Q: Electrical problems, now car won't start.

asked by on December 17, 2015

The battery light stays illuminated. While driving the airbag light came on, the speedometer stopped working, the turn signals quit working, and the engine and other electrical components started to cut in and out. Made it home and the car won't start at all. Had no problem with the car prior to this happening.

Alternator Replacement $149.30 - $1193.90 Get a Quote
Battery is dead Inspection $79.99 - $89.99 Get a Quote

Consider yourself lucky that you made it home! Most stories like this end on the back of a tow truck, after a few hours waiting on the side of the road. Now, the good news is the symptoms you describe are textbook signs of a failed alternator. When an alternator fails, the car’s battery is left to handle all the electrical loads, which quickly depletes available energy. First, non-essential systems shutdown (airbag, air conditioning, etc) and eventually, there isn’t enough power left to keep the engine running. It may be a good idea to contact a technician who can verify the alternator has failed, replace it as necessary, and test the battery to make sure it will be able to be recharged. This way, you aren’t stuck again the next time you shut the car off. In the span of a couple of hours, your Sable should be back to normal again.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

What others are asking

Car shakes, lights dim, won't accelerate

Shaking or vibrating may be caused by many different things such as faulty spark plugs, poor fuel pressure or misfires. Other things such as a faulty idle air control valve may cause the engine idle to drop below the normal...

Car will crank but won't start - 2006 Ford Taurus

Since you did all this work then you should be able to check the fuel pressure and engine for spark getting to the spark plugs. If you have spark and fuel pressure, then you will need to check the fuel...

Code p0421

Are there other codes set? This code, by itself, P0421 indicates that the engine management system detected the catalytic converter is performing below expected standards. This means the engine is sending contaminants (unburned fuel, oil fumes, etc.) down the exhaust,...

The serpentine belt is not lining up.

The pulleys may not be lined up in the same plane. Look at the harmonic balancer and crank pulley in particular. The rubber bond in the balancer may have failed thus causing misalignment of the pulleys relative to the other...

Vehicle shifts down when traveling 55mph+ when gas is not being pushed

Shift points are controlled by vehicle sensors such as the vehicle speed sensor and throttle position sensor. In addition there are shift solenoids in the transmission valve body and, in the scenario you are presenting, torque converter lock up controls....

Car check engine light flashing and vibrating a little, shortly after filling up gas tank

First the Check Engine Light should be addressed to see what code is stored. The code should be diagnosed as needed. The most common reason for the light flashing is a misfire in the engine. The misfire after getting...

How long for an AC compressor repair?

Hey there. The replacement would take the average technician about 2 hours of labor to perform this task after evacuating the system of refrigerant to make sure it is not released into the atmosphere. If you do not have the...

2001 Saturn L300 turns over won't start it just stalled out and won't start

Hello, thank you for writing in. When it comes to a stalling issues, you want to turn your attention to the spark and power supply first. It is good you have partially ruled out the fuel supply as the problem....

My car squeals like death when I brake but only shortly after starting it, why is that?

Brake squeal is actually a high frequency vibration. The best way to reduce it is to disassemble whichever brakes - front, rear, or all 4 wheels - that is causing the squeal. A light sanding of the pads/rotors or shoes/drums...

Related articles

What to Do If Your Car Switches Get Wet
Your car switches are electrical components. They operate internal and external vehicle functions that require low currents in some cases...
How a Battery Works With a Car's Electrical System
Have Have you ever wondered how your car’s electrical system works? It all starts with your car battery. Your car's electrical system operates on a closed circuit, with the main power system being the automotive battery. It uses less than...
How to Make Car Switches Last Longer
Every Every feature in your car is controlled by a switch or button. Most are actively controlled, such as the power windows and power door locks, by means of pressing a button. Systems that are actively controlled include: The...