Why Won’t My Buick Enclave Start?

TaxiHack is reader-supported. This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Learn more.

Unveiled in the 2003 Detroit Auto Show, the Buick Enclave was based on the Buick Centieme and replaced both of Buick’s SUVs when it came into the market.

The Buick Enclave managed to be the top-ranked affordable mid-sized SUV in 2014. While it was widely regarded by many, it still had many problems that could not be overlooked.

Many of these problems were so disastrous that the drivers would have to ask why won’t my Buick Enclave start?

The answer to this question was not easy to tell either, as there could have been dozens of reasons why the car would not start.

Here, I will talk about the five most common ones:

  1. Battery Problems
  2. Alternator Issues
  3. Fuel System Issues
  4. Ignition System Problems
  5. Key Dilemmas

I will go in-depth on all these issues, which is why you should definitely read this article until the end.

Not only will you learn why these issues are caused, but you can also figure out how to identify them and what to do when encountering them.

What Would Cause A Buick Enclave To Not Start?

Why would your Buick Enclave not start? Read my guide to find the issues

The most common reason why the Buick Enclave won’t turn on is simply because of component failure.

This is usually caused by general mismanagement or the lack of maintenance.

Sometimes, the component just has a set life beyond which it will not work.

You should get a better understanding once you dive into these issues.

1: Battery Problems

One of the most common issues you will find in any car is a problem with the battery.

This is mostly caused due to a lack of maintenance or actions such as not driving the car for extended periods.

The role of the battery is to provide adequate power to all the car’s components.

Knowing this, you should have a good idea that the Buick Enclave will not start if the battery is low on charge.

If your cranking is sluggish or your Buick Enclave would start inconsistently before ceasing to start entirely, you may have a low-charged battery.

While there is always the chance that the battery may have gone past its prime or have a loose wire, a low charge is most commonly the case.

What Should You Do About It?

  • The first thing that you need to do is confirm whether the battery is the root of your Buick Enclave not starting.
  • You can do things by carrying out a voltage test. Your battery is to blame if the voltage test has less than 12 volts.
  • You should choose your next step depending on how old your battery is.
  • If your battery has been used for less than four years, you should get it jumpstarted.
  • If your battery has been used for more than four years, you should consider replacing it rather than recharging it. This will avoid further jumpstarts in the future.

2: Alternator Issues

Another major that most cars have to deal with is a faulty alternator. The alternator has a very special function: to charge the battery.

It does so by taking the mechanical energy from the engine and converting it into electrical energy. This energy is then transmitted to the battery, causing it to retain and gain charge.

A faulty alternator may not be able to sufficiently charge the battery. This will result in the battery dying and the car being unable to start.

If you faced frequent stalls and perhaps the smell of burning rubber/wires, then you have likely faced an issue with the alternator.

This can otherwise be very hard to identify as you must see your battery run out of charge and how long it lasts.

What Should You Do About It?

  • If you have noticed that your battery has not been able to retain its charge for more than a day, then your alternator is likely the issue.
  • Inspect the alternator and look for any loose wires or burned wires. You should also be on the look for any visible damage.
  • If you find any of the issues above, you should opt to fix them. The hands of an experienced mechanic best do this.
  • Moreover, if your alternator has a lot of issues, then the best course of action is to replace it with a new one. This will cost less in the long run.

3: Fuel System Issues

One crucial element that all cars need is fuel. While some cars may require less fuel, as indicated by their usage, in the end, they all need fuel to some degree.

The Buick Enclave, a mid-sized sports utility vehicle, needs a good amount of fuel to keep the engine running.

Even the slightest issue can prevent this from happening, resulting in the car not being able to start.

The reason for issues in the fuel system can be as common as blocks in the pipes or fuel filters or complex situations where you have a faulty component.

A defective fuel pump, for example, may easily prevent the engine from getting the fuel it needs.

What Should You Do About It?

  • Check the fuel filters and see if they are clean. If you have not cleaned them in a while, it might be a good idea to get them switched out for new ones.
  • Check for any sort of leaks or bends which may prevent the fuel from reaching the engine. If you see any, you should fix them as soon as possible.
  • Have the fuel system checked out by a mechanic.
  • If a certain component is faulty/defective and can be fixed, it is usually better to get it replaced. You can have the component fixed and reinstalled if the damage is not severe.

4: Ignition System Problems

The ignition system is responsible for igniting the fuel.

Once the fuel is ignited, the combustion process begins, allowing the engine to get the energy needed to start the Buick Enclave.

This system consists of many components, and if even one of them is faulty, the whole system can fall apart.

This can easily cause the Buick Enclave to not be able to turn on. You can tell if your ignition system is the issue if you turn the key and it does not crank.

