Jeep has been one of the most popular vehicle brands in the US for a long time. With the classic design, customization options, off-rad capabilities, and easy maintenance, Jeeps offer a lot of good qualities to attract consumers.
However, all these benefits come with their flaws. If you are a Jeep owner, you should be familiar with this scenario where your Jeep won’t start on a fine morning. There are other issues like Jeep death wobble too that can hamper your driving experience. When you are late for work, this problem is enough to ruin your day instantly.
Now, there are almost dozens of reasons why your Jeep isn’t starting involving different parts. To solve this starting issue, we have compiled a list of the potential causes of why won’t my Jeep start and are prepared to troubleshoot them quickly. So, without further ado, let’s begin.
How to Troubleshoot a Jeep That Won’t Start
Jeep Wrangler has several reasons why it might need to start correctly. However, the most common causes involve the battery, alternator, or starter. For the battery, you mostly have to change it or jump-start it. As for the other components like the alternator or starter, there is mostly no troubleshooting as replacing them is the last resort in most cases.
Why Won’t My Jeep Start: Causes and How to Fix it
Reason#01: The Battery Might Be Dead
Among all the reasons, this is the most common and primary reason a Jeep owner might face. A dying or dead battery won’t let the vehicle start as it supplies the necessary zap of electricity for the electrical component to work. Altogether, your engine might not start at all, or it can keep stalling.
Several symptoms indicate a battery issue. The battery is dying if you have difficulty starting your Jeep continuously. Also, if the electronics of your car isn’t performing well or the battery isn’t holding charge not long enough, these are some potential sign of a dead battery.
Solution: You can also check the battery with a multimeter. If the battery has 12.6 volts or more, it should be fine. Anything less than 12.4 volts is an indication of a dying battery. In that case, you have to prepare to replace the battery.
Reason#02: Loose or Disconnected Battery Cables
This one might seem like a silly reason, but it can still stop your Jeep from stopping and make you anxious. Above, I have discussed the dead battery issue, and the only remedy there is replacing the battery.
However, a battery dies gradually, and you should notice beforehand that it is losing its power to hold a charge. So, if your running Jeep battery seems to lose its power all at once, the loose connection should be the reason.
Due to extensive off-roading, the battery connections often get loose, which might result in engine stalling. If the cables are disconnected, you should hear three beeps from your Jeep’s security system notifying you about the disconnection.
Solution: The remedy is just as simple as the problem. All you have to do is check the connections and secure them again. Take it to your nearest dealership if you don’t know how to check it.
Reason#03: Corroded Battery Terminal
Even if the battery is fine and holding enough volts, the terminal is enough to degrade its performance. Several problems come with a corroded battery terminal.
The battery won’t charge; it’ll drain faster, and most importantly, it can damage your car’s alternator. Ultimately, all problems will lead back to your Jeep not starting.
When the terminal is corroded, you’ll notice a clicking or slow cranking noise. If you have this issue with your Jeep, the troubleshooting is relatively simple: lifting a Jeep hood and cleaning the battery terminal.
Solution: Baking soda, vinegar, and a toothbrush should be enough to eliminate the corrosion. If the buildup is extensive, you might need a wire brush to remove the corrosion.
Reason#04: Faulty Ignition Switch
The ignition switch might be a small part of the whole electrical system of your Jeep, but it can also be the answer to why won’t my Jeep start.
The ignition switch not only starts your Jeep but also distributes power to different areas like the engine, ignition system, and electronics of the Jeep. So, naturally, a faulty ignition switch is bound to stop your Jeep from starting.
Several symptoms indicate your ignition keys have issues. For example, the starter might be silent, the engine stall, and frequent loss of accessory power.
Solution: Many Jeep models have ignition switch issues; failing to recognize it will ultimately wear your starter out. The only remedy to this problem is to replace the ignition switch. You can do it by following video.
Reason#05: Ignition Lock Cylinder Issue
Before, I discussed the ignition switch that starts the Jeep and distributes power. But what if the mechanical part where you insert the ignition key goes bad?
This mechanical part is called the ignition lock cylinder in the ignition switch. As the name says, it locks the ignition and allows the vehicle to start.
The symptoms of this particular issue are prevalent. You’ll notice your Jeep won’t start, the accessory might not get enough power, and the key can get stuck at certain positions like start, lock, or accessory.
Solution: Sometimes, just disassembling the ignition system and cleaning the ignition lock cylinder should solve the issue. Otherwise, you might have to replace the cylinder. If you own a Jeep Wrangler, follow this video guide to replace the ignition lock cylinder.
Reason#06: Faulty Alternator
The alternator is arguably essential to your Jeep’s electric system. So, what does it do? It converts the mechanical energy from the engine’s rotation into electric energy with alternating current.
This electric energy and alternating current transform into direct current to charge the Jeep’s battery.
Before, I talked about battery where it fails to hold a charge. Sometimes, a faulty alternator might cause that instead of a dying battery.
A failing alternator has various symptoms like malfunctioning accessories, battery drainage, trouble starting, etc. Sometimes, it can be confusing whether it’s the alternator malfunctioning or the battery dying.
In that case, you should try jump-starting your Jeep. If it jump-starts but loses power shortly, it’s the alternator failing to charge the battery.
