made to improve the driver’s traction and comfort. These mats are also available in seven color options, so you can choose a set that will complement your interior.


  • Seven color options to choose from
  • Heel rest stations
  • Ergonomic grooves
  • Low price


  • Stitching can start to come out after a few months of use


This set can instantly improve the look of your vehicle’s interior. They’re also a great choice for car owners on a tight budget. The unique design of the mats will improve traction, while also containing spills and preventing them from spreading. However, there have been some complaints that the stitching in some of the mats will begin to unravel after a few months of use. This can be a deal breaker for some buyers, although, considering the low price, it’s not much of a surprise that the mats are not quite as durable as standard rubber mats. Yet, these mats do a great job of improving rider comfort and minimizing stains as they protect the interior of your vehicle.

Car Floor Mats Buyer’s Guide

If you have kids and pets, then your vehicle has tracked in dirt, sand, debris, and whatever else you can imagine. The floors have also probably experienced their fair share of spilled drinks and dropped food. But it’s never too late to protect your car’s carpet. Floor mats can do just that, and can also make routine car maintenance much easier, since instead of shampooing the carpets, all you have to do is clean the floor mats. This buyer’s guide will go over all of the must-have features you need to protect your interior, ensuring you end up purchasing a set that’s tough and designed to last, while providing the level of protection your carpet needs.

If you’re not sure whether you need floor mats for your vehicle, I’ll go over the many benefits they offer and how they can help to prevent stains, spills, and general wear and tear.

Car Floor Mat Benefits

Vinyl car mat

If you’ve recently purchased a new vehicle, then protecting your investment is important. Additionally, if you have small children or pets, you know that spills and accidents are bound to happen, which is why taking preventative measures to protect your vehicle’s interior is essential. Below, I’ll go over the many benefits you’ll enjoy when you purchase a new set of floor mats in your vehicle.

  • Even a small spill can leave a mark on your interior. Spilled cups of coffee or soda can leave behind a permanent stain, which automatically decreases your vehicle’s resale value. While you can’t avoid every spill and stain, using floor mats can prevent them from having a major impact on the condition of your vehicle’s carpet.
  • Dirt can be found everywhere. Your pet will track it into your vehicle on their paws, you’ll bring it inside your vehicle on your shoes and clothing, and so will any passengers in the vehicle. Heavy foot traffic can also bring more dirt and grime inside your vehicle on a daily basis. If your car is exposed to grime and dirt on a daily basis, then purchasing floor mats will make it easy to clean out your car’s interior at the end of the week, while protecting your vehicle’s carpet.
  • Even if you stay on top of car maintenance, carpets that are left unprotected will be susceptible to wear and tear. You may even already have some heel marks on the driver’s side. This happens just by resting your heels against your carpet. This type of friction will wear away at your carpet, leaving it worn and faded. Using floor mats will protect your car’s carpet from general wear and tear, preventing serious damage that can be expensive to repair.
  • Buying mats will also allow you to give the interior more of a custom look, allowing you to choose a color that complements the color of the carpet, or you can go for a more monochromatic look.

Difference Between Liners and Car Floor Mats

When you’re shopping around for a new set of mats for your vehicle, you’ll come across liners as well. However, there’s a big difference between both types, in terms of how much they cost and how they work. Floor mats consist of flat pieces of rubber or carpet, or a combination of the two. They’re more affordable than liners and provide better protection. Liners are designed to fit the contours and shape of the footwells, for a specific vehicle. The liner will have a wall or lip around the sides which will trap spills. But they don’t offer the same level of protection that floor mats can, although they’re about as durable.

Must-Have Features

Now, I’ll go over the most important features that can indicate quality and what you’ll need to look for in a new set of mats to ensure you purchase a set that’s designed to last.


Most types of floor mats will feature a traditional design that’s intended to fit most makes and models of cars and SUVs. Their universal design is what makes it easy to find a set that will fit perfectly in your vehicle, but some can run a little small, which will make them a poor choice for larger vehicles, such as trucks and SUVs. Regardless of the style of mats you choose, make sure you measure the floor space in your vehicle to ensure the mats you intend to purchase will fit your vehicle’s footwells. Pay attention to each set’s width and length and compare their dimensions to the dimensions of your footwells to find a set that offers the perfect fit.

Some manufacturers will produce mats for specific makes and models. These custom mats can cost more than universal sets, but they’re often worth the higher price tag.


Carpet floor mats are often a more affordable option compared to thick rubber mats. There are also several sets to choose from, so finding a set that matches the interior of your vehicle should be pretty easy. Mats made out of carpet often don’t last very long, at least compared to rubber mats. They can also show signs of wear and tear rather quickly and can be difficult to clean. However, if you’re on a tight budget, then carpet mats are a great choice. They’re also often available in a wide range of color options so you can match the mats to the color of your car’s carpet or go for a most custom look and choose a color that’s flattering to your interior.


