Troubleshooting a Jeep Wrangler That Won’t Start

There’s nothing more frustrating than turning the ignition key of your Jeep Wrangler, only to be met with silence or a strange sound instead of a smooth start. This common vehicle predicament can be caused by numerous issues – some simple, some complex.

However, it’s not a cause for immediate panic. Our article today delves into the different reasons why your Jeep Wrangler won’t start and provides useful insights to get your vehicle back up and running.

Why Won’t My Jeep Wrangler Start?

Understanding why your Jeep Wrangler won’t start can be as simple as a drained battery or as intricate as a faulty engine component. The following are common reasons that could explain this dilemma:

1.     Dead Battery

This is the most frequent culprit. If your car’s lights are left on or the battery is old, it may not have enough charge to start the vehicle.

The mechanic replaced a car battery.

2.     Bad Starter

The starter is a motor that sets the engine in motion when you turn the ignition. A defective starter will prevent the engine from starting.

3.     Fuel System Issue

If your Jeep isn’t getting enough fuel, it won’t start. This could be due to a clogged fuel filter or a failing fuel pump.

4.     Ignition Switch Problems

If your ignition switch is faulty, it may not send the signal to start the engine.

5.     Faulty Spark Plugs

Spark plugs ignite the fuel in the engine. If they’re not working correctly, your Jeep won’t start.

6.     Damaged Ignition Coil

The ignition coil transforms the battery’s low voltage to the thousands of volts needed to create an electric spark in the spark plugs, igniting the fuel. If it’s damaged, starting your Jeep might be impossible.

An engine’s ignition coil.

Remember, identifying the exact cause might require professional help, especially if you’re not very hands-on with your vehicle. If you can’t figure out the issue, it’s best to get your Jeep to a mechanic. Regular maintenance and check-ups can prevent many of these problems and keep your Jeep Wrangler ready to conquer any road ahead.

How To Troubleshoot A Jeep Wrangler That Won’t Start But Has Power

When your Jeep Wrangler won’t start but has power, it can be confusing. Lights, radio, and other electrical components may work fine, but the engine stubbornly refuses to turn over. This scenario suggests that the problem isn’t with the battery but somewhere else. Here’s how you can troubleshoot:

1.     Check the Starter

The issue might lie with the starter motor or its solenoid. Listen for a clicking sound when you try to start the car. If you hear it, it’s likely a starter issue. A professional mechanic will need to replace it.

2.     Inspect the Fuel System

Even with power, a problem with the fuel system can prevent the car from starting. Listen for the fuel pump’s hum or buzz when you turn the key to the ‘on’ position without starting the car. No sound could indicate a fuel pump issue.

3.     Review the Ignition System

Inspect the ignition switch, coil, and spark plugs. A fault in any of these can cause the engine not to start despite the car having power.

4.     Consider the Security System

Modern Jeeps have advanced security systems that can immobilize the car if it malfunctions. If your security light is blinking or stays on, it could be a problem with the security system.

5.     Look at the Fuses

A blown fuse can also prevent your Jeep from starting. Check your owner’s manual to find the location of the fuse box and how to inspect the fuses.

Fuse box in the car engine.

Why Is This Problem Common With The 2018 Jeep Wranglers?

There have been several reports about 2018 Jeep Wranglers experiencing start-up problems. These issues seem to stem from a few primary causes:

1.     Steering Column Wiring

Some users have reported problems with the steering column wiring, which can lead to issues with the ignition system, preventing the vehicle from starting.

2.     TIPM (Totally Integrated Power Module) Issue

The 2018 model is known to have TIPM issues. This module controls the electrical functions of your vehicle, and any malfunction could cause starting issues.

3.     Faulty Auto Start-Stop System

The Auto Start-Stop (ESS) system in some 2018 models can be problematic. The system is designed to save fuel by shutting off the engine when the vehicle is at rest and restarting it when you want to move. However, some users reported that the system sometimes fails to restart the engine.

4.     Key FOB Problems

There have been instances where the key FOB fails to be recognized by the Wrangler’s electronic system, preventing the vehicle from starting.

