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Jeep Cherokee Push Button Start Not Working? Here’s Why!

Have you ever imagined that your Jeep Cherokee push button won’t start or will malfunction? This situation definitely takes away the convenience this modern feature is supposed to bring to the table. Just think about the stress you’ll experience, especially if you’re ready to drive on your weekend adventure. The good news is that most of the causes of the push-button system malfunctioning are easy to diagnose and solve.

So, why does your Jeep Cherokee push button start not work? There are many reasons your Cherokee’s push-button system malfunctions. However, the most common general causes are issues with the start-stop button, key fob, car battery, brake pedal system, and software.

For you to understand each of these culprits, let’s have a more detailed discussion about them. I will also share with you the signs you need to look out for to diagnose the issue and how to resolve each quickly.

5 Reasons Your Jeep Cherokee Push Button Won’t Start

Person Pressing Car Ignition Button

Start-Stop Button Issues

The switch or button you use to start and stop your Cherokee’s engine is the first thing that you need to consider. Did you know that an issue as simple as the presence of dirt or debris can lead to a push-start system malfunction? That said, the switch is also not safe from wear and tear due to regular usage.

Signs and Solutions

If the switch itself is why your Jeep Cherokee won’t start even when pressing the button, you will notice that the system will work after a few tries or presses. Another sign that the button itself is the problem is your car will eventually start when you press the switch using a different angle.

If this is the case, carefully remove your Cherokee’s Start-Stop button with your fingers or a blunt tool like a spoon. When using a tool, make sure you don’t leave any scratches.

Once removed, inspect the button for any signs of wear or damage. If there are, you would need to replace it or have it replaced professionally.

If there are no damages, inspect the button and where you detached it to check for any debris that you can simply remove. You may also use a can of compressed air or a handheld car vacuum cleaner (view on Amazon) to remove smaller debris and dust.

Next, clean the button and the area thoroughly by following these recommended steps:

  1. Wipe the area and the button with a dry or damp clean microfiber cloth and brush the crevices with a soft-bristle brush. You may also spray them with a clear, gentle interior detailing cleanser before wiping and brushing them.
  2. If the cleanser you used has no degreasing properties, the next step you need to take is to wipe and brush the button and the area with WD-40 or any electrical contact cleaning products. If you don’t have one, I recommend using 70% or 90% isopropyl alcohol.
  3. With a clean microfiber cloth and soft-bristle brush, wipe and brush the area and button to remove residue and dry them.

That’s it! The last step you need to take is to re-install your Cherokee’s Start-Stop button.

Key Fob Issues

When your Jeep Cherokee’s push button malfunctions, you must also check the key fob. After all, the car’s computer system needs to detect the fob before it engages the engine.

That said, you should watch out for several key fob issues: a weak battery, a dead battery, or a damaged key fob. These issues will send a weak signal, or none at all, to the keyless system, leading to a failure to communicate with the Cherokee’s computer system.

Signs and Solutions

Several tell-tale signs indicate your Cherokee’s fob battery is weak or dead. A very obvious one is the key fob undetected or not found symbol appearing on your console.

The LED indicator light also fails to turn on when you click a button, produces a faint or lighter light, and/or the light suddenly dies.

Another sign indicating key fob battery issues is a weak signal strength. It means that the other remote features of the fob won’t work as efficiently as it used to be. For instance, it won’t lock or unlock the car doors at a distance it was used to be capable of doing so.

Other signs include the need to click the fob a few times before it works. Likewise, a delay in locking or unlocking the doors indicates a weak fob battery.

Fortunately, there is an easy way to check for a weak or dead key fob battery or a weak signal. Place your key fob near your Cherokee’s start engine button and press the button down. If your Cherokee starts, you will likely only need to replace your key fob’s battery.

If your Cherokee still doesn’t start, use the fob’s e-blade or emergency blade. Unlock the fob’s cover, remove the e-blade, and use it like a traditional car key. You can also use a spare key fob if you have one.

While this trick will usually start your car’s engine, make sure you replace your fob’s battery ASAP. That said, you must ensure you purchase the right type and size of battery for your Jeep Cherokee key fob. Generally, you will need a 3V CR2032 lithium battery.

Of course, you will need to replace the key fob if there are any signs of damage, like stuck or broken buttons. Like with the battery, you must purchase a key fob compatible with your Jeep Cherokee, like this OEM 4-Button Remote Key Fob for the 2014 to 2022 Jeep Cherokee (view on Amazon).