These mats are more expensive, but they feature a thick, durable design that makes them a total asset in any vehicle. however, they’re often much pricier than carpeted mats and don’t offer much in terms of style or color options. While their durability is the main reason many car owners choose this option, the fact that they’re very easy to clean and maintain is another big reason to go with a set made out of rubber.


These mats offer the best of both worlds and feature a rubber and carpet design that allows you to choose a custom look that will complement the interior of your vehicle, although they’re not as durable as standard rubber mats.

Nibs, Teeth, And Anchors

The nibs on the bottom of mats are what prevent them from sliding around. When you’re shopping for a new set, make sure you look for mats that come with large nibs, since they will provide a better grip. Some models will also use a car’s mounting point to keep the floor mats in place. Look for a set that comes with nibs or large teeth, both of which will prevent your mats from moving around when people get in and out of your vehicle. Mats that don’t stay securely in place can end up being totally useless.

In most cases the size and number of nibs or teeth, in addition to the stickiness and weight of the material can have a big impact on how much protection mats can offer. The best fit offered is often by sets that have holes that correspond with a vehicle’s factory floor mat mounting points. Anchors will be important, since without them, a mat can move around or fall out of your vehicle.

Ridges and Rims

You’ll also want to pay attention to the ridges and rims on certain mats. Sets with higher ridges can prevent spills from spreading to your carpet and seeping into the fibers. Additionally, some mats will feature grooves that are designed to channel liquid from the back of the pedals, away from your feet and into a type of catch basin. Mats with ridges and rims may be slightly pricier than mats without this extra feature, but considering how much easier they make it to clean up spills, this is definitely a must-have feature.


Thicker mats can provide a higher level of protection and can also absorb more liquid. This type of thickness indicates quality. They’ll also feel more comfortable under your feet. However, if you’re shopping for rubber or plastic mats, then search for a set that features deep grooves that are designed to keep your carpet clean and free from spills and stains.

Color Options

If you’re interested in rubber mat sets for your vehicle, you’ll find that there really aren’t many options to choose from as far as color goes. In most cases, a manufacturer will offer a black or gray option. For carpet mats, you’ll have more of a selection, so you can choose a color that will complement your interior.


Typically, only the higher priced sets will be covered by a warranty. These are usually the mats that are made out of a thick rubber and have a high rating for durability. Warranty length can range from 6-12 months on average but can vary from model to model or will depend on the manufacturer.


Floor mats can be an affordable and effective way to protect your car’s interior, while also helping to hide old stains and breathe new life into worn carpet. Prices can range from $25 all the way up to $200, depending on the brand, how many mats come in a set, and the type of material they’re made out of. Carpet sets are often more affordable than rubber floor mats.

Rubber Mat Care

black rubber mats

If you’ve purchased a set of mats made out of rubber, then the first step is shaking them out to remove any dirt. Doing so will break up some of the dirt and grime that’s stuck in the grooves. This technique will also work for carpeted mats.

Next, wet down the mats using a hose or pressure washer. Use a granule-based laundry detergent for both rubber and carpet styles and spread it onto the surface of the mats. Scrub them using a push broom. Make sure you brush the mats in several directions in order to agitate the dirt and grime. If you don’t have a push broom, then you can also use a stiff hand brush.

Rinse off the soap from one corner to the next, gradually pushing the soap across the surface. Repeat this process until the water runs clear.

Carpet Mat Care

Use baking soda and rub it onto the surface of the mats in order to neutralize odors and remove stains. You can also add some water, applying it with a spray bottle, then take a stiff scrub brush and work the baking soda into the surface.

If there are still stubborn stains left behind, then use some detergent. You can use a stiff brush and laundry detergent to scrub out tough stains. Rinse off the mats until the water runs clear, then hang them on a flat surface in the shade to prevent fading.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Rubber Car Mats Better Than Carpet?

In many cases, choosing rubber can be a more economical choice than carpet. Rubber provides more protection compared to mats made out of carpet. Rubber is also very durable and able to better withstand the elements of harsh climates. In some cases, it will be a matter of personal preference if you’re looking for a set that can give your vehicle a more custom look. Often, you’ll have more color and style options if you go with a set made out of carpet.

How do you Keep Car Mats Clean?

This will depend on the type of material the mats are made out of. For most types, all you’ll need is a scrub brush, a hose, and some detergent. You’ll remove the mats and spray them down with a hose. Then scrub them down with the help of the scrub brush and detergent. Basically, if you stay on top of the mess and rinse your mats off after a big storm, or once a month for routine maintenance, you should have no trouble keeping them looking new.

Why are my car Floor mats wet?

Your mats may be wet due to an issue with the air conditioning system leaking onto the floor on the passenger’s side. While the AC works to keep your vehicle cool, the system creates condensation. The condensation should normally drip down the evaporator hose and into the ground as you’re driving. If there’s an issue with the hose then it may begin to leak inside your vehicle.

Can we put Floor mats in the Washing Machine?

No. This can ruin your mats, causing them to wear out quickly. Avoid placing any type in the washing machine and instead wash them by hand. Always pay attention to the included manufacturer’s cleaning instructions.

Can you put car mats in the Dryer?

