If your Jeep Cherokee won’t start, it may be due to a dead battery or a faulty ignition system. Common reasons for this issue include a discharged battery, corroded battery terminals, or a malfunctioning starter motor.
To troubleshoot the problem, check the battery connections, test the battery voltage, and inspect the ignition system components. If needed, jump-start the vehicle or replace the battery to get your Jeep Cherokee back on the road. Be sure to also consider other potential causes, such as a faulty fuel pump or ignition switch, if the issue persists after addressing the battery and ignition system.
Remember to consult a professional mechanic for further diagnosis and repair if necessary.
Why Won’T My Jeep Cherokee Start? – Common Issues
If your Jeep Cherokee won’t start, it could be due to various common issues. These problems might include a dead battery, faulty ignition switch, fuel pump failure, or a malfunctioning starter motor. It’s important to diagnose the specific issue to determine the appropriate solution.
1. The Basics
i. Dead Battery
Think of your battery as the heart of your Jeep‘s electrical system. If it’s dead, nothing’s going to happen! Signs include no dashboard lights coming on, and when you try to start, you either get nothing or a weak clicking sound.
Luckily, the solution is often as easy as a jump start. Pop the hood, grab some jumper cables and a friend’s car, and you might be back on the road in no time.
ii. Lack of Fuel
Picture this: you hit the starter, and the engine turns over, but it just won’t catch and fire up. There’s a good chance you’re simply out of gas! Give that fuel gauge a quick glance. If it’s reading on empty, well, there’s your culprit. A trip to the gas station is all it takes to fix this one.
iii. Security System Issues
Modern Jeeps have anti-theft systems to keep them safe, but sometimes those systems can get a bit overzealous. If your Jeep cranks but won’t fully start, or you see a security light flashing, there’s a chance your key isn’t being recognized.
Double-check that your key fob battery isn’t dead, and try your spare if you have one. If all else fails, take a peek at your owner’s manual – it might have a reset procedure to get you going again.
2. Electrical Problems
i. Faulty Starter
Imagine the starter as the muscle that gets your engine turning. If it goes bad, you might hear a clicking sound when you try to start the car, but the engine won’t crank over. It’s like trying to lift a heavy weight with a tired arm – not gonna happen.
Sometimes you can give the starter a gentle tap (check your owner’s manual for its location first) to temporarily get things going, but ultimately, a bad starter will need replacing.
ii. Bad Alternator
Think of your alternator as the power plant that keeps your battery charged while you’re driving. If it’s failing, you might have noticed your headlights dimming or your battery dying often before this no-start situation happened. A quick voltage test across your battery, while the engine is running, will tell the tale. If the voltage is low, it’s time for a new alternator.
iii. Corroded Connections/Loose Wires
Picture your Jeep’s electrical system like a network of roads. Corrosion on battery terminals is like potholes, and loose wires are like roads closed for construction. They stop the flow of power! A visual check under the hood might reveal the problem.
If you see white or green buildup on the battery terminals, give them a good cleaning. Tighten any loose connections you find. Small problems here can cause big headaches!
Also Read: Why Won’T My Jeep Compass Start in the Cold
3. Mechanical Issues
i. Failed Fuel Pump
Imagine the fuel pump as the heart that pushes fuel to your engine. If it stops beating, fuel can’t reach the cylinders where it needs to burn. You might hear your engine crank normally, but it just won’t catch and start.
You can often hear the fuel pump prime (a brief buzzing sound) when you turn the key to the “on” position – if you don’t hear that, it might be a sign of trouble. Diagnosing a fuel pump can be a bit tricky, sometimes even requiring a fuel pressure test.
ii. Clogged Fuel Filter
Think of your fuel filter as a screen that catches any gunk in your gas before it reaches the engine. Over time, it can get clogged up, restricting the flow of fuel. This can make your Jeep run rough before it finally won’t start at all. If you suspect a clogged filter, it’s best to have a mechanic check it out and replace it if needed.
iii. Ignition System Malfunction
For your engine to run, you need a good spark to ignite the fuel! If there’s a problem within your ignition system (think spark plugs, wires, coil packs), you might get a weak spark, or no spark at all. Your engine might crank over but struggle to start, or it might not even try.
