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Q: Electrics died after warning light

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One night when I was driving home, the battery light lit up on the dashboard of my 2007 Ford Focus. I was close to home and thought I could make it there but when I was at a stop sign half a block away, all of the electronics died. I needed help getting the car into my driveway, which was very inconvenient. The car is just past 100,000 miles at this point, so I suppose the alternator lasted a decent amount of time. What can I do avoid having the same problem again in the future?

A: Your car's alternator is mounted on the...

Your car's alternator is mounted on the back side of your engine near the firewall and is prone to having oil leak on it from the engine valve cover. This can cause the alternator to fail prematurely. If your battery, battery cables, and terminals are not well maintained, they can also put a strain on and cause premature failure of the alternator. Besides replacing the bad alternator, the rest of the electrical components listed should also be inspected and repaired as needed. If you have aftermarket items such as a big stereo amplifier or radio that draws extra power, this could cause the alternator to put out higher amperage than would normally be required, leading to overheating and premature failure of the alternator.

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