Hyundai Kona Won’t Start – Top Tips to get you going! | EVjuicedup (2023)

Owning an EV is fantastic and good for your pocket and your emissions, but no car is good if it won’t start! I’ve been a mechanic for 25 years. Let’s solve why your Kona EV won’t start and get you back driving.

The most common reasons your Kona EV won’t start include:

  • No charge in your High Voltage battery
  • Problem with the charging
  • Dead 12V battery
  • Dead key fob

In this article, we’ll look at why your Kona won’t start and how to fix the problem.

Hyundai Kona Won’t Start – Top Tips to get you going! | EVjuicedup (1)

No Charge in Your High Voltage Battery

The top reason that your Kona EV won’t start is the high-voltage traction battery is flat. The traction battery is what powers the car to drive. The question you have to ask is, why is it flat? The first reason is that charging didn’t happen, even though you plugged it in the previous evening. There are two reasons why charging doesn’t occur if it is plugged in:

  • Power outage
  • Charging problem with the car

Power Outage

We have power outages for many reasons: climate, scheduled shutdown, or circuit overload.

Owning an EV has many perks, but one of the downsides, unlike owning an ICE car, is that we have to pay particular attention to the weather. If we know a storm is coming, we can prepare. We can either pre-charge our car at home or a fast charger or have a power generator as a backup for such occasions.

Our weather has become increasingly unpredictable, but thankfully most fast chargers have solar power or an alternative backup.

Many States, predominantly California, have scheduled outages or power shutdowns because of too much draw on the grid at certain times of the day or week. Again you can plan for this.

The one you can’t plan for is a circuit breaker. This occurs during charging; the circuit to which your cable is connected shorts and trips the power. You may not be aware it has happened until you check your car, as many homes are zoned, only that zone has gone down (Garage), and you had no reason to be in that area since you plugged in your car.

Usually, circuits trip because of overloading or something shorting out. Overloading is not unusual when heavy electric items are plugged into one zone simultaneously. A short is commonly caused by something as simple as a nick in your cable that comes into contact with moisture.

These are all positive reactions, even though it doesn’t seem that way, as your car has not changed, but without these reactions, we would be dealing with a fire. This leads me to the next possibility of no charge.

Car Charging Issue

Other charging issue possibilities exist, such as: Was the cable plugged in properly? Did someone unplug your car accidentally? But the one we will look at is the Hyundai charging issue that comes from the faulty battery in the 2019 – 2020 Kona models (and also Ioniq).

Hyundai Kona (and Ioniq) models have had some very bad press regarding their high-voltage batteries. We can’t talk about charging problems without discussing the recall. The 2019 – 2020 models were fitted with high-voltage Li-Ion batteries manufactured by LG Energy Solutions in China.

The problem is these batteries were shorting and catching fire. Kona owners were initially asked to park their cars outdoors and limit their charging to 80% max, to reduce the heat going to the battery while charging.

Hyundai carried out a software update that prevented full charge from happening. Although only a handful of Konas has gone on fire (and none in the US), the software update is believed to have not solved the problem. A full battery replacement is required, leading to the biggest (most expensive) EV recall to date.

The battery issue could be the reason you can’t start your car. The notification on the dash ‘Check Electric Vehicle System Error’ appears if the safety checks during charging don’t go to plan, i.e., if the BMS (Battery Management System) detects anything unusual, it will prevent charging from going ahead.

It is an absolute pain but comes from an overcautious Hyundai, ensuring no more cars go on fire.

If you thought your car was charging all night and then realize it wasn’t, because of this reason, you now have a dash message that not only won’t allow you to start your Kona but possibly needs the car to go to the dealership for the error to be cleared, or possibly worse again, a new traction battery replacement.

In 2022, Hyundai released an updated Kona EV with a new battery from SK Innovation. Hopefully, these major problems are behind them.

Everyone who drives an EV wants the security to know that they can go to their car in the morning, and it will start and get them to their destination. Range anxiety comes with owning an EV. Your car going on fire is a definite no-no.

Dead 12V Battery

Your Hyundai Kona has two batteries. The high voltage traction battery and also a traditional 12V battery. The 12V runs all auxiliary items such as locks, windows, and media. If your 12V is flat, then the car won’t start. Along with the high voltage, the 12V must be charged for everything to work correctly.

So how do we get the battery going again? A 12V needs over 12V to work. If it’s flat, we need to gain access to it. It lives under the hood, and because it’s flat, unlocking your car won’t be possible with passive entry or the smart fob.

First things first, we need to unlock the car to gain access to the hood lever.

Thankfully the fob has a mechanical key inside. To remove the key from the fob:

  • Slide the button on one end
  • Remove the key

The keyhole is on the driver’s door handle. Don’t forget to reassemble your fob when you’re done. The key is not fully seated until it clicks.

Now that the car is unlocked, locate the hood lever. It lives in the footwell on the driver’s side to the left. It has a small icon of an open hood on it.