Checking for spark takes a little more know-how, and sometimes requires special tools, so this might be a case where calling in a pro is the best bet.
Also Read: Why is My Jeep Renegade Not Starting
4. Other Potential Causes
i. Faulty Sensors (Crankshaft, camshaft, etc.)
Think of these sensors as your Jeep’s eyes and ears. They tell the computer how fast the engine is spinning and the position of important parts. If a sensor goes haywire, it can throw the whole starting process off. You might see a “Check Engine” light, and an OBD-II code scanner can give you clues about which sensor is the problem child.
ii. Anti-Theft System Failure
Modern anti-theft systems are great, but occasionally they glitch out. If you’re using a non-original key or the immobilizer system malfunctions, your Jeep might think it’s being stolen and refuse to start. This scenario can be particularly frustrating and might even require a trip to the dealership for reprogramming.
iii. Internal Engine Damage (Rare)
Let’s hope this isn’t the case! In the worst-case scenario, if you hear awful grinding or knocking noises when you try to start your Jeep, there could be serious internal damage within the engine. If it comes to this, there’s no DIY fix – a professional diagnosis is absolutely essential.
When your Jeep Cherokee won’t start, it can be a frustrating situation. To help you troubleshoot the issue, follow these Diagnostic Steps to identify the possible causes and find a solution.
1. Check The Battery
- Ensure the battery connections are tight and free of corrosion.
- Check the battery voltage using a multimeter – it should be around 12.6 volts.
- Inspect the battery for any signs of damage or leakage.
2. Inspect The Ignition System
- Check for faulty spark plugs – they should have a clean electrode.
- Inspect the ignition coil for cracks or damage.
- Examine the spark plug wires for any signs of wear or tear.
3. Examine The Fuel System
- Ensure there is fuel in the tank – sometimes the fuel gauge may be faulty.
- Check the fuel pump for any unusual noises when the key is turned.
- Inspect the fuel filter for clogs or blockages.
Also Read: Why My Jeep Grand Cherokee Won’T Start
How to Solve My Jeep Cherokee Start Problem?
1. Identify the Symptoms
Before you start tearing into your Jeep, take a moment to pay close attention to what’s happening (or not happening!) when you try to start it. Here are some key questions to ask yourself:
Does the engine crank over?
When you turn the key, does the engine turn over strongly, weakly, or not at all? A strong crank means your starter is at least trying to do its job. A weak or no crank points either to a battery issue or a problem with the starter itself.
Are there any unusual noises?
Do you hear clicking, grinding, or any other sounds that seem out of the ordinary? These could give you clues – a single click might mean a dead battery or bad starter, while grinding noises could mean something more serious.
Do the dashboard lights come on?
If you turn the key and your dash stays completely dark, it’s a strong sign of a dead battery or major electrical problem. If the lights do come on, pay attention to whether they seem bright or dim.
Are there any warning lights or messages?
Modern Jeeps are smart! Does your dash display any “Check Engine” lights or messages about the security system? These can help narrow down the problem.
Remember: The more specific you can be about the symptoms, the easier it will be to figure out where to start your troubleshooting!
2. Start with the Basics
Before diving into more complex stuff, let’s rule out the most common and easily fixable culprits:
i. Check the battery
Are your headlights bright? If not, your battery might be dead. Try a jump start – if that gets your Jeep running, you know where the problem lies. Even if the lights are bright, a weak battery can sometimes still prevent starting, so a jump-start is a good test.
ii. Verify you have fuel
It seems silly, but you’d be surprised how often people run out of gas! Give the fuel gauge a quick look. If it’s reading close to empty, a trip to the gas station is all you need.
iii. Rule out security system problems
Does your Jeep crank but not start, or do you see a security light flashing? Try using your spare key, or double-check the battery in your main key fob. If that doesn’t work, your owner’s manual might have instructions on how to reset your anti-theft system.
