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This bizarre piece of nonsense about “jump-starting a car leading to a $731.33 repair bill” has over 200,000 shares on Facebook. Regardless of where it came from or why somebody posted it in the first place, what you need to know is that it’s dumb and you should ignore it.

We’re not going to embed or link it because it doesn’t need any more attention, but here’s what we’re talking about (as screenshotted July 15, 2021, about 10:00 a.m. PT):

Image: Facebook screengrab

Ah, Facebook. A little more than a decade ago, it was an app for college students to keep in touch with random classmates and make photo albums to commemorate every time they went out drinking. Now, it’s where people like farm “viral” statuses that are basically just today’s version of spammy chain letters that made their way through everybody’s Hotmail accounts when the internet as we know it was still new.

Whew, lord. Where to start? Let’s break this status down, piece by piece.

The price of being a Good Samaritan. Got asked for a jump start at WalMart and, being a good guy, obliged them.

What a wonderful soul, no acidity in my tone here, I promise. It sucks like hell to be stranded in a parking lot with no recourse. Good on you, sir.

All the lights on my dash lit up and the car got really sluggish after the start.”

In my experience, “all lights on the dash” lighting up does typically point to serious electrical issues. Remember, I had a Fiat 500L that had grounding issues. Before I rectified the issue, it had trouble systems for every computerized code. Taking this statement at face value tells me that he probably somehow buggered the electrical system whilst attempting to jump-start the vehicle. Assuming this scenario did happen, most likely he didn’t check the negative and positive leads, and reverse the polarity, shorting out some wiring. 

“Turns out jumping newer model cars shorts the sensors in parts of the motor.”

Uh, what? In theory, that’s what a fuse box and fuses are for. In most any car electrical circuit, a fusible link (or fuse, for short) is used as a failure point to prevent too much current from destroying your electrical systems. In a reverse-jumping situation, it’d likely blow out a fuse, or very well short out “some sensors in parts of the motor”.

Don’t try this at home, folks.

That’s related to a reversed charging/jumping scenario and has little to do with the age of a car. Plenty of new cars have the ability to jump-start any car, Hell, even some EV’s are capable of jump-starting gas-powered vehicles!

“Several mechanics at AutoZone as well as my mechanics said NEVER jump start another car.”

Oh, honey. AutoZone doesn’t have mechanics. They’ve got sales clerks that might be slightly more mechanically inclined than your average retail worker. No hate to anyone’s profession, but “mechanic” is simply not an accurate job title for somebody working the counter at an auto parts store.

If you’ve got safe jumper cables (no cracks, melting, or overly worn cables), you should be good to go.

“It creates chaos in the electrical parts of cars with check engine lights and can short out any number of sensors. Guess I got “lucky” I only shorted out two. Maybe I’ll save some friends from the same experience. I had no idea!”

Now, I’d be a royal asshole if I continued to dump on the man who posted this, if his FB account is even real (who knows anymore). Plenty of people are already clowning on him in the comments. It is possible that a few dumb mechanics and parts clerks in fact give him this advice and he believed it. The phone number on the receipt goes to a tire place, and those are not known for having elite mechanical expertise. If he did manage to hurt his car with a jump start, he probably put the cables on backward. When done correctly, jump-starting another vehicle is safe, easy, and harmless to your vehicle. If you’re unsure of how to do this, read The Drive‘s “How to Jump Start a Car” blog!

Don’t believe everything you read on Facebook, folks. Talk to real people, do your own Googling, and don’t fall for those Hotmail-looking chain letters. OK?

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