Dodge Charger Cranks But Won’t Start: Why? How To Fix It?

When you’re unable to get your Dodge Charger to start, two things could be happening. It’s either the engine refuses to turn over or the engine turns over and refuses to start.

The latter generally happens less frequently and can be pretty difficult to diagnose. In this article, we’ll break down the most probable cause and how you can go about fixing whatever the reason is.

Causes Of Dodge Charger Cranks But Won’t Start And How To Fix

5 Causes Of Dodge Charger Cranks But Won't Start
These are some of the most common issues that cause your Dodge Charger to crank but not start

Lack Of Fuel

Many car owners experience this problem because they forget to refuel their vehicles. Nonetheless, you can have a full engine and still have the functionality compromised by a clogged fuel filter, a bad fuel pump, or even clogged injectors.

Clogged fuel filter

All cars are traditionally fitted with fuel filters that clean the oil before reaching the engine. These filters are predisposed to dirt buildup and clogging by the nature of their function. 

A dirty or clogged fuel filter can restrict fuel flow to the engine, causing the engine to crank but not start when you turn the key in the ignition.

Change Fuel Filter

Needed Tools

How to fix

Step 1: Locate the fuse for your fuel pump. After that, remove it, start the engine and let it run for seconds to relieve the pressure.

Step 2: Find the location of the fuel filter. You can check your automobile’s manual for this.

Step 3: Depending on the fuel pump’s location, you may need to jack up your car.

How to Replace your Fuel Filter

Bad fuel pump

Another fuel-related problem could arise when you have a malfunctioning or bad fuel pump. There’s a quick way to check whether a fuel pump is functioning. Insert the key into the ignition and turn it to the run position one click before starting. 

You will hear a low humming sound coming from the fuel tank area. If you can’t hear the hum when the key is in the run position, you probably have a bad pump that needs to be changed.

Change Fuel Pump

Needed Tools

How to fix

Step 1: Drain the fuel tank as much as possible.

Step 2: Remove the fuel tank hose from the fuel pump. Also, disconnect the outlet to the carburetor.

Step 3: Loosen the connecting bolts and remove the fuel pump.

Step 4: Fix gasket sealers on both sides of the new fuel pump gasket.

Step 5: Fix the connecting bolts on the new pump and slip the gasket over the bolts.

Step 6: Install the fuel pump on the engine and connect the fuel lines to it.

How to Replace a Fuel Pump in Your Car

Clogged Fuel Injectors

A working fuel pump does not necessarily mean you’re getting fuel pressure to the engine. Fuel injector nozzles can collect debris, rust, and corrosion over time and get clogged. Thus, the effect of a clogged fuel injector could be your cylinders misfiring or refusing to start.

Clean Fuel Injector

Needed Tools: Fuel injector cleaning kit

How to fix

Step 1: Separate the fuel injectors from the fuel pump and remove them.

Step 2: Connect the fuel cleaning kit to the fuel port, following the instructions with the kit.

Step 3: Remove the fuel tank cover to avoid pressure buildup.

Step 4: Start your engine to send the cleaning agent through the injectors. Let your engine run until you exhaust the cleaning kit.

Read more: Can You Engage Tow/Haul Mode While Driving?

Lack Of Air

Air is needed to mix with fuel in the cylinder to power the engine. When the entire fuel system is working and a vehicle still won’t fire up, air may not be getting into the engine.

However, not a common occurrence; air filters and intake tubings can get blocked and prevent the engine from starting. It would be best to replace air filters every 12000 – 15000 miles as a rule of thumb.

air filter
If air filters get clogged, you can easily clean them with a vacuum cleaner

Replace Air Filter

Needed Tools

How to fix

Step 1: Open the hood of your vehicle and locate the airbox.

Step 2: Undo the clips securing the filter in place carefully if there are any.

Step 3: Slide the filter out carefully.

Step 4: Clean out the airbox with a vacuum and make sure there’s no foreign object lodged in the air intake tube before fixing the replacement filter.

Step 5: Install the new air filter.

Faulty Spark Plugs

When there’s nothing wrong with the fuel system and the air intake, the spark plugs are next to look at. They have the primary function of igniting the fuel-air mixture in the combustion chamber. 

However, they need cleaning and sharping to produce the spark necessary for ignition. When the sparks are worn out or dirty, they are less likely to produce the adequate spark required to start a car engine.

Spark Plugs
When the sparks are worn out or dirty, they are less likely to produce the adequate spark required to start a car engine

Change the Spark Plugs

Step 1: Remove ignition coils or any cables if they hinder you on top of the engine.

Step 2: Remove the spark plugs from the top of your cylinders.

Step 3: Install the new spark plugs. Make sure you’re replacing with the correct spark plugs. 

Step 4: Tighten the plugs properly. 

Step 5: Replace cables or coils you might have removed from the top of the engine.

Low Compression

Compression indicates how much pressure is when the piston compresses inside the cylinder. It is a significant part of internal combustion, and when it is compromised, starting the engine might prove difficult. 

There are quite some things that could cause low engine compression. It could result from leaky valves, head gasket failure, or even lousy piston rings.

compression tester
Low compression could result from leaky valves, head gasket failure, or even lousy piston rings

Replace Damaged Part

The first step would be testing the engine with a compression gauge. If you don’t have a gauge, you should buy or rent one. A healthy motor vehicle engine should have a compression of at least 100 psi in each cylinder. Moreover, you also ensure that there’s not more than a 10% variation between the lowest and highest readings.

Several things could cause low engine compression. As such, you must establish the exact cause. You should first examine your engine closely to find the causative factors. This would include checking the gasket, pistons, valves, and cylinder for any damage. 

Interestingly, fixing the problem could be as simple as replacing the damaged part, but it may require you to take out the whole engine.

Read more: Blown Head Gasket In A 5.7 Hemi Engine: Symptoms And Causes

Incorrect Timing

There’s an element of timing in ignition systems. When sparks are sent to the ignition at the wrong time, you may experience starting problems with your engine. 

Furthermore, a worn or frayed timing belt could also be the root of the problem. If there’s no damage to the timing belt, you should check if it’s tight around the camshaft gear. The belt could easily slip and jump a number of select when loosely fitted, resulting in a misalignment of the crankshaft and camshaft.

timing belt
A worn or frayed timing belt could also be the root of this issue

Change Damaged Timing Belt

Although engine timing going wrong is quite slim, it doesn’t hurt to make sure that the belt is always in good shape. So, fixing incorrect timing is not necessarily the easiest thing to fix on a car. If you have a damaged timing belt, you’ll have to replace it and ensure it’s well-aligned. 

However, if you’re dealing with a more advanced problem like valve and ignition timing, you may want to get your vehicle to a professional.


When you start your Dodge Charger, and it cranks but refuses to start, these factors we discussed are the most likely culprits. Some of these problems are relatively easy to fix, while some need advanced skills and expertise. Nonetheless, it’s safer to consult with qualified professionals if you have a hard time starting your vehicle.

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