3. Investigate Electrical Issues
If the basics didn’t solve your problem, it’s time to dig a little deeper into the electrical system. Here’s where to focus:
i. Starter condition and connections
If you hear a clicking noise when you try to start, but the engine doesn’t crank, there’s a good chance the starter is the issue. Locate the starter motor (consult your owner’s manual if you’re unsure) and give it a visual check. Are the wires connected securely? Is there any obvious corrosion?
Sometimes, a gentle tap on the starter can temporarily free it up, but ultimately, a bad starter may need replacement.
ii. Alternator function (voltage test)
If you’ve had recent battery troubles, like needing jump starts or your headlights dimming, suspect the alternator. The easiest way to diagnose this is with a voltmeter. With the engine running, check the voltage across your battery – it should read above 13 volts. If it’s lower, your alternator likely isn’t charging the battery properly.
iii. Inspect for corrosion or loose wires
Corrosion (usually a white or greenish buildup) on the battery terminals can cause all sorts of electrical gremlins. Clean them thoroughly with a wire brush and baking soda solution. Also, check any major wires you can see under the hood – make sure they’re connected securely and there’s no obvious damage.
4. Consider Less Common Causes
If you’ve checked the basics and the electrical system seems fine, it’s time to consider some less frequent (but still possible!) reasons your Jeep won’t start:
i. Sensor malfunctions (OBD-II scanner for codes)
Your Jeep relies on various sensors to tell the engine how to run. If a crucial sensor, like the crankshaft position sensor, goes bad, your engine won’t know when to fire. A “Check Engine” light is often a sign of sensor trouble. An OBD-II code scanner can help pinpoint which sensor might be failing.
ii. Anti-theft system issues (may require dealership)
Modern anti-theft systems are designed to keep your Jeep safe, but sometimes they can be too sensitive. If a key isn’t recognized or the immobilizer malfunctions, your Jeep might think it’s being stolen and refuse to start.
If you suspect this issue, consulting your owner’s manual or seeking dealership assistance might be necessary.
iii. Internal engine damage (worst-case scenario, seek professional evaluation)
This is hopefully not the case, but in rare instances, major internal engine damage can prevent starting. If you hear horrible knocking or grinding noises when trying to crank the engine, stop immediately and have a professional diagnose the issue.
Keeping your Jeep Cherokee in top condition requires regular preventive maintenance. By taking proactive measures, you can minimize the risk of encountering starting issues. Here are the essential preventive steps to ensure your Jeep Cherokee starts reliably:
1. Maintain The Battery
Regularly checking and maintaining your battery is crucial to avoid starting problems. Ensure the battery terminals are clean and free from corrosion. Inspect the battery for any signs of damage and replace it if necessary. Properly securing the battery and keeping it in good condition is essential for reliable starts.
2. Regularly Check Ignition System
Regular inspections of the ignition system can help identify potential issues before they cause the Jeep Cherokee to not start. Check the spark plugs and ignition coils for wear and tear, and replace them as needed. Ensuring proper ignition system maintenance is a key preventive measure for reliable starting.
3. Perform Fuel System Maintenance
Regular maintenance of the fuel system is essential for ensuring proper fuel delivery to the engine. Keep the fuel filter clean and free from clogs, and inspect the fuel lines for any signs of leaks. Regularly monitoring and maintaining the fuel system can prevent starting issues related to fuel delivery.
Seeking Professional Help
If you find yourself in a situation where your Jeep Cherokee won’t start despite your best efforts, it may be time to seek professional help. While it’s tempting to try and fix the issue yourself, enlisting the expertise of a qualified mechanic can save you time, money, and unnecessary frustration. Here are a few steps you can take to find the right professional and get your Jeep back on the road.