Instead, you should make a clicking sound due to a bad starter motor. You should also be aware of issues with the ignition switch.

As I will discuss later in the article, misuse of the key can easily cause issues with the ignition column and the ignition switch.

What Should You Do About It?

  • Try to start the Buick Enclave and see whether the starter motor engages.
  • If the starter motor is not running, you should have a professional mechanic check it out.
  • Getting the starter motor fixed would be ideal, but if it is too much effort or costs too much, then you should probably get it replaced with a new one.
  • If the starter motor is fine, you should also have the ignition switch and column inspected.
  • It is recommended to get these checked by someone who knows what they are doing. This is because these systems are complicated, and an amateur can easily worsen the situation.

5: Key Dilemmas

You need to have your key handy if you want any hope of starting your car.

In the case of the Buick Enclave, there are usually two types of keys; the mechanical key and the electric key fob.

If you have a mechanical key and cannot start the Buick Enclave, your ignition column may have some issues preventing the key from working properly.

Alternatively, you may be having some issues with the key fob, which may also prevent the car from starting.

The key fob works by sending signals to the car, which it receives and then allows the engine to start. A likely scenario is that the key fob is just out of battery.

What Should You Do About It?

  • In the case of a mechanical key, if the key does not turn, your ignition column may need a replacement.
  • From this point onwards, you should avoid damaging the ignition column. You can do this by carefully putting the key in and out.
  • You should also avoid heavy key chains, which can also hurt the ignition column.
  • If your key fob’s battery is dead, you can either replace it or have the dealership do it, as sometimes the transmitter will have to be reset.
  • To retain the key fob’s battery, you should use it as sparingly as possible.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Why Won’t My Buick Enclave Start With New Battery?

The first thing that you need to check is if the new battery has been installed properly. You can then move on to check for loose wires or cables.

If all seems to be in order, you are likely dealing with another issue that is unrelated to the battery.

Q2. Why Won’t My Buick Enclave Start Even With A Jump?

Battery issues are usually fixed via a jump, but if this does not happen with your Buick Enclave, you likely are dealing with a dead battery.

At this point, you should change your battery and get a new one. If your battery is brand new, you may not be properly jumpstarting the Buick Enclave.

Q3. Why Won’t My Buick Enclave Start But Lights Work?

The lights of the Buick Enclave do not need a lot of power to start. The same cannot be said for the engine, which needs a lot to turn on.

The likely issue you are facing is a low-charged or dead battery. You can change the battery entirely or attempt a jumpstart.

Q4. Why Won’t My Buick Enclave Start But Cranks?

Cranking is a good sign that your electrical system, ignition, and starting systems are working properly. The likely issue is within the fuel system.

You do not have enough fuel, or there may be a component that is faulty in the fuel system. This may prevent the Buick Enclave from getting the fuel it needs to start.

Q5. Why Won’t My Buick Enclave Start Just Clicks?

Clicking is a much worse issue as this indicates an issue with the electrical systems of the car. This problem could be in one of any of the integral systems of the Buick Enclave.

If you are dealing with this issue, it is best that you get your Buick Enclave checked by a mechanic. This will save you a lot of headaches.

Q6. Why Won’t My Buick Enclave Start In The Cold Weather?

The cold weather hurts the Buick Enclave by reducing battery output. It then goes on to make sure that the engine is not able to heat up and reach its full potential.

Additionally, the spark plugs are also hindered, not being able to ignite the fuel. All of this stacks up and prevents the Buick Enclave from starting up.

Q7. Why Won’t My Buick Enclave Start After I Get Gas?

A full tank means nothing if the fuel is not reaching the engine. You have to make sure that the fuel is reaching the engine in adequate amounts.

If your Buick Enclave is not starting with a full tank, then you likely have a blockage or a faulty component that prevents the engine from getting the proper amount of fuel.

Q8. Why Won’t My Buick Enclave Start But Radio Works?

This issue might be a solid indicator that your ignition system has some issues. You may find that you can start all of the gadgets but not the car.

Check to see if the starter motor is working at all. If it is not, then your ignition switch has some issues which may require a replacement unit.

Related: What Are The Worst Years For The Buick Enclave?


Despite all its faults and problems, there is no denying that the Buick Enclave is one of the best sports utility vehicles on the market.

Not only has it won various awards and mentions in magazines, but it also has a great following and respect among the car community.

It is quite unfortunate that it has to deal with issues that raise the question as to why won’t my Buick Enclave start.

If these problems were completely eradicated, the Buick Enclave would have been one of the best SUVs of all time.

Sadly, this is not the case, and instead, you will have to resolve these issues to get your money’s worth.