My 1998 Dodge Won't Crank

Diagnose the Issue

1.

Check your battery and connections. Check the cables for loose or disconnected lines. Trace the positive line to the relay and look for any burned, melted, or disconnected wires. If any wires are disconnected or damaged, replace immediately and test.

2.

Field test your battery. A simple test of your battery consists of turning on the headlights. If the lights come on but are dim, you will need to jumpstart your vehicle or charge your battery. If the lights appear as bright as normal and the other electronics in the vehicle operate normally as well, then the issue may not be the battery. If the lights or other electronics fail to turn on, you have either a fuse issue or a short in one of your wires.

3.

Locate your fuse panel. Within the owner's manual is a listing of the different fuses and locations. Most newer vehicles have two locations for fuses; under the dash and in the engine. The fuse that controls your ignition is typically in the Power Distribution Center located in your engine compartment near the battery for most Dodges.

4.

Visually inspect all the fuses and relays for any internal burns, breaking of the fuse, or other indications that the fuse is blown. Replace any disabled fuses or relays and test your vehicle. Also check fuses inside the vehicle. That fuse panel is typically located on the left side of the dash in Dodges.

Tips and Warnings

  • If your lights or other electronics do not come on and you have not identified any damaged wires, you have a short in the line or a damaged starter relay. It is recommended that you consult a mechanic for further diagnosis and repair.
  • Car problems are nerve-wracking. Going out in the morning, attempting to start your car and having nothing happens tends to make for a long day. Turning the key and having nothing happen implies a major issue with your vehicle. Diagnosing the problem allows you to at least understand what is going on and pursue options for fixing the issue. With a 1998 Dodge, diagnosing an engine that will not crank is a three-step process.