Of course, it always happens when you least need it: the engine of your Jeep Wrangler won’t start. Your vehicle, which otherwise reliably gets you from A to B, often lets you down in winter.
But why is that? And what can you do to make it roadworthy again as quickly as possible?
Key facts at a glance:
- Listen carefully: Starting noises indicate whether the battery or starter is defective.
- Take a look: Rule out defective cables under the bonnet or empty tank.
- Get help: Neighbors with jump leads or do you prefer a towing service?
The most common reason for starting problems is an insufficiently charged battery. There can be many different reasons for this: for example, you accidentally left the lights on in the interior or that particularly cold temperatures affected the storage capacity of the battery.
How can I tell if the battery is the cause?
If you can’t hear anything or a very low noise when starting, the problem is most likely with the battery. Probably none of the lights in your dashboard will be on. The ignition current is not sufficient to start the engine.
What can I do if the battery is empty?
When the battery is dead, there is really only one solution: charging. Of course, your vehicle charges automatically as you drive, but if the battery is so empty that the vehicle won’t start you will need another vehicle to bridge the gap. It is best if the other vehicle has a battery with the same battery voltage. The batteries can be connected with the help of a jump lead. Then the engine of the “donor vehicle” is started first. Then you can start your Wrangler. As soon as your vehicle is running again, you should drive a few miles to fully recharge your battery.
How can I prevent battery problems?
You should have your battery checked regularly. Especially if you regularly have difficulties starting or the engine only starts after several attempts, you should have the storage capacity of your battery checked in the workshop.
The ignition cable
If your engine does not start despite bridging it with a jump start cable, other elements of the power supply may be affected. Power cables can be damaged by the weather or rodent bites.
How do I know if my vehicle has a broken cable?
It is best to open the hood and check all visible cables. If you notice bite marks or torn insulation on a handle, you can try to temporarily secure the damaged area with electrical tape. If you can’t find any obvious defects, the spark plugs or alternator may be affected. In this case, you should call a towing service.
What do I do if my ignition cable is broken?
In some cases, a defective cable can be repaired with electrical tape so that you can start your vehicle again. Then you can at least drive it to the workshop yourself. Otherwise, you’ll have to call a towing company to take your it to the nearest mechanic who can replace the damaged cable.
When both the battery and the rest of the power supply are intact, the starter is often the prime suspect. Without wanting to get lost in technical details: The starter, together with the battery, ensures that the pistons in your engine turn. Over time, however, it can wear out so that the pinion no longer engages properly.
How do I know if the starter is causing my starting problem?
If you hear a clacking or grinding noise from under the hood as soon as you try to start your engine, it is very likely that your starter has failed.
What do I do if my starter doesn’t work?
If the gears between the starter and engine do not work properly, and if you have a manual transmission, you can try to push the vehicle with the help of other people and upshift at the same time. But even if your engine starts again, you should immediately drive to the nearest workshop to have the starter and the gears checked and, if necessary, replaced. If you have an automatic, then you must get your vehicle towed to the workshop.
In everyday stress it can happen that you run the tank empty without noticing it. The next morning, you wonder why the car won’t start. A defective fuel gauge can also put you in this awkward situation.
How do I know if the problem is an empty tank?
If your fuel gauge is intact, warnings and flashing lights should alert you to the empty tank as soon as you turn on your vehicle. However, if your fuel gauge shows that the tank is full, there may be a problem with signal transmission. Then you should just be looking into the tank. Or, the fuel filter is clogged so that fuel cannot be pumped to the engine properly.
What do I do when the tank is empty?
Fortunately, there is of course a simple solution in this case: refuel. You either have a spare tank in the trunk or you have to make your way to the nearest gas station. To prevent clogged filters, you should have your tank equipment serviced regularly.
If the battery seems to be intact, you cannot identify the noises your engine makes when it is started and you cannot discover any defective cables or an empty tank, you should leave the diagnosis to experts. In the workshop, a mechanic can probably find out what the problem is in no time and then get rid of it.