No. Mats should be left outside to air dry and should never be placed in the dryer. This will increase their wear and tear and can significantly shorten their lifespan.

Final Thoughts

Floor mats should be looked at as an important investment and one that can protect the interior in your vehicle. The best car floor mats will protect your car’s carpet from damage, wear and tear, dirt, grime, dust, and spills. It’s important to protect your car’s interior, since damage can negatively impact your vehicle’s resale value. The rubber and carpet floor mats that made it onto my top four list each scored well in a variety of areas, thanks to their durability, low maintenance needs, and overall quality. Refer to this guide when you’re shopping online searching for the perfect new set of mats for your vehicle. Remember to pay attention to the type, size, and design, to ensure you purchase a set that’s compatible with your vehicle and one that can provide the type of protection your vehicle’s carpet needs.

from Auto Clean Freak
via Auto Clean Freak

Thursday, July 2, 2020

The Best Jump Starter For Your Car in 2020 – Full Buyer’s Guide

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July 02, 2020 at 04:25PM
via Auto Clean Freak

The Best Jump Starter For Your Car in 2020 – Full Buyer’s Guide

Two road assistant

Imagine driving your car down a scenic road on your vacation and you stop to take a small break and enjoy the surrounding views. You get back in and your car doesn’t start, now what? Unfortunately, a lot of people have been in the same situation and dead car batteries can occur due to a variety of reasons. However, those reasons aside, you should always have a back-up plan. In the case of a dead battery, the best back-up plan is having a jump starter and in this guide, we will go over some of the best jump starters for cars and light trucks on today’s market.

We’ve handpicked some of the best models for this year and have reviewed their biggest pros and cons. Before we dive into that, though, let’s briefly compared their features and see how they stack up against each other…

Jump Starters Comparison Chart

Product Peak Amps Voltage Air Compressor Our Rating
NOCO Boost Plus GB40
Shop On Amazon!
1000 12V No
Stanley Fatmax J7CS
Shop On Amazon!
700 12V Yes
Clore Automotive JNC550A
Shop On Amazon!
1700 12V No
Shop On Amazon!
900 12V Yes
Clore Automotive JNC1224
Shop On Amazon!
3400 (12V)
1700 (24V)
12/24V No
DeWalt DXAEJ14
Shop On Amazon!
1400 12V No
Schumacher SC1281
Shop On Amazon!
100 6/12V No
GOOLOO SuperSafe
Shop On Amazon!
1200 12V No

NOCO Boost Plus GB40 Car Battery Jump Starter

Our Rating: (5/5)

NOCO has been a pioneer on the portable battery market for the better part of the last decade now. Their Genius series have shown great success and it was natural to extend the line of products into the jump starter market. The NOCO Boost Plus is one of the most highly portable battery jump starters you can get currently and has the power to crank most modern vehicles and light trucks.

The whole appeal of the Boost Plus is that, unlike other portable jump starters, it is very compact and can fit in most trunk organizers. The weight of it is just under 2.5 pounds also making it one of the lightest models on this list. It is also extremely easy to use with its minimalistic design. At the front there are only three buttons – On/Off button, the Light mode button, and the manual mode button. With the press of the on/off button, you get 1000 peak amps delivered to your car’s battery when you crank the engine. It can crank gas engines with a volume of up to 6.0 liters and diesel engines up to 3.0 liters. It also has a capacity of 20 jump starts before it runs out of battery. Luckily, it fully charges in around 3 hours (at 2.1 amps).

In terms of safety, the Boost Plus has reverse polarity protection, although it has no indicators to flash or make a sound if you hook up the terminals the wrong way around. The jump starter also is spark-proof eliminating one of the biggest issues with other powerful models.

Along with its portability, this jump starter also acts as a portable power bank with 2 USB ports (in/out). It also has an LED flashlight with seven different light models, including strobe and SOS.

Unfortunately, this jump starter is a bit expensive, costing nearly one hundred dollars. It also works with 12V batteries only, being useless if your vehicle has a 6V battery. Still, the peak amps it can discharge combined with all of its other features and compact size make it a good-enough investment for most people. You also get a few accessories such as 12-volt car charger, well-built clamps with cables, a micro-USB charging cable, and a storage bag.


  • Comes with a lot of accessories
  • 1000 Peak Amps
  • Can jump start up to 20 times
  • Highly portable
  • Doubles as a flashlight and power bank
  • Comes with a carry bag
  • Charges up fully in around 3 hours
  • Very easy to use


  • A bit expensive
  • Not great for larger diesel engines
  • Works with 12V batteries only

Stanley Fatmax J7CS Portable Power Station

Our Rating: (4.5/5)

The Stanley Fatmax J7CS portable power station is one of the best things you can have in your car’s trunk in case of something going wrong. It has a jump starter, acts as a power bank, has a strong LED rotatable light, and an air compressor. All of that pretty much covers most of the issues that can happen to your car on a road trip.

