Why Won’t My Ford Ranger Start?

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Mainly debuting as a compact pickup truck, the Ford Ranger was released in 1982.

It stayed this body type until 2012 and rebranded itself as a mid-sized pickup truck in 2019. This is the current body type that the Ford Ranger is in, and people love it.

Changes to the body type are all well and good, but its quality matters, and when it comes to the Ford Ranger, there can sometimes be a distinct lack of it.

Many people have said that, along with raising the question, why won’t my Ford Ranger start?

There could be a myriad of problems preventing the Ford Ranger from starting, such as battery problems and ignition issues.

Here are a few examples you should know:

  1. Weak Or Dead Car battery
  2. Weak Key Fob Battery
  3. Bad Starter
  4. Clogged Fuel Filters
  5. Defective Alternator

Facing any of these issues can be extremely problematic, which is why I will explain them in this article.

It is integral that you read this article if you own a Ford Ranger and do not want to deal with these issues.

What Would Cause A Ford Ranger To Not Start?

Wondering why your Ford Ranger is not starting? Read the list of the issues that causing

The components of the car slowly degrade and become unusable.

They each have their own lives, and they start to break down near the end of the car’s lifetime. This can easily prevent the car from starting at all.

While a different effect may accompany each component, the result is always that the Ford Ranger struggles to start.

1: Weak Or Dead Car Battery

The biggest issue that almost every car deals with is a weak or dead car battery.

As you know, car needs energy to work, and a lot of this energy is provided via the battery which starts the engine.

Without a charged battery, you will not be able to start the engine at all, which is why you need to take special care of it.

The main thing you need to know about the battery is that it only has a life of 4 to 5 years and needs to be kept in good condition.

This means you should not keep your Ford Ranger stationary for too long and keep it away from cold weather.

What Should You Do About It?

  • If you believe you have a dead battery, you need to conduct a voltage test.
  • This test should determine whether the battery is at fault or not.
  • If the battery shows less than 12 volts, it is not sufficiently charged.
  • At this point, you should ask yourself if the battery is old.
  • If the battery is too old, you should consider getting a new one.
  • However, if the battery is new, you can simply get it jumpstarted.
  • Avoid keeping the battery in the cold, and drive to keep it charged.

2: Weak Key Fob Battery

Since key fobs are very complex in their security protocols, you need to ensure that your key fob is sufficiently charged; otherwise, it will prevent you from starting the Ford Ranger.

The key fob essentially broadcasts a code to the car, which causes it to start. Another key fob cannot replicate this broadcast.

Unless you have a manual key, keeping the key fob charged at all times is recommended to avoid this problem.

Without adequate battery, you are also unable to lock or unlock the car using the key fob, which is another hassle entirely.

What Should You Do About It?

  • Try getting closer to the Ford Ranger if you think your key fob is not working. There may just be a range issue.
  • Once you are close to the car, try unlocking it. If it works, the battery may be sufficient to start the car. If it is still not working, you may have to replace its battery.
  • If you cannot get the battery replaced, put the mechanical key into the key fob.
  • Press the start button and then press the key fob against the button. This should start the car.
  • There may also be hidden key fob slots and physical key slots that you can look for.

3: Bad Starter

When you turn the key to start the engine, many small components must move in unison to activate the engine.

The initial movement, however, is engaged by the engine’s flywheel. The starter turns this.

With this information alone, it should be clear that if there is anything wrong with the starter of the Ford Ranger, you have no hope of the car starting.

The starter also has various smaller components, which can easily break apart. The more you use the starter, the greater the chance these smaller parts break apart.

This can be visible in the form of damaged or worn-out parts. You may also see oil leaks or loose wiring resulting from this.

What Should You Do About It?

  • Find and take care of any things that you can see visually. This includes frayed or loose wires along with oil leaks.
  • Once all of this has been patched up, you should attempt to start the car. If it still does not work, then you will need professional help.
  • At this point, it is in your best interest to visit a skilled mechanic so that they can pinpoint the issue in the starter and begin to fix it.
  • If given the option, it is recommended to get the entire starter replaced. This will be a safer and more economical option.

4: Clogged Fuel Filters

Pickup trucks require a lot of fuel to keep on the move. You can fill your tank to the limit but still not be able to start your Ford Ranger.

This is a clear sign that you are dealing with some form of clog or leak preventing adequate fuel from reaching the engine.

These clogs are usually found inside the fuel filters. Leaving the fuel filters and not replacing them will cause them to eventually clog up.

This build-up is usually caused by the contaminants and debris found in the fuel itself. This is yet another reason why you should avoid low-quality fuel.

