By February 5, 2014 1 Comments Read More →

Jeep Won’t Start – Engine Light On

Jeep will not startHi, I have been reading questions and answers on your website and have a couple of questions myself.  I have a Jeep Liberty.  2 days ago it would crank up but was running rough, white smoke coming out of tailpipe.  I shut the car off and when I cranked it later it ran fine but the check engine light was on.

Yesterday it cranked and ran fine but when I went back out to leave my office it would crank but kept cutting off every time I took my foot off of the gas.  Any suggestions on what it could be?


Hey Julie,

I would first want to read your computer codes and see why the light came on, I would suspect it is a “loss of crankshaft signal” type of code. These vehicles are prone to crankshaft position sensor failures, which can cause “no start” situations like you mentioned.  Lack of fuel pressure from the fuel pump to the engine can also be a culprit.

Hopefully the smoke you see is due to the starting problem and too much, or too little fuel in the cylinder and not something more serious like a head gasket leaking problem.

So, honestly, I would pay a mechanic to diagnose this for you, guessing at this is going to cost a lot more money.

Things I would look at if you were in my shop.

1. Read computer codes
2. Check crankshaft sensor
3. Check fuel pressure at the engine
4. Check and clean the throttle body on the engine
5. Check for a vacuum leak under the hood, like at the air filter cleaner box – oil change places like to leave them lose after inspecting the air filter.

Below is my video on cleaning the throttle body should you want to try something simple yourself and see what happens.

Let me know what you find out, and I can try to assist further once we have more info.

Austin Davis

Posted in: Check Engine Lights

About the Author:

Austin Davis, consumer car repair advocate. "Hi there! I love to help people solve their car repair problems and I hope my site was helpful to you today. Thank you for stopping by."
  • Elizabeth

    Hi, Austin! My 1998 Jeep Cherokee Sport, which I’ve driven for 15 years, with zero mechanical problems, 125K miles on it, and well-maintained, started giving me problems with no A/C and then sometimes no heat. Then, one cold, snowy day, driving up in the Rocky Mountains, the “check engine” light went on, and the engine heat indicator went all the way into the red. Well, I turned the heat & fan on full-blast, and that brought the temperature down to normal, added antifreeze to the radiator, once it had cooled down. Then I turned the car around and coasted it down the mountain (engine on because of power steering & brakes). A mechanic listened to what I said, saw white smoke from the exhaust pipe, did not do a computer analysis, but and said the engine block was cracked, head gaskets blown & I’d need a new engine, radiator, thermostat, belts & “other stuff”, to the tune of $7000! For a 1998 Jeep worth a couple of thousand, maybe. Then he offered to buy it for $500, and said he wanted to fix it up for his girlfriend. Seemed like a red flag, to me, so I had it towed to my house, where it sits. It starts OK, runs OK, but lots of white smoke comes out of the exhaust pipe, and the oil color is brown-ish. What does this really mean?