The jump starter has 350 instant starting amps with the current being able to peak at 700 amps. That is more than enough for gas engines up to 6 liters and small and medium diesel engines (up until around 3 liters). It comes with heavy-duty clamps that also have reverse polarity detection. When you accidentally hook the clamps in reverse to the wrong terminals, the reverse polarity LED light will turn on and you will also hear an audible alarm to notify you. The jump starter won’t start until you swap the clamps.

At the back of the Fatmax you have an air compressor that can reach 120 PSI equipped with a SureFit nozzle. You can check your tire pressure and monitor it during the fill-up through the illuminated pressure gauge.

Additionally to all of that you have 3 USB ports and a 12-volt power outlet to help you charge external devices on your trip. There is a whole lot of capacity at 7 Ah meaning you can charge mobile phones quite a lot of times before the Fatmax runs out of its battery power. There is also a pivoting LED light that can turn at 270 degrees to help you illuminate anything around your car’s exterior.

If this version is too weak for your car’s engine, you can get the Stanley JumpIt that has 1000 peak amps and 500 amps instant starting power. Otherwise, this is one of the best all-in-one emergency tools you can get for your car.


  • 700 peak amps
  • Has an air compressor
  • Heavy-duty cables and clamps
  • Very easy to use
  • Has a 12-Volt socket and 3 USB ports
  • 270 degrees pivoting LED flashlight
  • Excellent price for its value


  • A bit heavy
  • Tire pressure system isn’t very accurate

Clore Automotive Jump-N-Carry JNC550A Jump Starter

Our Rating: (4.5/5)

Coming third on our list is a jump starter from another famous brand. The Clore Automotive JNC550A is yet another all-in-one tool that can jump start your car and provide air compression in case of a flat tire. It is slightly more expensive than the Stanley jump starter, hence the third position. Other than that, those two models are very comparable with just a few differences.

The jump starter here works with 12V batteries only and is capable of delivering 1100 peak amps and 325 cranking amps to your vehicle’s engine. It works fairly easily with the on/off button at the front. You also have a display next to it that displays various information such as the current voltage of the connected battery, amperage, and more. One more thing you have at the front is a 5V, 2.4A USB port that charges mobile devices quite fast.

Another of the standout features of the JNC550A is its impact-resistant body and comfortable handle. Even though it weighs the whopping 23 pounds, it still is relatively easy to carry around due to its weight distribution and ergonomic handle design. The base of the starter is also rubberized to smoothen potential drops and to add stability.

In terms of safety features, there is a polarity alarm here that notifies you in case you’ve hooked the terminals the wrong way around. There is also overheating protection for the whole unit that will automatically shut it off in case the temperature becomes too high. The clamps are securely put in their storage holsters while behind them you have the braided air hose connector and the compressor. Above those, right next to the unit charger, you have the air compressor gauge and on the other side, you have the on/off button for the compressor.

All in all, for the money you’re paying here, you are getting quite a lot of value. This jump starter is well-protected and has a heavy-duty nature to it that will prove very useful in an emergency situation.


  • Easy to use
  • Durable construction
  • Heavy-duty cables, clamps, and air hose
  • Comes with air compression
  • Polarity protection alarm
  • Good price
  • Has a LED task light


  • Very heavy
  • Can’t handle a large diesel engine properly

POTEK JS86 Jump Starter Source

Our Rating: (4.5/5)

The POTEK JS86 Jump starter is a highly portable all-in-one solution for everything looking something to cover more than just a dead battery. Apart from its potent jump starter, the JS86 has a 150 psi air compressor which is far mroe than some other all-in-one models can offer in terms of possible compresison.

This jump starter can deliver 900 peak amps that are enough to start 12-volt batteries in trucks, cars, boats, ATVs, or even some tractors. In case of reversed polarity, there is a LED indicator. Apart from jump-starting your battery, you can also perform battery tests to see the status of your car’s battery.

The air compressor gauge is located also at the front next to the rest of the control panel functions. You can inflate tires with a max psi of 150. It will take quite a lot for larger tires, however, with some tires needing more than 5 minutes to fully inflate.

This jump starter also has a 9 Ah battery inside which is used to charge various devices through the USB port and DC outlet socket. That is easily more than enough for large devices like laptops and car vacuums. That battery can be charged both with AC and DC adapters. Additionally, you have 3 LED lights at the front which will help you if you are working in the dark. There are also LED indicators that let you know the battery levels at all times. Another very cool thing here is that there is a small storage compartment at the side of the jump starter.

Despite being slightly more expensive than some other similar models, the POTEK JS86 offers a better air compressor, decent peak amps, and a more compact form-factor compared to those same models. This alone makes it a deal you should at least consider. The only downside here is the lower cranking capabilities, which the JS87 and JS88 models definitely take care of.