2018 Jeep Wrangler front photo.

While these are some known issues with the 2018 Jeep Wranglers, it’s essential to have a professional mechanic diagnose the problem. This helps ensure the correct cause is identified and fixed properly, getting your Jeep Wrangler back on the road swiftly and safely.

Are There Any Preventive Measures To Avoid The Issue Of A Jeep Not Starting?

Yes, there are preventive measures you can take to minimize the chances of facing a situation where your Jeep won’t start. Regular maintenance is crucial. Regularly checking your battery’s health and ensuring it’s fully charged can prevent many start-up issues. Keep an eye on your starter motor and alternator, replacing them when they begin to show signs of wear and tear.

Regular oil changes and fuel system maintenance, including cleaning or changing the fuel filter, can also keep your engine in good shape. Additionally, ensure your security system is functioning correctly. Have your vehicle inspected by a professional if the security light comes on or if you notice any other signs of trouble.

What Steps Can Be Taken If The Vehicle’s Security System Is Suspected To Be The Cause Of The Jeep Not Starting?

If you suspect that your Jeep’s security system is preventing your vehicle from starting, there are a few steps you can take. First, consult your owner’s manual. It will contain information about the security system and potential troubleshooting steps. If your key FOB is not being recognized, try replacing its battery or using a spare key, if available.

Sometimes, a simple reset can solve the problem. Disconnect the negative battery terminal for a few minutes, then reconnect it. If none of these steps work, you may need professional assistance. A dealership or a locksmith specializing in automotive security systems can diagnose and fix the problem.

What Are The Potential Signs That The Alternator Could Be Causing Start-Up Issues?

The alternator plays a crucial role in charging your battery and supplying power to your vehicle’s electrical system. If it’s failing, you may notice a few symptoms. Dim or flickering headlights can be a sign, as the alternator supplies power to the lights. Difficulty starting or frequent stalling might also indicate an alternator problem.

A dead battery despite recent replacement or charging can also be a sign of alternator issues. Additionally, if the alternator warning light (often shaped like a battery) on your dashboard is lit, it’s a clear sign of potential alternator trouble.

What Should I Do If My Jeep Cherokee Is In “Park” Or “Neutral” But Still Won’t Start?

If your Jeep Cherokee is in “Park” or “Neutral” but still won’t start, it could be an issue with the neutral safety switch. This switch prevents the vehicle from starting unless it’s in “Park” or “Neutral.” First, try starting the Jeep in “Neutral” if it doesn’t start in “Park,” and vice versa.

If it starts, it’s a clear sign of a failing neutral safety switch. If this doesn’t work, you might also try jiggling the gear shift lever or slowly moving it out of the “Park” or “Neutral” position to see if it starts. If these steps don’t solve the problem, your vehicle needs professional attention to replace the defective switch.

What Are Some Tell-Tale Signs Of A Bad Starter?

When the starter motor fails, it often exhibits a few recognizable symptoms. One of the most common is a clicking noise when you turn the key. This happens when the starter solenoid is working, but the motor isn’t cranking the engine. Another sign is when your Jeep only starts intermittently.

If you find that it sometimes starts perfectly, but at other times only clicks or does nothing at all, it’s a clear indicator of a starter motor issue. You might also notice that your vehicle cranks slower than usual when starting, which can be due to a worn-out starter drawing excessive current.


In conclusion, if your Jeep won’t start, it’s crucial to remain calm and try to identify the issue. It could be anything from a dead battery to a faulty starter, a bad alternator, or problems with the fuel system or ignition switch. Accurate diagnosis is key to applying the right solution.

If you’re unsure, it’s best to take your Jeep to a professional mechanic for diagnosis and repair. Regular maintenance and being vigilant about potential issues can also help prevent many start-up problems. Always remember, that the longevity of your Jeep depends on how well you take care of it.

Avatar photo
About Matthew Webb

Hi, I am Matthew! I am a dedicated car nerd! During the day, I am a journalist, at night I enjoy working on my 2 project cars. I have been a car nerd all my life, and am excited to share my knowledge with you!