Jeep Cherokee Won’t Start But Has Power (Troubleshooting Guide)

The Jeep Cherokee is an ideal automobile for adventurous souls, known for its outstanding off-road capabilities. However, imagine the frustration when you’re all set for your next adventure, and your beloved jeep cherokee won’t start but has power. But fear not! This article aims to shed light on the possible causes behind your Jeep Cherokee’s refusal to start and provide guidance on how to solve these issues.

We understand that the list of potential causes may seem daunting, especially if you’re not familiar with mechanical terminology. That’s why this article is here to help. We will explain the role and purpose of each component involved and explore the possible reasons why they can cause problems in your vehicle.

So, if you’re faced with a Jeep Cherokee that won’t start despite having power, read on to uncover the mysteries behind this issue and find potential solutions.

Your Jeep Cherokee Won’t Start – Causes and Solutions

It can feel like the end of the world when your vehicle refuses to start, especially when you have a jam-packed schedule. However, in most cases, this issue can be easily resolved, although sometimes it may require professional attention. In this section, we will discuss some common reasons why your Jeep Cherokee might be refusing to start and what you can do to fix it.

1. Bad Battery

One of the most common reasons for a vehicle, including the Jeep Cherokee, not starting is a faulty battery. To test if the battery is the culprit, you can have the electrical system tested or use a load tester to evaluate its performance under real-world conditions. If you suspect a faulty battery, you can have it tested at a local automotive shop or try charging it thoroughly to determine if it’s still functional. If needed, replacing the battery is the easiest and most cost-effective solution to this problem.

2. Failing Starter

The starter plays a crucial role in turning over your engine to initiate the starting process. If the starter is failing, it can prevent the vehicle from turning over and starting. A failing starter is a common culprit behind starting issues and might require inspection and potential replacement.

3. Corroded Battery Terminals

Although less common, corroded battery terminals can also prevent your vehicle from starting. To check for this issue, remove the battery wires and inspect if they are rusted or dirty. If corrosion is present, cleaning the battery terminals and reinstalling them can help resolve the problem. After performing these steps, restart the car and check if the issue has been resolved.

4. Failing Alternator

The alternator plays a vital role in charging the battery while the car is running. If the alternator is not functioning correctly, it may fail to supply sufficient energy to operate the vehicle. Similar to a faulty battery, you can test the alternator by checking the electrical system or using a load tester to assess its performance.

5. Faulty Spark Plugs

Another potential reason for your Jeep Cherokee not starting could be faulty spark plugs. Spark plugs are responsible for firing electrical sparks that ignite the fuel mixture in the cylinders, starting the engine. If the spark plugs fail to send these sparks, it can result in the vehicle refusing to start.

6. Faulty/Failed Fuel Pump

The fuel pump is responsible for supplying gasoline from the fuel tank to the engine, ensuring proper fuel circulation in the cylinders. If the fuel tank is empty or the fuel pump is faulty, the vehicle will not start due to insufficient fuel supply. Checking the fuel level and the functionality of the fuel pump is crucial in such cases.

7. Clogged Fuel Filter or Fuel Lines

A clogged fuel filter or fuel lines can also prevent your vehicle from starting. One common indication of this issue is a gas smell emanating from the engine compartment. If you notice this smell, it’s essential to clear out the fuel filter and lines. However, it’s advisable to have a mechanic inspect the vehicle to identify any related or additional problems that need to be addressed.

Also Read: Car Door Won’t Open from Inside or Outside (Causes & Solutions)

8. Bad Fuel Injectors

Faulty fuel injectors can be another reason why your car might refuse to start. Fuel injectors are responsible for distributing gas to the cylinders, ensuring proper fuel delivery from the fuel tank to the engine. If the fuel injectors are faulty, it can significantly impact the running ability of your Jeep Cherokee. If you suspect a problem with the fuel injectors, it’s crucial to take your vehicle to an automotive store for immediate detection and resolution.

9. Clogged/Faulty Oxygen Sensor

The oxygen sensor might not be a term you’re familiar with, but it can cause starting issues. An oxygen sensor measures the quantity of air in the exhaust gas, allowing your engine to regulate the fuel-to-air ratio for smooth operation. If the measurement is inaccurate, it can affect the vehicle’s performance and hinder it from starting properly.

10. Bad Starter Solenoid

The starter solenoid plays a key role in starting your vehicle. It receives electrical signals from the ignition switch and the vehicle battery, initiating a series of electrical reactions to start the combustion engine. If the starter solenoid is not functioning correctly, it’s advisable to inspect the wiring and consider replacing it if necessary.

11. Bad Starter Relay

While connected to the starter solenoid, the starter relay is a separate component. It activates the current that triggers the starter solenoid, enabling the vehicle to start. If the starter relay is faulty, it can impede the flow of sufficient power from the battery, resulting in starting difficulties.

12. Faulty Ignition Coil Pack

Ignition coils are responsible for delivering voltage to the spark plugs and ignition lines to initiate the starting process. If the ignition coil pack becomes faulty, it can disrupt the spark delivery and hinder the vehicle from starting. In such cases, it’s recommended to have the ignition coil pack inspected and potentially replaced by an automotive store.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why won’t my Jeep start but has power?

If your Jeep has power but won’t start, it’s likely that the starter’s spindle has been damaged. In some cases, the spindle can be repaired, but if not, it will need to be replaced with a new starter.

Why won’t my Jeep start with a new battery?

If your Jeep refuses to start even with a new battery, you should check the wire connections from the battery to the starter. There may be a voltage drop in your starter circuit. It’s also essential to inspect the neutral safety switch and the starter itself. Additionally, a possible issue could be an unstable main fob.

What causes a Jeep Cherokee not to start?

The main causes for a Jeep Cherokee not starting include a bad battery, a faulty starter, or an alternator problem. These components play critical roles in the starting process and need to be in proper working order.

When I try to start my Jeep, it just clicks. What does it mean?

A: Clicking noises when attempting to start your vehicle may indicate a faulty battery that doesn’t have enough power to turn on the engine. When this happens, the battery supplies power to the starter, which engages the flywheel to turn the vehicle over. If you experience this issue, it’s essential to address the battery problem.

Why won’t my Jeep start when I turn the key?

If the light comes on when you turn the key in the ignition, it indicates that the solenoid is functioning. However, if the light does not come on, it suggests that the solenoid is faulty and needs to be replaced.


In conclusion, encountering a Jeep Cherokee that won’t start can be frustrating, but there are often solutions to the problem. It’s crucial to check the basics, such as the battery and cables, before seeking professional help. In some cases, a simple jump-start or thorough battery charging might resolve the issue. However, more complex problems may require the expertise of a mechanic.

Remember to inspect your battery terminals for corrosion and ensure proper connections. Additionally, using an OBD2 scanner for diagnosis can provide valuable insights into the underlying issues. By following the troubleshooting steps discussed in this article, you can increase your chances of identifying and resolving the problem.

Always prioritize the maintenance and care of your Jeep Cherokee to minimize the risk of starting issues. Regularly inspecting and servicing key components, such as the battery, starter, and fuel system, can help prevent future problems.

If you encounter persistent starting issues or are unsure about the cause, it’s advisable to take your vehicle to a reputable mechanic for a thorough inspection. They can accurately diagnose the problem and provide the necessary repairs to get your Jeep Cherokee back on the road, ready for your next adventure.

Remember, don’t let starting issues dampen your enthusiasm for exploration. With proper troubleshooting and professional assistance when needed, your Jeep Cherokee can continue to be your reliable companion for thrilling adventures.

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