RAM 2500 Won’t Start But Lights Come On? Possible Causes & Fixes

A reliable vehicle is an owner’s pride. What happens if your highly-valued RAM 2500 develops starting problems? It can break down unexpectedly, causing you to be late for an important meeting or even miss an appointment.

What are some of the reasons the RAM 2500 won't start, and how do you troubleshoot and solve these problems? Keeping your vehicle reliable is a priority for most drivers, and the owner's manual for 2500 can help.

Here is how a dead battery or even rodent attacks cause RAM 2500 starting issues.

Weak Battery

The battery supplies sufficient power to the starter motor, which starts the engine. Turning on a key or pushing the start button causes the starter to draw power from the battery (12V) and turn the engine.

Driving around with a weak RAM 2500 battery means the power it supplies is insufficient for turning the engine over. Every starter motor has a designated cranking amperage rating, and if the battery is weak, the cranking amperage drops below the recommended levels.

Sometimes, the weak battery may cause cranking sounds and even start the engine.

However, the engine immediately goes off since the power supply is insufficient to keep the electrical components in good working conditions.

Jump-start the RAM 2500 or replace the battery to fix this issue. It's also important to note that your battery will gradually lose its power over time. Have it checked by a mechanic or a garage and replace it if necessary.

Test 12v Battery

One can check the status of 2500’s battery by testing its voltage. Vehicles rely on the 12V battery to power the starter and crank the engine. Use a multimeter connected to the positive and negative terminals of the battery to verify its voltage, which is approximately 12-13V.

Lower voltage implies the battery is weak, recharge or replace it if the voltages remain low after recharge.

Jump Start RAM 2500

Drivers can start jumpstarting RAM Ranger with a weak battery using a healthy battery. It will supply the power needed to crank and start the engine. If other electrical components work well, the weak battery will recharge for the next starting cycle.

Corrosion On Battery

Leaks on 2500’s battery, dirty cable connections and exposure to aggressive elements cause corrosion on the battery terminals. Such corrosion creates a poor electrical connection between the starter motor and the RAM 2500’s battery, causing the starter to draw insufficient power. The low power may cause a cranking sound but may be very low to start the engine.

Corrosion can increase resistance in the electrical circuit causing additional power losses. It affects the net power reaching the starter motor. In other situations, the motor may draw excess power causing it to overheat and fail.

Clean Battery Corrosion

Drivers can resolve starting issues due to corrosion by cleaning the battery terminals and cable connections. Use a wire brush to clear debris and corroded elements from the battery. Alternatively, drivers can use a solution of baking soda and water to clean the corrosion.

Regularly check the battery terminals and cable connections and clean them to avoid engine starting problems.

Cables Loosening On Batteries

Your RAM 2500 develops starting problems if cables connecting the starter motor and the battery are loose. These cables transmit power between the battery and the starter.

Loose connections disrupt the connection between these elements and affect the amount of electric power delivered to the motor. Sometimes the connection is lost since the cables are not firmly held against the battery terminals.

Drivers can rectify loose connections by tightening the battery cable connections. Ensure you have adequate protective gear and that the battery terminals are disconnected before fixing loose cable connections. Regular cable inspections are beneficial for identifying any looseness that can impact the starting of your RAM 2500.

Weak Key Fob Battery

RAM 2500 vehicles with keyless entry rely on a key fob for communication with the electronic control unit (ECU). The key fob generates a signal when the start button is pushed. The signal instructs the starter motor to draw power from the battery and start the engine.

Driving around with a weak key fob battery leads to weaker communication signals. That will prevent the engine from starting even after pressing the start button.

How To Start RAM 2500 With Dead Key Fob Battery

Driving around with a dead key fob battery is inadvisable. However, a few remedies exist for one to start a car during such incidents.

Use the emergency key (stored inside the fob) to unlock the doors. Once open, keep the key as close as possible to the start button. The RAM 2500 computer system may capture the weak communication signals and start the engine.

The key fob battery deteriorates with time. Replace the battery immediately starting, and communication problems develop.

Broken Starter Motor

The starter motor utilizes the power from the battery to rotate the flywheel and start the engine once the starter button is pressed or the key is turned.

Starter motors can undergo mechanical breakdown, affecting the gear system connecting with the flywheel and starter bearings or damaging the fasteners holding it in place. Any damage to the starter motor results in a breakdown in the power transmission.

Clicking or grinding noises when starting RAM 2500 are signs of a damaged motor.

Temporary Fix For Starter

You can still start your RAM 2500 despite driving with a damaged starter. If the damage does not affect the connection and alignment of the motor, drivers can jumpstart the car using a portable jumpstarter.

This will provide the power to rotate and start the engine. It is a temporary solution that may not work for all types of starter damages.

Another way to start 2500 with a manual transmission is push-starting. Ensure you fix or replace a damaged starter as soon as possible to avoid more problems.

