Oh, you gotta love old fashioned booster cables. They don’t work with modern cars. You gotta be real, real careful with them, if you like to use them. Me? I would throw them away.

One of my clients called for road service; the road service guy came out, hooked them up backwards, and fried all kinds of things on her car. Well, one of the things that you would never think of, is right here: this is the third brake light. Well, this is an LED unit, and believe it or not, even in a brake light, there is a circuit board for crying out loud. Well, somehow it managed to destroy this, along with other things. It got very expensive. This alone was $150 plus a couple of hours of labor to install it.

So what would you do as an alterative? Well there are a ton of these lithium-ion battery packs. These are actually jump starters. They come with cables like this. You hook the cables up to the battery, and then you let it sit for a few seconds, go around, and start the car. These actually produce almost as much power as you would get out of the end of an average set of booster cables. They range in price…from $30 to well over $150.

Now what makes the difference? Well, some of the difference is in the size of the battery. And that determines the power output. But the other thing is number of ports; the number of places to plug in. For power in, and power out, and USB and so on. See, like this one, I paid $139 for it. And it came with all of these adapters. Has an adapter to charge it out of the car. It has various adapters for my electronic devices and so on. So it’s very, very versatile. But depending on how much you like to get into do-it-yourself, one of these could be invaluable.

See, from time to time, if you’re into do-it-yourself, you’re going to have to disconnect the battery. And one of the things you’re going to want to do with the battery disconnected is save the memory in all of the devices in the car. So here’s an adapter you can buy as a separate piece. What this is is the plug that goes into the interface under the dash of the car. And this has a power out fitting like so. You plug this in, plug it into the car, and now the memory in the car is protected for several hours, while you work on the battery. Very…handy thing to have. So if you’re into do-it-yourself, and you think that’s something that you might want, well, when you buy your booster, look for one that has the features so that you can connect these various accessories.

And if you have a question or comment, drop me a line, right here at MotorWeek.