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Q: After jump-starting, warning lights came on

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Our car would not start and after jump-starting it the following happened: the ABS and ESP warning messages appeared on the dash, the cruise control stopped working, and also the power steering quit. The car was running fine, despite the extra difficulty to turn the steering wheel. Then yesterday, it wouldn’t start. The battery seemed to be working and the lights came on. After doing some studying and research, we thought the problem might be the brake light switch, so we replaced it, but that didn’t help it to start and the ABS & ESP Inoperative lights are still on when we tried to turn the car on. We also read that it might be the Crankshaft Position Sensor. Is it possible that we incorrectly jump-started it and can you give us advice on what we should do next to fix this. Thank you.

A: If you are having random electrical problem...

If you are having random electrical problems that don’t seem to be related to the car not starting, it is likely that you have an alternator failure with your Mercedes E500. When an alternator fails, it can cause all sorts of electrical malfunctions and often lead the driver of the vehicle to believe that the vehicle is totally fried.

Most of the time, if multiple lights are popping up on your dash and you are having trouble getting your car started, the alternator is the cause. I would recommend having the starting issue tested by a qualified technician to determine whether or not the alternator will require replacement, or if another repair is needed.

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