  • Good bang for your buck
  • 150 psi air compressor
  • 9 Ah battery for charging devices
  • Can be charged with AC and DC adapters
  • Accurate air pressure gauge
  • Lightweight compared to similar models
  • Easy to carry around


  • Takes a lot to fully inflate a tire
  • Doesn’t work with 6V batteries
  • Struggles with gas and diesel engines above 3.0 liters

Clore Automotive Jump-N-Carry JNC1224 Jump Starter

Our Rating: (4.5/5)

It should be no surprise to you that there is a second Clore Automotive jump starter on this list. Their line of products is very diverse and I wanted to include something very powerful here that is capable of cranking even the biggest motors out there. The Jump-N-Carry JNC1224 is an incredibly impressive jump starter that has some heavy firepower under its hood and is all that you will ever need if you want a single jump starter for a wide variety of vehicles you own or service.

This model can put out the whopping 3400 peak amps at 12 volts and 1700 peak amps at 24 volts. Yes, you read that right. It is also suitable for 24 Volt batteries. That covers most heavy-duty diesel engines and can crank some heavy machinery apart from normal cars. The jump starter works automatically for both battery types. Another thing that is great here is the 46-inch heavy-gauge cables with equally strong clamps that can penetrate the corrosion on the battery’s terminals.

While the capacity of this jump starter is great at 44Ah you cannot use it for anything external as there are no 12-Volt sockets or USB ports. Unfortunately, the lack of features theme continues across everything else, as there isn’t anything else that can sway you in the direction of this jump starter apart from its raw power output.


  • Extremely powerful
  • Can crank heavy machinery
  • Good for big gas and diesel engines
  • 3400 peak amps at 12V
  • 1700 peak amps at 24V
  • Heavy-duty cables and clamps


  • No air compressor
  • No USB ports or 12 V socket
  • Very heavy

DeWalt DXAEJ14 Digital Portable Power Station

Our Rating: (4.5/5)

Despite not being famous for their jump starters, DeWalt is a brand that you can trust to make a well-built and durable tool that will last you quite some time. The DXAEJ14 Digital Portable Power Station by DeWalt is definitely the most technologically-advanced jump starter on this list and unfortunately for the end user it has the price tag to match that title.

Despite being expensive, you can rely on it to crank most gas and diesel engines. It has 700 instant starting amps with 1400 peak amps. Those are enough to crank gas engines up to 6.0 liters and most small and medium-sized diesel engines. The large front display will give you all the necessary information about the battery level, the amps that are going through the connectors, and a few other things. There is a reverse polarity sound and visual alarm in case you hook the terminals wrong. The jump starter works with 12 V AGM, GEL, and Wet batteries. You can switch the power between the jump starter and the USB ports with the controls at the front. Those USB ports work at 3.1Amps which is enough to fast-charge most devices. At the back, you have the air compression hose which isn’t very long. The compression works at 120 PSI and has an auto-stop function. It also has a SureFit nozzle but takes quite a lot of time to inflate your tires.

One unique feature of this DeWalt model is that it can perform an alternator check. This is something most other jump starters cannot. The design makes it quite easy to move around despite its nearly 20 pounds of weight. As a whole, this model fits right in the middle of all of its other competitors despite being slightly more expensive than them.


  • Digital controls for the air compressor and jump starter
  • 1400 peak amps
  • Alternator check
  • Fairly portable
  • Works with AGM, Gel, and Wet batteries
  • Easy to use


  • Expensive
  • Doesn’t work with 6V batteries
  • Air compressor is slow

Schumacher SC1281 Engine Starter

Our Rating: (4.5/5)

Schumacher is yet another top-shelf brand that manufactures quality products ranging from battery chargers to tire compressors and jump starters. Their SC1281 is an all-in-one tool that can both keep your battery healthy and jump-start it if needed.

First of all, it is important to mention that this is an automatic battery charger first and a jump starter second. This means that its primary function is to act as a battery maintainer or trickle charger. This is why its peak amps are limited at 100A only. Still, it has automatic voltage detection and can distinguish between 6 and 12 Volt batteries depending on your vehicle type. It can also distinguish between different battery types. In charging mode, it has a computer that processes and handles the charging by controlling the amperage rate at which it charges your battery. It also has multi-stage charging which increases the efficiency of the process and keeps the battery in better health. On top of all that, it has a testing feature that lets you diagnose your battery and alternator to see if there are any leaks or issues along the electrical system of your car.

As a jump starter, it is decently powerful and can jump-start most small diesel engines and almost all gas ones. It has a one-click functionality, so you just have to connect it to the car’s battery and turn the ignition key. There is reverse polarity protection that also comes with a warning light.

As a whole, for its money, it is a great choice, even though it simply won’t cut it for a large diesel engine. For that purpose, I suggest getting a better jump starter with more than 1200 peak amps.


  • Excellent battery charging capabilities
  • Auto-detects battery type
  • Auto-detects battery voltage
  • Works with 6V batteries
  • Reverse polarity protection
  • Easy to carry around
  • Multi-stage automatic charging


  • Not so great as a jump starter
  • Not ideal for large diesel engines

GOOLOO SuperSafe Car Jump Stater

Our Rating: (4/5)

Last and maybe least is the GOOLOO SuperSafe car jump starter. It is the smallest jump starter on this list but is actually quite potent and not a bad bang for yoru buck.