What Should You Do About It?

  • If you think your fuel filters are clogged, the best thing you can do is go and check them out.
  • You will be able to notice the clog almost immediately, in which case you need to clean it out.
  • Once the filter has been cleaned, it is time to replace it.
  • You should habitually replace it every 6 to 8 months or so. This will prevent the problem from happening again.
  • You should also switch to a higher quality fuel, as this will limit how much contaminants and dirt get caught in the fuel filters.
  • This will increase their lives by a couple of months as well.

5: Defective Alternator

An alternator is an integral part of the electrical system of any car. An alternator is required to charge the car battery.

It works by converting the mechanical energy of the car to electrical energy. It then sends it to the battery so that it can be charged.

A defective alternator cannot do this and causes the battery to run out of charge. This domino effect leads to the Ford Ranger not being able to turn on.

It also causes a lot of frustration if you do not know what you are dealing with. To an ordinary person, it will seem like an issue with the battery.

This will result in them getting a jumpstart for a quick fix or an entirely new battery. Neither of these two fixes the actual problem.

What Should You Do About It?

  • Start noting how many times your battery runs out of juice after jumpstarts.
  • If you just got a new battery and it runs out after a day, then it is clear that your alternator is to blame.
  • Before proceeding to the next step, you should check for any loose or frayed wires.
  • Locating any visual damage can also help you determine if the alternator is truly the cause of the issue.
  • Take the Ford Ranger to the mechanic and have them replace or fix the alternator, depending on the damage.
  • It is recommended to replace the alternator so you can avoid unnecessary issues in the future.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Why Won’t My Ford Ranger Start with New Battery?

A new battery should breathe life into your Ford Ranger only if installed properly.

If a battery is not installed correctly, it may prevent the car from starting entirely.

The other thing you can assume is that the problem is in another car system.

If that is the case, you should take the car to the mechanic.

Q2. Why Won’t My Ford Ranger Start Even With A Jump?

A jumpstart is a reliable way to solve any battery problems that you may have. However, even this method can only go so far.

It is equally possible that your battery is past its prime and will not revive after a jumpstart. If this is the case, then all you can do is get a new battery and have it replace your old one.

Q3. Why Won’t My Ford Ranger Start But Lights Work?

Most cars can turn on their lights without a fully charged battery because the interior lights do not draw much power from the battery.

The engine is another story and will need a sufficiently charged battery to start. If your lights start and the engine does not, you may have to jumpstart or replace the battery.

Q4. Why Won’t My Ford Ranger Start But Cranks?

Cranking should signify that most of your electrical components are working properly.

If your Ford Ranger still does not start, you should take it to a mechanic as there could be any number of problems.

These problems could range from defective spark plugs to issues in the fuel and ignition systems.

Q5. Why Won’t My Ford Ranger Start Just Clicks?

Clicking is much worse than seeing your Ford Ranger crank and not start because this means that there is something wrong with the electrical system of the car.

This will also require a lot of work to figure out which specific component is causing the fault. Hence, it is better to take the car to the mechanic rather than try to figure it out yourself.

Q6. Why Won’t My Ford Ranger Start In The Cold Weather?

The cold weather can slowly degrade the health of the components of the vehicle and, eventually, the car itself.

This starts with the oil of the car thickening up and then the battery losing its charge.

It continues to the point that the engine struggles to warm up, and the spark plugs find it difficult to light up the car.

Q7. Why Won’t My Ford Ranger Start After I Get Gas?

Gas is essential to making the car move but filling the tank does not make this happen. What you need to make sure is that the fuel reaches the engine of the Ford Ranger.

Fuel clogs and leaks are common issues that can prevent this from happening. More major issues, such as component failure in the fuel system, can also cause this to happen.

Q8. Why Won’t My Ford Ranger Start But Radio Works?

Low-charged batteries are able to power a lot of knick knacks and gadgets, which also include the radio. Unfortunately, this does not include the car’s engine.

The result is that your battery is unable to start the engine. For this, you will need to get a replacement battery or resort to jumpstarting your current battery.

Related: What Are The Worst Years For The Ford Ranger?


Coming back to North America after an eight-year hiatus, the Ford Ranger has received major praise from the community, who loves the vehicle but also acknowledge the faults that you can find in the car.

These faults resort to the owner questioning, “Why won’t my Ford Ranger start?”.

This is a question that should haunt you no longer, especially if you have taken the time out to read this article word for word.

Now you should be able to figure out which issues are plaguing your truck and what you need to do to get them fixed.

This way, you can also avoid the problem from rising in the future as well.