Why Won’t My Dodge Durango Start?

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Based on the Dodge Dakota and the Ram pickup, the Dodge Durango was released in 1998 and saw around half a decade of models before it took a shift and became a full-sized SUV with crossover elements.

It is the only Dodge-built SUV since the early years of the Dodge Journey, which has long since been discontinued.

While it may seem that Dodge may have a good grip on the lineup, this was not always the case.

The earlier models of the Dodge Durango were heavily criticized for their major issues and problems. Many of these problems had you asking,” Why won’t my Dodge Durango start?”.

The most common of these problems included the ones that have been listed below:

  1. Dead/Low Charged Battery
  2. Defective Camshaft/Crankshaft Sensors
  3. Fuel System Issues
  4. Bad Spark Plugs
  5. Engine Failure

If you want an in-depth dive into these issues, then it would be best to read the rest of this article.

I will talk about all of the above issues and answer any questions you might have as well!

What Would Cause A Dodge Durango To Not Start?

How should I turn over my Dodge Durango when having the issues? Learn from my guide

The Dodge Durango started as a mid-sized SUV and turned into a full-sized SUV.

This transition can have major repercussions if not done right.

As seen in various reports, the first full-sized Dodge Durango model had many issues.

This is likely why many issues arose that prevented the Dodge Durango from turning on.

1: Dead/Low Charged Battery

One of the most common issues any car owner can face is battery-related problems.

The battery is a very important part of the Dodge Durango as it is required to provide electricity to all car parts.

Without the battery, the engine will not be able to get the necessary energy it needs to start.

Hence, you should have a good idea that without a properly working battery, your SUV will not even start.

The battery needs to be charged to provide a good energy source to other car components. All you need to do is make sure to drive regularly to properly charge the battery.

What Should You Do About It?

  • Assess the charge level of your battery via a voltage test. This should show whether the battery is the cause of the issue or not.
  • A good battery should be able to output more than 12 volts. If anything is less than 12 volts, you should look for a viable solution.
  • Ensure the battery is properly in place and has no corrosion on the terminals. You should also look for loose or frayed wires and have them fixed.
  • To recharge the battery, you need to jumpstart your Dodge Durango. This should get the battery back up to speed.
  • If your battery still does not work, you will need to replace it.

2: Defective Camshaft/Crankshaft Sensors

With the advancements in today’s technology, it has become a lot easier for cars to manage their components.

The engine is made up of dozens of small moving parts that need to be moving in a rhythm to work properly.

This rhythm is achieved by an array of sensors that detect whether the values’ opening and the pistons’ movement align.

The crankshaft takes the motion of the pistons and converts it into rotational movement. The camshaft opens and closes the valves.

Both of these are watched carefully by sensors that detect if both are working in unison. If any sensor is weakened or faulty, its transmitting data is halted.

This causes the car to switch off the spark and fuel delivery, which is why the Dodge Durango will not engage the engine.

What Should You Do About It?

  • If you noticed that your Dodge Durango was displaying check engine lights before not being able to start at all, you might have issues with the sensors in the car.
  • Unless you have adequate knowledge about the sensors, you would be wise to simply visit the mechanic and have them check out what is wrong with your vehicle.
  • If one of your sensors is defective, then the best choice would be to replace it with a new one.
  • While you could opt to get it fixed, given a chance, it would be better if you just get a new one in the long run.

3: Fuel System Issues

It is safe to say that your Dodge Durango will never run on the road without fuel.

You also need a decent amount of fuel just to start the engine. This is why it is always good to have at least 20% fuel in your car and not drive on fumes.

Now that you know all of this, you should also know that various issues, especially in the Dodge Durango, can limit how much fuel gets to the engine.

For the most part, this should be limited to just leaks and blockages, but it can even go as far as a defective fuel pump. Here is what you can do if you think you have fuel-related issues.

What Should You Do About It?

  • Start by checking how much fuel is in the tank. Ensure your fuel gauge is not defective and displays the right amount of fuel.
  • If you are out of fuel, go to the nearest gas station and get a full tank.
  • Check for any leaks and open the fuel filters. Clean them out or have them replaced. This should resolve most of the issues.
  • If you still have trouble starting the engine, your fuel pumps are likely defective.
  • Have them checked out by a mechanic and if forced to, get them replaced for new ones.

4: Bad Spark Plugs

The spark plugs are an integral part of the ignition system.

They are responsible for generating the spark needed to ignite the fuel, thus allowing the engine to get the power it needs to start.