With its 1200 peak Amps, this jump starter can crank Gas engines of up to 7.0 liters in volume and Diesel engines up to 5.5 liters. While this is great on paper, in reality, it doesn’t perform that good and it can crank well most small and mid-sized diesel engines with engines above 3.0 liters getting a bit too much for it. It also has a lot of safety features such as high-temperature protection, short circuit protection, reverse connection warning, over-current protection, high-voltage and over-discharge protections.

With its 18,000 mAh, this GOOLOO jump starter can quick-charge any device with quick-charging enabled. That capacity is good enough for 4-5 charges of a modern smartphone, 2-3 tablet chargers, and getting a laptop halfway to full. The 12 Volt 10 A DC output is also good for portable air compressors, car refrigerator coolers, car vacuum cleaners, and more. One last feature that I want to mention is the LED working light which has three flashing modes including strobe and SOS and is also extremely bright.

Of course, the biggest advantage of being extremely small and practical is also its biggest disadvantage compared to other bigger portable jump starters. While it has a high peak amp rating, it can only crank your engine a few times before its fully drained.


  • Practical and portable
  • Has a strong LED flashlight
  • 1200 peak cranking amps
  • 18000 mAh battery capacity
  • Capable fo quick-charging mobile devices
  • Wide operating temperature range
  • Has a lot of safety features


  • Depletes fast
  • Not ideal for powering up 12 Volt appliances
  • Has a proprietary port for charging isntead of a USB one

Car Jump Starters Buyer’s Guide

Choosing the right jump starter depends on a lot of features, most importantly the cranking amps, voltage, safety features, and a few other aspects that will make things easier for you. Before you dive into all of the different features surrounding modern portable jump starters, we need to first go through some of the basic concepts here…

What is a Jump Starter and How Does it Work?

Jump starters, in their essence, are modified batteries that replace your car’s battery when it dies. They do that by connecting to the battery’s terminals and discharging an electrical current into your vehicle’s starter system that, in turn, cranks the engine and makes it start. Before the era of portable jump starters jump-starting your car had to be done with the electricity coming from another car’s battery. In theory, a car just needs a high electrical surge to crank the engine. After that, the car’s alternator takes care of all the electric demand. This is why jump starting cannot kill the donor battery unless you crank your engine a lot of times without success.

Nowadays, portable jump starters are quite affordable and people prefer having them in their car’s trunk just in case their battery dies when they’re on the road. It is also helpful if you see another car in need of jump-starting.

As with everything else, jump starters have heavily benefited from the progress in battery technology and have become much more sophisticated and potent over the last decade. Portable models can now crank bigger engines, trickle-charge your battery, and even inflate your tires if they have an air compressor built into them. As a whole, having such an all-in-one model at your disposal is a huge insurance policy that you won’t be left stranded by your vehicle.

Types Of Car Jump Starters

We can divide jump starters based on a couple of their aspects. First and foremost, based on their portability they are separated into portable jump starters and stationary ones. Portable jump starters are, without a doubt, far more convenient and that is why most of the models currently on the market are portable. Their biggest disadvantage compared to the heavy-duty jump starters is that they simply don’t have a ton of capacity and are typically good only for cranking your engine a few times or charging your battery once or twice. Heavy-duty jump starters are often located in shops or in emergency service trucks and are much more potent and can crank even semi-trucks and large diesel V12s engines.

Based on their energy-storing technology, they can be divided mostly into lead-acid and Lithium-ion jump starters. Lithium-ion models have the benefit of high energy density and are, therefore, the predominant type you can find out there. I won’t go into the specific numbers but in general, they can store 5 times more energy into the same volume compared to the lead-acid batteries and jump starters. Still, lithium-ion batteries have their own set of disadvantages which is why there are still some sealed lead-acid jump starters around that are actually preferred over the lithium-ion ones by a lot of people.

So, we’ve covered what jump starters are and how they work, as well as the different types there are on the market. Now, let’s take a deeper look at all of the features that make for a good jump starter and learn how to choose one from the sea of models.

How To Choose a Jump Starter

Accumulator charging

The process of choosing the ideal jump starter for your car is a bit complex since there are quite a lot of things that you take into consideration if you want to get a good model. There are some models which are universally good but they are also quite expensive. So, if you want to get the best bang for your buck, you need to know a few things. Let’s go through the most important aspects of a jump starter now:

  • Power figures
  • Voltage
  • Capacity
  • Cables and clamps
  • Portability
  • Safety features
  • Additional Features and accessories


The amperage of your car’s jump starter might be a bit confusing at first but is arguably the most important thing to remember here. First of all, there are a few terms that are used when talking about Amps. Those are – peak amps, instant amps, and cold-cranking amps. In reality, all those terms refer to one thing – how much electricity can the jump starter transfer to the battery in order to start it up. A car’s 12 Volt battery has 6 cells that each require a minimum of 1.2 Volts electrical current to start it up. So, the amps of the jump starter reflect how much power it can generate at that 6 x 1.2 Voltage (minimum).