1. Consult A Mechanic
When experiencing difficulty starting your Jeep Cherokee, it’s essential to find a reputable mechanic who specializes in Jeep vehicles. Start by asking for recommendations from friends, family, or colleagues who own Jeep Cherokees or other Jeep models.
Conduct online research to read reviews and testimonials from previous customers, focusing on mechanics with a strong track record of successfully resolving similar issues.
2. Get A Diagnostic Test
To accurately identify the root cause of your Jeep Cherokee starting problem, it’s crucial to get a diagnostic test performed by a mechanic. This test involves using specialized equipment to scan your vehicle’s internal computer systems, searching for any error codes or malfunctions.
The diagnostic test provides valuable insight into any underlying issues that may be preventing your Jeep Cherokee from starting.
Why Won’T My Jeep Cherokee Start But Has Power?
If you’re having trouble starting your Jeep Cherokee, it could be due to a number of issues. Here are some things to check:
1. Make sure the battery is fully charged. If not, charge it or replace it.
2. Check the connections to the starter and solenoid. Make sure they’re clean and tight.
3. Inspect the engine’s compression level using a compression gauge. If it’s low, that could be why the Jeep won’t start.
4. Finally, have someone else turn on the ignition while you listen for any abnormal noises coming from the starter or engine area.
Jeep Cherokee Not Starting Just Clicking
If your Jeep Cherokee is clicking but not starting, there are a few possible causes. It could be a problem with the battery, the starter, or a connection between the two.
If you suspect it’s the battery, first check to make sure it’s fully charged. If it is, then try cleaning the terminals and connections to see if that helps. If not, you may need to replace the battery. If you think it might be the starter, testing it is relatively easy.
First, disconnect the negative terminal from the battery. Then touch the positive terminal of the battery to one of the small posts on the starter solenoid (usually marked “S”). If doing this makes the engine turn over, then you know it’s likely just a bad connection between your starter and solenoid, and replacing them should do the trick.
Jeep Cherokee Won’T Start Brake Pedal Hard
If your Jeep Cherokee won’t start, and the brake pedal is hard to press, there are a few things that could be causing the problem.
1. First, check to see if the battery is charged. If it’s not, try charging it or replacing it with a new one.
2. Next, check the starter and make sure it’s working properly.
If neither of these solutions work, then there could be an issue with the ignition switch or the fuel pump. Try checking those components to see if they’re working properly. If all else fails, bring your Jeep to a mechanic to have it checked out.
2015 Jeep Cherokee Won’T Start But Has Power
If your 2015 Jeep Cherokee won’t start but has power, there are a few things you can check.
1. First, make sure that the battery is fully charged. If it’s not, try charging it for a few hours and then try again.
2. If the battery is charged, then the next thing to check is the starter. If the starter is defective, it may need to be replaced.
3. Finally, if all else fails, you may need to have your Jeep towed to a mechanic for further diagnosis.
2020 Jeep Cherokee Won’T Start But Has Power
If your 2020 Jeep Cherokee won’t start but has power, there are a few things you can check.
1. First, make sure that the battery is fully charged. If it’s not, try charging it for a few hours and then trying to start the Jeep again.
2. If the battery is charged, then the next thing to check is the starter. Make sure that the starter is getting power by testing it with a multimeter. If the starter is getting power but still won’t start the Jeep, then it may be defective and will need to be replaced.
3. Finally, if all else fails, you may need to have your Jeep towed to a mechanic for further diagnosis.
If your Jeep Cherokee won’t start, don’t panic. By following these troubleshooting tips, you can narrow down the issue and get your vehicle back on the road. Whether it’s a faulty battery, starter, or fuel system, diagnosing the problem is the first step to finding a solution.
Remember, regular maintenance and professional assistance can prevent future startup issues.
Why Won’t My Jeep Cherokee Start?
There can be several reasons why your Jeep Cherokee won’t start. It could be due to a dead battery, faulty starter motor, ignition switch issue, fuel pump failure, or even a clogged fuel filter. It’s best to check these common culprits first, and if the problem persists, consult a qualified mechanic for a thorough diagnosis.