Wolves put their play-off rivals to the sword in a game marred by serious crowd trouble at half-time.
The home side dominated from the start, Jeremie Aliadiere surging forward and cutting back across the six-yard box for Denes Rosa to side-foot home.
Cardiff fans clashed with police during the interval, delaying the second half by nearly 15 minutes.
Then on 52 minutes Darren Purse brought down Tomasz Frankowski and Kenny Miller fired home from the spot.
The victory lifted Wanderers back into the top six, at the expense of Preston, and made it seven matches unbeaten for Glenn Hoddle's men.
It was an unhappy return for Cardiff boss Jones, who received a warm reception on returning to Molineux for the first time since his dismissal from the club in November 2004.
Wolves manager Glenn Hoddle:
"The crowd was right behind us from the first minute, they lifted us and we lifted them and I feel that was one of our best performances this season.
"We've always had the belief that we could make the top six and there is a nice feeling in the dressing room.
"I've always said that the Championship is like the Grand National. There's 46 games so what happens over the first few fences or mile is immaterial in many ways.
"The season starts now for every club and I think the result and performance has come around at just the right time for us."
Cardiff manager Dave Jones:
"No complaints, we were second best against a good side who pass well and had the crowd behind them.
"You always want to do better and I feel there are individuals who could have done better in this game.
"We're still only three points off the play-offs with eight games to go, that's way ahead of any expectations for this season.
"Now we have to crank it up, it's time to see if the players here have got enough, if they're up to it."
Wolverhampton: Postma, Edwards, Lescott, Gyepes, Naylor, Ricketts, Ince, Rosa (Davies 66), Frankowski, Aliadiere, Miller.
Subs Not Used: Oakes, Ross, Seol, Cort.
Goals: Rosa 15, Miller 54 pen.
Cardiff: Alexander, Ardley (Weston 77), Purse, Cox, Barker, Koumas, Scimeca, Whitley (Cooper 62), Ledley, Thompson (Ndumbu-Nsungu 86), Jerome.
Subs Not Used: Margetson, Loovens. Booked: Koumas, Cox, Purse.
Ref: G Salisbury (Lancashire).