Pull it towards you. It might require some force if it hasn’t been used very often.

The hood will pop, but a latch under the center part of the hood requires you to slide it to the left. Prop the hood with the bar and insert it into the small hole at the top left.

Boost the Battery

We’re finally in and can locate and check the 12V. It’s located on the right, just behind the headlights. Bright orange cables represent the high voltage. Don’t Touch Them!

Remove the terminal caps for both the positive and negative. You can check the voltage with a battery charger. Anything less than 12V+, your battery requires a boost.

A booster is the better option but not always practical or available. You can jump your car from a donor gas car but never another EV.

Either way, the cables need to be attached in a particular sequence.

  • Connect the Red (+) to Red (+)
  • Connect the Black (-) to Black (-)
  • Your battery charger will give you a reading of the voltage in your battery if it’s a digital booster.
  • Turn on the battery pack
  • When 12V+ is achieved, disconnect the cables in the reverse order
  • Black and Black (-)
  • Red and Red (+)

I wrote a post about jumpstarting your Kona, which you may find helpful – Can I jumpstart a Kona electric?

The 12V doesn’t actually power your car to drive, so if there’s a charge in your high voltage, as soon as the 12V is back, you should be able to start your car.

Dead Key Fob

Another reason your Kona won’t start is that your Key Fob / Smart Key battery is flat. The key fob allows you to lock/unlock your car and start it (it must be in the car with you). I wrote a post about the problem accessing Kona, which you can check out here – Kona won’t lock

To replace the fob battery, you must remove the mechanical key (as before). Turn the fob upside down – buttons facing down. You can see a slight groove below the hole where the key has been removed. Slide a blunt knife or file into the groove and twist gently. This should break the fob in two.

Gently slide the old battery out and replace it with a new battery. The battery is a CR2032 – widely available online and in-store. Try not to touch the contact side. Slide the new one into place plus (+) side up. Snap the case back together and reinsert the mechanical key.

Although the battery in your fob is very important, it shouldn’t completely prevent your car from starting. All fobs have internal chips that the car’s computer recognizes. If you hold a dead fob near the start/ stop button, it may activate your car. But best not to take any chances. Always a good idea to have your fob in tip-top condition.

I’ve covered a few of the other common Hyundai issues which you hopefully won’t experience, but if you do, we have you covered with these posts:

  • Hyundai Kona won’t charge
  • Hyundai Kona won’t lock
  • Hyundai Kona charge door won’t open
  • Can I jump-start a Hyundai Kona electric?
  • Hyundai Ioniq won’t unlock
  • Hyundai Ioniq won’t unplug
  • Hyundai Ioniq won’t charge

If you are curious about other EV models, check out the EV FAQ category.

John Cunningham

John Cunningham is a technical writer here at He's a Red Seal qualified Auto Service Technician with over twenty-five years experience working on Classic and Modern Cars.He's worked for GM, Jaguar, Land Rover, Volvo, Audi, and VW main dealers.

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Why is my Hyundai Kona not starting? ›

The most common reasons a Hyundai Kona won't start are a dead battery, an alternator problem, or failed starter. Search our network of RepairPal Certified shops near you to speak with a technician about your issue.

Why is my Hyundai not starting? ›

Dead or corroded car battery. Clogged fuel system. Loose starter. Damaged ignition.

Why my car won't start and it's not the battery? ›

Why won't my car start but the battery is good? If your car won't start but the battery is good, the most common cause is a faulty starter – though it could also be to do with your fuel. You may have insufficient fuel to get the car going.

Why won't my car suddenly not start? ›

If your vehicle won't start, it's usually caused by a dying or dead battery, loose or corroded connection cables, a bad alternator or an issue with the starter. It can be hard to determine if you're dealing with a battery or an alternator problem.

How do you manually jumpstart a car? ›

Connect the red clamp to the positive post on the dead battery. Connect the other red clamp to the positive post on the working battery. Connect the black clamp to the negative post on the working battery. Connect the last black clamp to an unpainted metal surface of your car.

How long does it take to jump start a dead battery? ›

You should expect jumpstarting a dead battery to take five minutes, but in harsh conditions, it could take up to thirty minutes to jumpstart your car. You need to drive for at least fifteen minutes after a jumpstart to fully recharge the battery. If it's not working, it's easy to figure out why.

What would cause a starter not to engage? ›

A starter malfunction can have different causes: Electrical connections faulty. Solenoid switch (engaging relay) stiff or faulty. Electric motor damaged electrically.

What does the hold button do on a Hyundai Kona? ›

The Auto Hold feature will register the brake pressure that was applied to bring the car to a stop, and if you were to take your foot off the gas, it will hold the brake pressure in place. The reason this feature exists is to make sure that your vehicle doesn't unexpectedly roll forward or backward.