The “instant amps” metric is how much amps you get instantaneously from the jump starter when you crank your engine. The “peak amps” is the maximum amount of amps that the jump starter can provide for 30 seconds at 32 degrees Fahrenheit (or 0 degrees Celcius). This is because that is calculated to be the average of what most temperature conditions will be in a situation where you will be cranking your car. In other words, its a performance figure that companies give you so that you can judge the relative power output of their jump starter.

Cold-cranking amps are almost the same as peak-amps but are adjusted for colder and harsher climates, meaning it gives you an approximate number of how much Amps will the jump starter put out in less-than-ideal wintery conditions.

In summary, depending on your car’s engine you will need different cranking amps to start it with a dead battery. You will have to check with your car’s manual to see what it needs to crank but getting a jump starter with more than 1000 peak amps is a safe bet for most types of vehicles. Only large diesel engines (above 3.0 liters) and extremely large gas engines (above 6.0 liters) will require an extra amount of power to crank. For those, opt for jump starters with more than 1500 peak amps.


The voltage is important only if you’re looking for a jump starter that will work on multiple vehicles at the same time. Some vehicles have 6 Volt batteries while some industrial vehicles have 24 Volt ones. Having a jump starter that can crank at both 6 and 12 Volts is a great plus. If you want one for your tractors and farming equipment, look for jump starters that work at 12 and 24 Volts with more than 2000 peak amps.


The capacity of the jump starter matters for a few reasons. First, it tells you how many cranks you can do before the jump starter is out of power. Second, it matters if you want to charge different devices out of it. Most big jump starters have around 10 Ah capacity which is more than enough to run air compressors, car vacuum cleaners, refrigerator coolers, and all mobile devices. There are, however, some very small and highly portable jump starters that have a much smaller capacity of around 20,000 mAh. That is substantially lower and often enough just for a few cranks. With those, you will have to be careful as to how exactly you use that power.

Larger jump starters will need regular recharging and most of them have factory recommendations to be fully charged every 30 days.

Cables and clamps


With the jump starter’s cables, you need to pay attention to two things – their length and their gauge. Typically, cables aren’t longer than 5-6 feet as its assumed that you are jump-starting your battery with the jump starter next to or on the car. Still, getting some extra-long 10-20 feet cables will surely help if you want to start the battery from the back of your car or to control the device from your driver’s seat.

About the gauge, look for thicker wires. The thicker the wire, the better it is at delivering more power faster. Smaller vehicles can use an 8 gauge while some sports cars and larger diesel cars/trucks will benefit from a 4 gauge cable. Look for heavy-duty and heavy-gauge cables since they are made to last longer and be safer.

Heavy-duty clamps are also a must since they will grip better and provide better contact with the battery’s terminal. It might also penetrate through any dust or dirt that is surrounding the terminal.


Portability matters a lot if you’re going to carry the jump starter everywhere in your car’s trunk. Bigger ones will weigh around 10-20 pounds and will take a substantial amount of trunk space, while smaller portable jump starters will easily fit in any trunk organizer.

Safety Features

There are quite a few safety features which are important for your car’s and your own safety. Some of the most important ones are:

  • Over-current protection
  • Short-circuit protection
  • High-temperature sensing and protection
  • Reverse polarity protection (when you attach the clamps to the opposite terminals)
  • Over-discharge protection
  • High-voltage protection

Additional Features and accessories

Having additional features to your jump starter only increases its value. Some of the most important additional features you need to look for are power inverters, 12-volt accessory receptacles, an air compressor for tire inflation, LED working light, radio, heavy-duty cables, and heavy-duty clamps. Having charging modes and options on your jump starter is also a good way to make the most out of it by letting it trickle-charge your battery when you’re not driving your car, for instance.

Portable Jump Starters Benefits

Now that we’ve been through all the major features that define a good jump starter, let’s sum up all the potential benefits from owning one:

  • You will never be left stranded at the side of the road wit ha dead battery waiting for someone to stop and help you.
  • Portable jump starters don’t take a lot of space in your trunk and can also charge other devices via their USB ports or 12V outlets.
  • They also double as large portable batteries that you can carry to your camping trip in order to charge lights, phones, and other devices on your trip.
  • Some models have air compressors in them, meaning they will help you in case of a flat tire
  • Almost all jump starters double as car battery chargers and they have different charging modes for fast-charging or trickle-charging your car’s battery. They also have battery status reports and diagnostics that give you the exact state of the battery.
  • Some portable jump starters have emergency LED flashlights that can help you work on your car’s engine bay if something happens at dark

Safety Precautions

Automobile help

There are a few things that you need to take into account when dealing with your car’s electrical system and jump starters. This is done to ensure your own safety and to preserve your car’s electronics. While almost all jump starters will come with a detailed list of safety instructions in their manual, there are still some steps that you need to know to ensure safe jump starting even when getting electricity from another car on the road.

