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Why My Jeep Wrangler Won’t Start? Common Causes and How To Fix

Why My Jeep Wrangler Won’t Start? Common Causes and How To Fix

With over 2.5 million models sold since 2005 and over 204,000 units in 2021 alone, the Jeep Wrangler has consistently been one of the most popular SUVs on the market. Its rugged good looks and modern features make the Wrangler appealing to a broad base of purchasers. But the Wrangler is not without its shortcomings and one of them is a problem that many owners experience with it not starting properly.

The most common reasons a Jeep Wrangler won’t start is because of a dead battery, a bad alternator, a defective starter, or a malfunctioning ignition switch. Other common causes include a clogged fuel filter or a bad fuel pump.

Before you take your Wrangler to a mechanic or back to the dealer, here are a few tips for determining the cause of your Jeep not starting and figuring out how to fix the problem.

What Would Cause a Jeep Wrangler Not To Start?

Whether you are about to head off to work or in unfamiliar territory as you embark on a nice, long road trip, there is nothing more frustrating than getting behind the wheel of your Jeep Wrangler and experiencing the ominous clicking sound, grinding noise, or even the complete silence that are all telltale signs that your vehicle will not start.

Some common issues causing a Jeep Wrangler to not start:

  • Totally integrated power module (TIPM)
  • Faulty ignition switch
  • Dead battery
  • Clogged fuel filter
  • Defective starter
  • Bad alternator
  • Faulty wireless control module (WCM)
  • Faulty grounding wire

When a Jeep Wrangler (or any vehicle, for that matter) won’t start, most drivers will instinctively assume that the battery is dead. But that isn’t always the case and the more you know about other possible, if not likely, scenarios, the better off you will be to deal with this type of situation. Keep reading for a few possibilities to consider if your Jeep won’t start.

Here’s a fix that might work for you, with a lot more info below:

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Why Is My Jeep Not Starting but Has Power?

Sitting behind the wheel of your Jeep Wrangler and not being able to start it can be frustrating, but having it turn over (i.e., crank) but still not start can be absolutely maddening. Further complicating matters is when the vehicle seemingly has power but the engine simply doesn’t start.

This is a scenario that plays out more often than you think, and what can be so aggravating about this situation is not knowing what is causing the problem.

Fortunately, there are a few things you can look at and chances are good that one of them is your culprit:

  • Many Jeep models, including the Wrangler, rely on a device known as a totally integrated power module (TIPM) to distribute power to various systems and components, and when it malfunctions, one of the telltale signs is the engine cranking but not starting
  • Another possible explanation for when your Wrangler has power but won’t start is a faulty ignition switch which oftentimes will fail sporadically and unpredictably

When the problem of your Jeep Wrangler having power but not starting becomes erratic and unpredictable, it may seem like your vehicle has become possessed by an evil spirit.

But there is a good explanation behind this vexing situation, and chances are, replacing your TIPM or ignition switch will solve your problem.

Why Won’t My Jeep Wrangler Crank When I Try To Start It

If your Jeep Wrangler will not crank when you try to start it, the cause is most likely to be related to one or more of the electrical systems in your vehicle. While this would include the most obvious culprit, your Jeep’s battery, there are other places to look as well, including:

  • One factor that is easily overlooked is a faulty ground strap, which if corroded or even severed, could prevent the electrical current from the battery to be properly grounded, resulting in sporadic starting issues
  • Another possibility to consider is excessive wear in the vehicle’s transmission range sensor (TRS) which is responsible for detecting which gear your Jeep is in and allowing it to be started only when it is in park or neutral
  • For newer models with keyless entry and push-button start features, a faulty wireless control module (WCM) can effectively lock you out of your Wrangler and prevent it from starting by improperly engaging the vehicle’s security measures
  • A malfunctioning starter can also prevent your Jeep from cranking when you try to start it (this can be diagnosed using a multimeter and checking for voltage readings at the TIPM)
  • Last, but certainly not least, another reason (and quite possibly, the most obvious one) why your Jeep will not crank over, is because your battery has died or is unable to keep a decent charge; in such instances, replacing the battery should solve your problem

Resolving an issue with your Jeep Wrangler not cranking can be as simple as replacing the ground strap or replacing the WCM but it is important to work through the possible scenarios so that you can make an accurate diagnosis and select the correct course of action.

Why Is My Jeep Clicking but Not Starting?

At some point during the ownership of their vehicle, most drivers will experience the frustration of trying to start their car, truck, or SUV, only to hear a clicking sound followed by dead silence.

More often than not, the causes of this type of problem are related to the battery. Here are a few battery-related scenarios (source: that can result in your Jeep clicking but not starting:

  • A battery that has a weak, but not completely drained, charge, will still be able to send the bare minimum amount of power needed to engage the starter solenoid (which produces the dreaded clicking noise) but not enough juice to crank the starter
  • Similarly, battery terminals that have significant corrosion on them will produce an insufficient flow of power to your Jeep’s starter system, even if your battery has a strong charge
  • Lastly, faulty wiring, either connected to the battery or the starter system, can also cause a Jeep to click but not start

Of course, a dead battery will certainly prevent your Jeep from starting and is a common occurrence, but before you assume that you need to replace your battery, it might be a good idea to check a few other possibilities as well.

By making sure that your battery terminals are corrosion-free and your wiring is intact, you may be able to save yourself the frustration of dealing with a Wrangler that won’t start.

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Being unable to start your Jeep Wrangler can be a frustrating experience that leaves you feeling helpless. But by keeping in mind a few possible scenarios, you may be able to troubleshoot the cause of your problem and figure out the correct course of action.

Even if you don’t perform the repair yourself at least you know what is going on and before long you’ll be back on the road again.

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