What does it mean when your car won t start but all the lights come on? ›

If your car won't start but the lights come on, it is likely not an issue with your battery so it's time to turn your attention to your ignition switch. A failed ignition switch won't be able to supply power to the starter motor, ignition system, and other engine controls, preventing the engine from starting.

How do you diagnose a car that wont start? ›

How do you troubleshoot starter problems?
  1. Look under the hood. Check the battery and battery cables to see whether everything's in working order. ...
  2. Tap the starter. Try lightly tapping the starter a few times with a hard object, making sure not to pound it. ...
  3. Adjust the transmission. ...
  4. Check the fuel gauge.
Apr 29, 2019

Why won't my car start but the radio and lights work? ›

The most common causes of no-start conditions are the battery, starter, battery cable, ignition switch, or the fuel pump. Any of these can be intermittent issues, which will not always act up. Given that you have had success with shaking the battery cables, this may indicate that one of the cables is failing.

Why does my car have no power but battery is good? ›

Here are just a few possible culprits: Blown fuse. Loose battery terminal. Faulty wiring.

Can you jump a car with a dead starter? ›

Can you jump-start a car with a bad starter? Most of the time, NO, you can't jumpstart a car with a bad starter unless you repair it. When the battery is dead, jumper wires or boosters are employed. You use a second battery to provide the necessary electricity to start the car.

Will a dead key fob cause car not to start? ›

A dead battery in your key fob means it can't broadcast the signal the ignition system is looking for. If your car or truck can't detect the correct signal, then the ignition will remain locked, and you won't be able to start your car with the fob in your pocket.

What can drain a car battery when the car is off? ›

Parasitic Drain - If the electrical devices in your car or the lights on your car are left running even when your ignition is off, they will suck the juice out of your battery slowly but dramatically. This is often eerily described as parasitic drain.

How to start an automatic car with low battery without jumper cables? ›

Jumpstart an automatic car without cables

If you drive an automatic car, make sure you have a simple portable charger in your roadside emergency toolkit. If you have a portable charger and your car battery is dead, all you need to do is plug it in the cigarette lighter and wait for about 20 minutes.

When I try to jump my car it just clicks? ›

It might be a battery or alternator problem.

A rapid clicking noise when trying to start your car could mean there's something wrong within the electrical system. Perhaps your battery's dead, or your alternator, which charges the battery, isn't working correctly.

Should the car be running when jump starting? ›

Make sure both vehicles are off.

Make sure both vehicles are turned completely off before attaching the jumper cables to the battery terminals!

Do I need a new battery after a jump? ›

Getting a new battery for your car is unnecessary since you have to jump-start it. A car battery can last long after being jump-started, but only if the alternator keeps it charged. If your battery is five years old or more, you should get a new one to prevent it from giving you trouble again and again.

Why wont my Hyundai ignition key turn? ›

Steering wheel - Most vehicles have a steering lock which locks the steering wheel when the key is removed, sometimes it can malfunction causing the key to not be able to be turned.It can also get stuck in a certain position and sometimes if you jiggle the steering wheel and turn the key at the same time it will enable ...

Why won't my starter engage but spins? ›

If the starter motor spins but does not crank the engine, you likely have a problem with... Faulty or damaged battery. To address this issues, check the battery and charging system for problems.

What are 2 symptoms that would indicate a faulty starter solenoid? ›

Consider these possible signs of a failing or bad starter solenoid when you turn the key:
  • Nothing happens. ...
  • A single “click” sound comes from the engine compartment or from under the car. ...
  • Repeated “clicking” sounds usually indicate a dead battery.

Is it OK to drive with auto hold on? ›

With auto vehicle hold engaged, whenever you come to a complete stop, your Mazda will continue to hold its position until you step on the gas again. Of course, you can also use it for normal driving too.

Can you start a car with a mechanical key? ›

When you open the bottom of the fob allows you to access the mechanical key. You can unlock your car with the mechanical key, which will allow you to open your vehicle. Your keyfob is not essential to start your car, as automakers have designed the ignition button to work even if the keyfob fails.

Why is my car saying no key detected but I have the key? ›

A bad battery in the key fob is most commonly the reason for a failure to send signals to the keyless entry system. If it is available, use the spare key fob to open the vehicle and start the ignition. If the spare fob is not available, use the provided key embedded in the fob to unlock the door.

Can you start a car without battery in key fob? ›

If your battery dies in your key fob, you can still get in and start your car (if equipped).

Why won't my car start with my key fob? ›

If your remote starter isn't working, be sure that you're using the remote properly. If your remote starter system isn't working properly, try replacing the battery in your fob. You can find replacement key fob batteries at Batteries Plus. Most remote starter fobs run on 2032 lithium coin cell batteries.

What is lock button in Hyundai Kona? ›

Many AWD systems are not actually driving all four wheels at all times, but there are times where you really want your AWD system to drive all four wheels and to keep on doing it until you tell it to stop. So, in the Kona (and other machines like it), you click that button before tackling something deep or slippery.


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