Car Battery Issues

Your Jeep Cherokee’s computer system will require an optimum power supply to start the engine. Hence, even if your key fob is functioning well, it won’t do its job if your car has a weak or dead battery or the battery has loose connections.

Signs and Solutions

To determine if your car battery is the reason for the push button’s failure to start, turn on your Cherokee’s interior lights or headlights. When they don’t light up or are dim, rest assured that your car’s battery is the culprit.

That said, the first step you need to take is to inspect the battery terminals. If loose, tighten them and turn the lights on to check if you have resolved the issue.

If the wires or terminals aren’t loose or tightening them doesn’t do the trick, you will need a voltmeter or multimeter to check for your battery’s resting voltage. It means it’s ideal to test your Jeep’s battery voltage when it hasn’t been running for an hour or more.

Once your battery is in its resting stage, set the meter’s dial to 20V and connect the meter’s red probe to the battery’s positive (+) terminal and black probe to the battery’s negative (-) terminal. Check the reading in the multimeter.

A fully charged, rested battery should have a reading of 12.6V, while a weak battery will have a lower reading. On the contrary, your Jeep has a discharged or dead battery if the reading is at or below 12V.

Now, here’s one thing I want you to remember: the voltage reading should be a positive number. If the meter produces a negative number, it means you connected the probes in the wrong terminals.

Of course, the solution to a weak or dead battery is to recharge or jumpstart it. If recharging or jumpstarting your battery doesn’t work, you will need to replace the battery with a new one.

Malfunctioning Brake Pedal System

A car’s push-button start system also relies on its brake pedal. You will need to push it down for the engine to engage. With a malfunctioning brake pedal system, the engine won’t start.

Signs and Solutions

One of the indicators you have a problematic brake pedal system is the non-activation of the brake lights. Or, if they light up, they stay lit even when you release the brake pedal. Other signs include malfunctioning cruise control and/or difficulty moving the gear lever.

Unlike the first few causes of why the Jeep Cherokee push button won’t start, it’s highly recommended for a professional to check the brake pedal system. In fact, you need to have them inspected regularly.

The auto-mechanic will check the system, especially the sensors, fuse, and electrical circuit, to determine the specific cause or causes. If the brake pedal system is the issue, the professional mechanic will need to replace it.

Software Glitch

Most, if not all of us, are aware that if there’s a computer, a type of software is involved. The software is responsible for communicating with the car’s computer. Thus, any glitch because of outdated or uncalibrated software will lead to a push-button start system malfunction.

Signs and Solutions

Unfortunately, it would be difficult for you to identify if software glitches are the main culprit for a malfunctioning push-button start system. You will need to have a professional diagnose it. After all, a glitch in software most likely indicates other underlying issues.

It goes without saying that only a professional can solve software glitches.

Malfunctioning Push Button Start System Causes, Signs, and Solutions

Here’s a table summarizing the general and specific causes of a malfunctioning Jeep Cherokee push-button start system, signs, and solutions that you can use as a quick reference:

General CausesSpecific CausesSignsSolutions
Start-Stop Button IssuesDirty or obstructedThe engine starts after a few presses or pressed at a different angleRemove debris and clean
Worn-out Start-Stop buttonReplace
Key Fob IssuesWeak or Dead Fob BatteryLED indicator light not turning on

Faint indicator light

Dying indicator light

Bad signal strength

Multiple fob clicks

Delayed door locking or unlocking
Place the key fob on the start engine button

Use the e-blade

Replace the battery
Damaged key fobPhysical signs of damage or over-usageReplace

Car Battery Issues
Loose TerminalsFailure to turn on headlights or interior lights

Dim lights

Resting voltage reading of less than 12.6V
Weak or dead batteryRecharge or replace
Malfunctioning Brake Pedal SystemFaulty brake pedal sensors, electric circuit, and/or fuseNon-activation of the brake lights

Brake lights stay lit even when the pedal is released

Malfunctioning cruise control

Difficulty moving the gear lever
Replace problematic part/s

Bring to a professional
Software GlitchOutdated software

Uncalibrated software
Bring to a professional

A Better Understanding of the Jeep Cherokee Push Button Start

Every vehicle part will eventually malfunction or wear out and come with one or more flaws, and advanced technology isn’t different. That’s why you will expect that at some point, your Jeep Cherokee push button won’t start.

With the many reasons why it malfunctions, you have to make sure you’re familiar with them, especially with the signs you need to watch out for. Fortunately, none of these causes will require you to leave your Jeep Cherokee in a service center or shop for a long time.