Solution: The alternator is a pretty straightforward machine and easily repairable. If the faulty part is replaced, you can use the alternator again. Sometimes you might have to replace it. You can take it to the repair shop or replace it following this guide.
Reason#07: The Starter Might be Faulty
After the battery-related causes, let’s move on to other parts. The starter might not seem like a small part of your Jeep. But in reality, it has much more significance in starting your car.
This little device is responsible for rotating the internal combustion engine so that the main engine can generate its power. At the same time, it allows air and gas in the combustion to run the machine.
There are many ways your starter can get damaged. There are several potential reasons for loose or corroded connections, battery corrosion, oil leak, air exposure, and moisture.
If the starter goes wrong, it usually makes a clicking or whirring sound. Moreover, you can notice smoke coming from the hood too.
Solution: This problem can be solved by rebuilding the starter motor or replacing the worn parts. A mechanic should open the motor and replace the worn parts or the whole motor when necessary. You can try replacing it, too, following this guide.
Reason#08: Failed Starter Relay
The starter relay works as the bridge between the starter motor and the battery of your Jeep. Moreover, it multiplies the battery’s current, so the ignition is complete with a lower current.
As I said earlier, it works as a bridge, and if the starter relay on your Jeep goes bad, the connection between the battery, fuel pump, and ignition system goes wrong. As a result, your Jeep will have no power available, and it won’t start at all.
There is not much of a symptom for this issue as no battery power reaches the starter motor. You’ll only hear a clicking sound when your turn the Jeep’s key.
Solution: If the starter relay fails, you must replace it. The video below shows the location of the starter relay on a 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Reason#09: Malfunctioning Immobilizer Security System
This small electronic device is fitted inside your Jeep. As the name suggests, this device is installed in your Jeep to prevent theft.
This device arms itself whenever you turn the Jeep off to stop unauthorized movement. The operational circuits of the engine are disengaged through the immobilizer security system.
When you enter the wrong key, this system should notify you with a red light. However, if you have entered the right key and your Jeep isn’t still starting, that might indicate the immobilizer system is malfunctioning.
Solution: The only way to fix this problem is to take your Jeep to the nearest dealership. Resetting the system will fix this issue.
Reason#10: Fuel-Related Issues
If you are asking around why won’t my Jeep start, the issue might be underlying the fuel system. There can be issues with the fuel pump that might stop your engine from working. The pump can lose its pressure, or the fuel filter can get clogged too.
Another thing about the pump is that the lower temperature of gas keeps the pump cool. But if you always run your Jeep with low fuel, the pump doesn’t have enough gas to cool down, which can reduce the engine performance and stop it from starting. Issues with the fuel pump can also decrease the fuel efficiency of even the most gas-efficient Jeep.
Solution: To avoid overheating the pump, keep your tank full as much as possible. Also, use a high-quality pump to avoid unwanted issues.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Q1. Are Jeeps Reliable? – if It's Reliable, It Won't Have Frequent Starting Issues.
A) Jeep is one of the most common brands you'll see out there for utility purposes. This wide usage comes from its excellent quality and performance in the SUV sector.
While there have been complaints about reliability, Jeep stayed strong with a reliability rating of 3.5 out of 5 from RepairPal. Moreover, the perfect safety scores from NHTSA prove the reliability of Jeep.
Q2. Can I Fix a Jeep Myself When It Doesn't Start? – Whether One Can Fix the Starting-Related Issues
A) The answer to this question depends on what problems you are facing. As you can see, there can be several reasons, and anyone can quickly fix issues like a corroded terminal or loose connection. However, for other issues needing replacement, it's best to take them to a repair shop for reliable servicing.
Q3. Does Jeep Offer a Warranty? – Warranty Should Cover if You Have Any Parts
A) Yes, every vehicle sold by Jeep comes with a separate warranty, and the service from Jeep regarding this warranty has been excellent so far. Jeep has a limited vehicle warranty policy.
It means it covers the replacement and repair of components for a fixed term. This term is determined by the distance traveled and the length of ownership.
Q4. Is Fixing a Jeep Costly When It's Not Starting? – How Much It Can Cost to Fix Starting Issues
A) The answer to this question depends on your usage intensity and how frequently you're Jeep needs maintenance. According to the CAREDGE survey, a Jeep can cost about $11,476 within the first ten years.
This cost can fluctuate depending on your repair jobs. However, Jeep parts are widely available and easy to repair, reducing costs.
Q5. How Long Does a Jeep Battery Last? – a Lot of Reasons Behind Jeep Not Starting Is Related to the Battery Death
A) There is no simple answer to this question since the battery lifespan depends on various factors. Especially the weather where you drive and your driving habits heavily affect a Jeep's battery lifespan. However, if we look at the average timespan, it's around 3 to 5 years for most Jeep models.
That’s a wrap for today. My discussion above will help you figure out why won’t my Jeep start. I have been an avid Jeep fan for the last decade due to its excellent off-roading capabilities, and you’ll love it, too, once you know the Jeep’s worth. I learned why I wouldn’t get my Jeep to start the hard way. That’s why I have tried my best to complied these reasons in one place and provide the quickest solution possible.
As you have seen, some of those troubleshoots is pretty simple, while some may involve replacing or repairing costing components. Whichever the case is, you should get a clear direction to solve this starting issue. Finally, if the problem is beyond your DIY repair capability, it’s always best to take it to a professional and check it out.