If you’re operating without a user manual, the very first thing you should check are the terminals. Make sure that your car’s battery’s terminals and the clamps of the jump starter are free of dirt and other contaminants. Wipe them clean if you see something that should be there. That will provide a better surface connection between the clamps and the terminals, allowing for electricity to flow uninterrupted. Speaking of that, avoid any excessive moisture around those areas and try avoiding water getting around your terminals during the process of jump-starting. Water conducts electricity and having it around high currents is never safe. Speaking of high currents, make sure you also pack a pair of thick insulated gloves to protect yourself from electrical shocks. The same way gloves protect your hands, you’d also want something to protect your eyes in an event of sparks. This is why safety glasses are always recommended. Most modern jump starters have anti-spark systems in place but you can never rely too much on those systems.

Continuing the topic of what to wear, make sure you aren’t wearing loose clothes or any jewelry that is dangling above the battery you’re working on. The goal of this all is to be as isolated from the process of connecting the terminals as much as you can.

When jump-starting your car from another vehicle, make sure that the voltage and power capacities of both batteries are comparable, otherwise, you risk damaging both of the cars. When you jump start your car, unplug any accessories that are plugged into your car’s 12V socket or USB ports. Also, turn off everything inside including the air conditioning, stereo, headlights, and other features that might be working.

Lastly, make sure that you’re connecting the clamps to the terminals correctly. To learn how to do that, let’s move onto the next section…

How To Jump Start Your Car

When a car’s engine isn’t cranking there could be a few other reasons apart from a dead battery. This is why you should go through all of those before getting to the jump-starting itself. The best way to be sure that the battery is the main culprit is to turn the key to ignition and observe the car’s interior lights. If they flicker, this is almost surely a battery issue. If the dashboard doesn’t react at all it can be either an entirely dead battery or a computer issue. If your car isn’t starting but you hear it cranking and you can also see the lamps and stereo working then this is most definitely not the battery. A dead or a nearly dead battery won’t be able to continuously crank the engine, so if it cranks you need to look into the starter or the cranking sensors. Lastly, if you jump start your car but it dies instantly after that, then this is almost definitely an alternator issue. Alternator issues also show themselves by having your car shut down entirely while you’re driving.

Now, onto the jump starting process. Here are the steps that we need to go through:

  • First and foremost, check your car’s manual to see if there are specific steps listed that are different for your car. For instance, some cars have positive grounding, meaning they require a completely different procedure to be jump-started. Those, however, are quite rare nowadays.
  • Make sure the car is off with your key out and away from the ignition. The jump starter should also be off.
  • Now get to the clamping process. Your car’s battery terminals will most likely be color-coded red for positive and black for negative. Similarly, the jump starter’s clamps are also red for positive and black for negative. Connect the red clamp to the positive terminal and the black one to the negative. Always start with the positive terminal while you keep the jump starter off.
  • Once you are done attaching the red clamp, attach the black one to the other terminal (or to any exposed metal piece of the car). At the moment of attaching the black terminal, you might see sparks but that is normal. Avoid touching the red and black clamps of the jump starter.
  • Once all the terminals and clamps are connected, move the jump starter away from the vehicle (if the cables allow it) and turn it on.
  • Next, go into your car and turn the ignition key. Most modern jump starters will allow you to crank almost immediately but some models will require you to wait a minute or two before the battery gets some juice in it.
  • If your car refuses to start after the first cranking, try again in a minute. Don’t crank for more than 5 seconds at a time.
  • Once your car starts, remove the clamps and let it run for a few minutes. Some people recommend driving as that will arguably charge the car’s battery better.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you keep a jump starter in your car?

If the jump starter is a portable model, then having it in your car is its actual reason. Leaving a portable jump starter in your garage is like having a spare tire in your living room. In other words, it will never be useful when you actually need it. If you are worried about high (or low) temperatures in your car’s trunk, don’t worry, as most jump starters are rated to work in a wide range of temperatures and are quite resistant. Just make sure you check its voltage and amperage from time to time and trickle-charge it if needed.

Will a jump starter start a dead battery?

The thing with dead batteries is that they are slightly harder to jumpstart than batteries with at least some juice in them. The reason for that is that the completely dead battery will suck out more of the power flow towards it instead of it going to the starter. So, with a fixed flow of power, a dead battery will simply redirect most of the electricity towards it and a bad battery won’t be so power-hungry and the starter will have more power to crank the motor.

Is it bad to keep jumping the car even if it doesn’t start?

It really depends on whether you are cranking your car with the help of another car or a jump starter. In both cases, though, your car will be getting a fair amount of potential damage to its electronic equipment due to the constant voltage surges. If you’re cranking with another car’s help you can damage both car’s electronics due to the serious (and repeating) overvoltage. Headlights that are on are also at risk of damage or even burning, so make sure you turn them off if things don’t go your way the first time.


Whether your car’s battery gives up on your in the middle of your journey or you need to crank your car that has been sitting in your garage for the winter, having the best jump starter at your disposal is vital for the process. Good jump starters have high cranking amps, can maintain a stable current, and have safety features along with some other useful accessories. Models that have air compressors in them are the perfect all-in-one emergency tool covering most issues that can go wrong with your car.

from Auto Clean Freak
via Auto Clean Freak