Q: Battery light on, don't have power steering in D but have in R, AC not cold, white smoke ? other day smelled sweet.

asked by on January 11, 2018

The other day when it was -15F I started my car, started to back out of spot, and it died in R. Figured it was battery from cold, so put in N and pushed back in. Next day tried to start, struggled to start but did, then white sweet smelling smoke came out of hood and battery light came on. Turned off. Started again 10min later, no smoke, no light - needed to move car 40ft so backed out, all fine, then put in D and lost power steering. Put back in R, had power steer again. Put in my driveway. Turned on a few times over past week just to see if it started, smoked, light came on, etc. and everything looked good.

Added more antifreeze this morning (now 50F outside) because it was a little low (but not much), started car, and again fine - no light, no smoke. Backed down driveway to test steering, had it in R, put in D and lost power steering then battery light came on. Pulled back into driveway and left it. Wrote this question.

Also, my AC hasn't been cold for about 3 years

My car has 109000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

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You may have a coolant leak. That can be determined if you request a coolant leak diagnostic. There was a recall for quite a few Ford vehicles, including your model, to rectify a fault with the electric power steering system. Using your specific VIN number you should determine if your vehicle was covered under that Ford safety recall. The illumination of the battery warning light may have some relation to the steering failure inasmuch as the steering system is electrically powered. I would suggest that you first confirm the condition of the battery by having the battery load tested. Once the battery is confirmed, or replaced if required by the test results, the charging system output should be tested. Alternator problems can cause the battery to be discharged. If you have further questions or concerns, do not hesitate to re-contact YourMechanic as we are always here to help you.

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