My Jeep Engine Won’t Start

My Engine wont start

There could be several reasons why your Jeep engine won’t start. There is nothing more frustrating than getting into your Jeep, turning the key, and having it not start.

Below is a list of symptoms you may experience if your Jeep fails to start. Just click on the link that best describes what you are experiencing.

Symptoms For When Your Jeep Engine Won’t Start

No sound at all when trying to start my Jeep

If you have no sound at all when trying to start your Jeep, the most likely culprit will be your battery. So let’s take a look at your battery.

Clicking Sound Only When Trying To Start Your Jeep

As with having no sound, a clicking sound only when trying to start your Jeep tells us that there may be a problem with your battery. So let’s take a look at your battery.

No Sound at All When Trying to Start my Jeep

If you have no sound at all when trying to start your Jeep, the most likely culprit will be your battery. So let’s take a look at your battery.

Here is a simple test that you can do to determine if your problem is with your battery.

First, turn your ignition key to the point just before your engine starts to turn over.

Now, with the key in this position, take a look at the lights on your dashboard. You will want to take a look at how bright these lights are.

jeep dash lights

Are your dash lights very dim or out altogether?

 

Yes No

 

Yes, my dash lights are uncommonly dim or out altogether

This will indicate that you have a problem with your battery as your dash lights run directly off of your battery.

Here is what you need to do next.

Open the hood of your Jeep. Find the location of the battery and take a look at it. One of the first things you want to look at is your battery terminals.

Is there a noticeable amount of white crud-like stuff on the terminals?

 

Yes No

 

Yes, there is a noticeable white crud-like stuff on the terminals.

jeep battery check

It is the most common cause if you have no sound at all when trying to start your Jeep. It means that your battery terminals are corroded. Using a wire brush, you will need to clean the corrosion off of the battery terminals and battery posts. You can also use some baking soda and a little water to help dissolve the corrosion.

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CAUTION:
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Be very careful not to get any of the corrosion on you as it will burn your skin and eat holes right through any clothing it comes in contact with.

After removing all of the corrosion, reinstall the battery cables, and you should be good to go.

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Helpful Tip
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Try coating the battery terminals with some petroleum jelly to help prevent the corrosion from returning.

No, my dash lights are not very dim or out altogether

If your dash lights are not dim or out altogether, you probably have a bad solenoid. You will have to replace the solenoid with a new one.

No, there isn’t a noticeable amount of white crud-like stuff on the terminals.

If there isn’t a noticeable amount of white crud-like stuff on the terminals, you have a dead battery. Using a battery charger, charge up the battery and see if that fixes the problem. It’s possible you left a light on, and that caused your battery to go dead.

If your battery will not take charge, then it’s time to go out and buy a new one.

If your battery does take charge and the problem returns, you may have a problem with your charging system. You can take your Jeep to an auto parts store, and they should be able to check for problems for free.

I hope that this section on what to do if you have no sound at all when trying to start your Jeep was helpful.

Clicking Sound Only When Trying to Start Your Jeep

As with having no sound, a clicking sound only when trying to start your Jeep tells us that there may be a problem with your battery. So let’s take a look at your battery.

First, turn your ignition key until you reach the point just before the Jeep starts. It will be the point just before you hear the clicking sound.

Now, please turn on your windshield wipers and watch them operate back and forth for a short time (about 30 sec or so).

You want to do this because your wipers run directly off of your battery when your Jeep isn’t running, and we want to see if your wipers are operating normally.

Did your wipers go back and forth slower than they usually do or not at all?

 

Yes No

Yes, my wipers are slower than usual, or they didn’t work at all.

 

It tells us that the problem most likely is with your battery. Let’s first look at your battery and see if you have a corrosion problem.

First, open the hood of your Jeep. Find your battery and take a close look at the battery cables.

Do you see a cruddy white type of junk on your battery cables and battery posts?

 

Yes No

Yes, I see a cruddy white type of junk on my battery cables.

 

It is the most common cause of having a clicking sound only when trying to start your Jeep.

Having corrosion on your battery cables will cause your battery to lose its connection with your battery cables and is the likely cause of your problem. I have this same problem with my 97 Wrangler TJ from time to time.

You can go HERE to find out how to clean your battery posts, along with a bit of TIP on how to prevent it from happening again.


No, my wipers were operating normally.

 

If your wipers are operating normally, then it sounds like you have a problem with your starter. In this case, we now need to look at two things. First, we need to see if your battery connections are good.

Locate the starter on your Jeep. You may need to refer to a repair manual to help you do this. Check all of the cables and wires leading to your battery and ensure that they are all tight and secure.

If you have any loose wires, use the proper tools, tighten them and see if that fixes the problem. If everything seems OK, then the problem is more than likely a bad starter.

If your Jeep is still under warranty, you can have the starter replaced at no cost. If your Jeep is not still under warranty, you will need to have a mechanic replace it or replace it yourself.

Replacing your starter with a rebuilt one is cheaper, and the rebuilt starters are just as reliable as the new ones.


No, I don’t see a cruddy white type of junk on my battery cables.

If your battery cables aren’t corroded, then this indicates that your battery is very weak. If the battery doesn’t have enough power, you will hear a clicking sound only when trying to start your Jeep. The clicking sound you hear is coming from your solenoid.

If you have a not-sealed battery, you can remove the top caps and check if the fluid level is good. The fluid level in the battery should cover the tops of the battery plates inside the battery.

If the level is below the plates, you can add some distilled water found at any auto parts store. Recharge your battery and see if this solves your starting problem.

If the battery will still not charge, you will need to replace your battery.

I hope this section has helped you with having a clicking sound only when trying to start your Jeep.

About the author

Matthew Brodie

Hi there! This blog was created to share my off-roading, gear-related knowledge with those interested in the field. I’ve worked as mechanic for years and have been a devoted off-roader for as long. Now, I’ve decided to combine the two and share my experience with passionate audience. I do not claim to know it all – but when something new hits the surface, I will be on it to research its ups and downs. Call me an off-roading nerd if you like, and as long as you can find something useful in here – you are heartedly welcome!

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