You should be able to get, on average, 80,000 miles from your spark plug, but sometimes they are not built to last and can even give out after a couple of years.

This is a good reason to track how long you have had particular spark plugs.

Before starting issues, if you faced any engine misfire or slow acceleration that could indicate that your spark plugs have been worn out.

Older spark plugs tend to have a harder time generating the necessary spark.

What Should You Do About It?

  • There is not much you can do if you think you have defective spark plugs.
  • Start by checking the spark plugs out and seeing if they are worn out. You should be able to see this visually.
  • Note the number of miles they last; this will help you out next.
  • Now that your spark plugs are useless, all you can do is get new ones. You should try to get high-quality spark plugs if you want them to last longer.
  • If your current set lasted particularly long, you could get the same set. I would recommend iridium spark plugs.

5: Engine Failure

A major issue that no responsible car owner wants to deal with is issues related to the engine.

Unfortunately, for many owners of the Dodge Durango, this is something they could not escape.

Not only does the Dodge Durango have certain models notorious for engine problems. The issues are so bad that they require the entire engine to be replaced.

You need to have a perfectly maintained and working engine if you want to ride the car.

If your engine is defective or has blown out, you will not be able to start the SUV simply because the thing you need to start is beyond repair!

What Should You Do About It?

  • If you think your engine has issues, you should plan a trip to the mechanic immediately.
  • Have the engine checked out and recommend the mechanics to attempt a fix. This will have no effect if the engine is blown.
  • If your Dodge Durango is suffering from a blown engine or engine failure, then the only option you have is to get the engine replaced.
  • This will be a very expensive replacement, but you have no other option if you want to be able to drive your car.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Why Won’t My Dodge Durango Start With New Battery?

You should check to see if the new battery has been installed properly.

If there are loose wires or the battery is not fitted in place, it could not be working properly.

The alternative is that you may have issues in another part of your Dodge Durango and that the battery is fine.

Q2. Why Won’t My Dodge Durango Start Even With A Jump?

A jump is only done if you have battery-related issues. If your jump did not work, it is probably because the battery is not the issue or because the jump was not done right.

Make sure that you have hooked up all the cables correctly. If everything is fine, you need to assess other car components to find the problem.

Q3. Why Won’t My Dodge Durango Start But Lights Work?

This could be a sign of ignition issues, but more commonly; this could just mean that you have a low charged battery.

Lights do not need a lot of power when compared to the engine. This is why the car will fail to start but still be able to turn on the lights.

Q4. Why Won’t My Dodge Durango Start But Cranks?

A crank is a good sign that your ignition and starting system is working. It also shows that your electrical components, such as the battery, are intact.

Knowing all of this, the likely issue is that your engine is not getting enough fuel which could be due to a fuel component malfunction which you should get checked out by a mechanic.

Q5. Why Won’t My Dodge Durango Start Just Clicks?

This is a clear sign that one of your electrical components is not in working condition. It could be as simple as a battery low on its charge or the start of a massive electronic fault.

You should have the Dodge Durango checked out by a mechanic to better assess the issue and get it fixed.

Q6. Why Won’t My Dodge Durango Start In The Cold Weather?

The cold weather can easily cause the spark plugs to not be able to start to ignite the fuel. It also causes the battery to be unable to output its recommended energy value.

All of this easily can prevent the Dodge Durango from being able to start, but the cold weather also has a lot of effects that can stack up and cause even more issues.

Q7. Why Won’t My Dodge Durango Start After I Get Gas?

If you just got gas and the car is still not working, you should see if the car even cranks. If the car starts to crank, you likely have a fuel-related issue, a leak, or a blockage.

If the car fails to crank, then you have an issue with the starting system, which could be due to a faulty starter motor.

Q8. Why Won’t My Dodge Durango Start But Radio Works?

The radio and the lights require a low amount of energy to work, which is why even a low-charged battery can start them. The engine needs a lot more power to turn on.

A jumpstart should be able to fix the issue. You can also opt to get your battery replaced entirely.

Related: What Are The Worst Years For The Dodge Durango?


The earlier models and years of the Dodge Durango were very troublesome for the lineup. The car struggled right out of the gate and was filled with issues.

If you ever had to ask why won’t my Dodge Durango start, it was probably because you got a very troublesome model.

Luckily, the recent models of the Dodge Durango lineup have been lacking many of these issues and generally have less of them.

This has made the Dodge Durango a lineup of very reliable cars that you should consider if you are looking for a full-sized SUV.