The Solenoid On The Starter Is Faulty

The solenoid on the starter acts as a switch to complete the electrical circuit formed between the battery and the starter when the key turns to a start position. A faulty solenoid cannot complete the electrical circuit, interrupting power flow to the starter motor. This means less or no power to the starter motor, causing the engine to crank without starting.

A faulty solenoid may manifest in several ways:

  • The starter clicks when attempting to start the car
  • The starter motor does not engage
  • The starter motor cranks only when jump started

To fix a solenoid-related issue, engage a professional mechanic to diagnose, repair or replace the faulty solenoid.

Defective Alternator

The alternator provides the power for the 2500's electrical system. It also recharges the 12V battery when the engine is running. A defective alternator cannot supply enough power to charge the battery and keep the electrical and electronic components of the vehicle functional. It leaves the battery with low voltage, thus it cannot build up enough power to turn the starter motor and start the engine.

A defective alternator can also overcharge the battery. When this happens, the battery is damaged, leaving it with little or no power to start the engine.

Alternator defects may not be noticeable immediately. Drivers should periodically inspect and test their alternators to check their functionality and performance.

Clogged Fuel Filter

The fuel filter removes impurities from fuel before reaching the engine. A clogged fuel filter restricts fuel flow and may cause problems when starting the RAM 2500. Clogged fuel filters reduce fuel pressure causing difficulty when starting.

Replace clogged fuel filters to avoid RAM 2500 starting problems. Clean the fuel tank and fuel lines if the problem persists after changing the filters.

Fuel Pump Failure

Fuel pumps pressurize fuel before entering the engine for combustion. A faulty fuel pump delivers less-pressurized fuel. The fuel cannot ignite once mixed with air in the combustion chamber. It will cause starting problems even though all other starting systems are in good working conditions. Sometimes, the RAM 2500 engine may crank but not start.

Sometimes the engine starts and stalls after a short time. Repair or replace faulty fuel pumps. The defective pump affects starting and running of the vehicle. Engage a fuel pump repair expert to fix the problem.

Blown Fuse

Fuses protect electrical components from excess current. The fuses break electrical circuits when the current exceeds recommended levels. A blown fuse prevents the starter motor from receiving power from the battery, making it difficult to start the engine. When the starter motor fuse breaks, drivers can hear a clicking sound when turning the key to start, but the engine won’t crank.

Open the fuse box and check if the starter fuse is blown. Replace it and attempt to start the RAM 2500. If the fuse blows up, check for other electrical connection issues.

Defective Spark Plugs

Defective spark plugs can cause RAM 2500 starting problems since they cannot provide a spark to ignite the air-fuel mixture in the combustion chamber.

The defects may arise from aging, carbon accumulation and exposure to high temperatures.

Replace the defective spark plugs with the help of a mechanic. The damaged spark plugs affect starting and can cause poor car performance and low fuel economy.

Rodent Damage

A car parked for a long may suffer damage from rodents. They destroy electrical connections, and vacuum hoses, clog air filters, eat through alternator belts or damage electrical insulations.

Such damages interrupt power flow between the battery and the starter motor. Damage to alternator belts means batteries cannot recharge, while damage to insulation causes electrical short-circuiting.

Keep the garage area clean to prevent rodents from storming it. Conduct a comprehensive inspection of various components if you suspect the RAM 2500 starting problems are due to rodent damage.

Engine Failure

Starting problems can occur due to engine failures.

Decide on your engine so you can solve the following problems:

  • Overheating
  • Low coolant
  • Wear and tear
  • Poor oil quality
  • Mechanical failures

A damaged engine cannot generate enough power to start and run the RAM 2500. It may only crank for a while.

Repair damaged engine components and perform regular maintenance to keep engines in good working condition.

Other Possible Causes For RAM 2500 Cranking But Won't Turn Over

Apparently, RAM 2500 cannot start without fuel or when the fuel pressure is low.

Check The Fuel. Ensure the vehicle has sufficient fuel before starting it. Top up fuel if depleted.

Check Fuel Pressure. Use a fuel pressure gauge to confirm the fuel pressure levels. Also, check if the fuel pump pressure regulator is working well.

Diagnose RAM 2500 Starting Problems With OBD2 Scanner

Starting problems may arise from defects in various components. Before repairing RAM 2500, one should dig to the root cause of the starting problem.

Use an OBD2 scanner to identify the cause of the RAM 2500 starting problem for accurate repair and maintenance. The scanner generates specific diagnostic trouble codes used to rectify starting issues.

If your RAM 2500 won’t start for a reason or two, it is important to engage a professional mechanic. You can acquire an OBD2 diagnostic scanner to troubleshoot starting issues before visiting a shop for repairs. Invest in regular 2500 maintenance for fewer issues.

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