Here’s What To Do If Your Jeep Won’t Start

It can happen to anyone; you need to get somewhere fast but then when you hop into your Jeep and turn the key, it doesn’t start! This can be an extremely stressful situation and being prepared to deal with it is important. 

Your Jeep may be having issues starting for many different reasons. The most common issues stem from the battery and other components related to vehicle startup. 

If you’re here, you might be in this unfortunate situation yourself and looking for a way out. That’s why we’ve put together this post on what to do if your Jeep won’t start! Read on for some tips on how to identify the source of the issue so you can get back on the road.

Table of Contents

Common Reasons A Jeep Won’t Start

Before jumping out of your Jeep and digging in the hood or under the car, there are a few things to identify and maybe even to try to remedy. First, it is important to check your lights, radio, and other electrical components. Did they flash or turn on but the Jeep won’t start? Or does nothing work at all? 

If either of these situations has occurred, it is likely that one of these things is to blame:

  • Out of gas
  • Dead battery 
  • Grimy battery terminals
  • Fuses
  • Spark Plug, Starter, Ignition

Now let’s take a look into each of these a bit closer so you know how to look for them! 

Out Of Gas

Starting with the most basic, your Jeep may not be starting because you forgot to fill it up with gas! If you have the habit of letting your tank get as low as possible before filling then you might have run into this problem. Lucky for you, this is easy to solve, so long as you are able to buy gas. 

It might seem silly at first, but it isn’t unheard of to forget to fill up and run into this problem, and because you probably wouldn’t expect yourself to do this, you may not initially consider this the cause of your Jeep not starting up! 

To fix this, either fill your Jeep up with gas by taking it to a gas station or use a gas can to fill it back up. To make sure you have an easy way to remedy this issue, we recommend bringing a red gas can. If you end up totally out of gas and unable to move, having one of these will allow you to refill your tank. 

Dead Battery

The most common cause for startup troubles on a Jeep is a dead or low battery. If your lights and radio are still running, this may seem out of the question, but don’t count it out just yet! Your car may have this problem but still retain lights because it takes much more battery power to start the engine than it does to just run the lights. 

If you think the battery could be the reason for your car troubles, the best way to check is to use a digital multimeter. This handy device will give you a digital readout of your battery’s charge, helping you to determine with confidence whether your battery is the cause of the issue. 

If you do find that your battery is low or dead, you will have a few options to consider. One consideration is replacing the battery, but these can be anywhere from $250 up to $350. You may instead be able to take your battery to a nearby auto center where they will charge your battery for a small fee.  

Bad Battery Terminals

Before checking battery problems off the list, you’ll want to take a close look at the terminals. The battery terminals are essentially the electrical contacts that connect the battery to the Jeep’s electrical components. The terminals will be made of metal and look like large clips with a plus (+) on one side and a minus (-) on the other. 

The battery terminals work to move the energy from your battery into the car’s electrical systems. If they are dirty or damaged, communication between the battery and your car will be impacted resulting in energy loss. 

If you notice damage or general grime on your battery terminals, there are a few possible fixes. One is that you can get the terminals replaced, or you can try cleaning off the contacts. You can usually clean the contacts well enough using a gentle wire brush, a toothbrush, and some designated cleaning solution. 

Bad Fuse

There are various fuses incorporated in your Jeep’s electronics. If one of them goes bad through wear, age, or a power overload, then you may end up dealing with a blown fuse. If any fuse blows in your system, you can expect to run into issues with the vehicle’s startup. 

Because there are various fuses located throughout your Jeep, it can be tedious to check them all, but doing so is necessary in order to check this possibility off your list. To do this, you first need to be able to identify a blown fuse. First, with the Jeep off, remove the fuse from its holder and inspect it for a gap in the wiring, or a dark smear inside of the glass. 

Unfortunately, if you do find a blown fuse, you will need a new one to replace it. If you do not have one, you may need to bring your Jeep to a garage for a replacement. 

Bad Ignition, Fuel Pump, or Spark Plug

If your battery isn’t the cause, then one of these components is often to blame. You’ll want to check each of these if you are unable to find problems with anything else listed above. If any of these are too old or damaged, they may be the reason why your Jeep has stopped working. 

Because most of these parts have no bearing on the functionality of the lights and radio, one of these components could be the culprit, especially if electrical systems are still engaged. The fix for each of these issues will vary in difficulty and price. Some may be quite expensive, while some may be quite cheap. 

We recommend reading your Jeep’s included service guide for more information on how to assess and fix one of these issues. 


There are various reasons why a Jeep may not start up. These can range from simple issues with the electrical components, to serious defects with parts directly responsible for engine startup. Some fixes will be easy and inexpensive to do yourself, while others may require you to take the Jeep into a shop. 

Now that you know how to identify some potential causes for bad startups, you will hopefully be able to identify the cause the next time you run into one. While we hope you won’t have to deal with this anytime soon, it is better to be prepared! Good luck out there!

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