Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Total electric failure - 2003 Plymouth Aztec

asked by on

My daughter has a 2003 Plymouth Aztec. About two weeks ago it began sputtering and shutting down at stop lights. She could get it started again, but with much effort. Each time this occurred, there would be a "funny smell." That problem seemed to rectify itself, but last week she drove home from the store, and turned off the engine. 15 minutes later her husband went out to use the car, and all the electrical began flashing; then nothing. The key fob will not work. The Aztec is completely dead. She did tell me that they had to "jimmy rig" a used battery to get it to fit a while ago. She said they tested the battery, and everything else electric, but can find nothing wrong. After reading your article on battery cables, I wonder if, when they were "jimmy rigging" they could have damaged a part of the cables somehow. What is your opinion on this problem? Thank you. Elaine
My car has an automatic transmission.

A: The issue could be the battery. If it was c...

The issue could be the battery. If it was connected wrong it may have worn it down and caused it to fail prematurely. If it was used, then there is even more reason to suspect that is the issue. Have it tested again, or try starting it with a new battery.

Make sure the battery cables are in good condition. If they were what was "jimmy rigged" you should have those replaced right away. Without seeing the car and seeing what the "jimmy rigging" consisted of, its impossible to tell. Anytime repairs are made like that they can potentially cause issues. There is definitely a right way and a wrong way to make some repairs.

You should also have the car scanned for diagnostic troubleshooting codes. It may help you figure out what the problem is. However, this is best done when the car is running and you may need it to start to test it. With the key fob not working, that is just one more finger pointing at the battery. Have the battery and cables tested.

If you’re unable to pinpoint the issue yourselves, consider enlisting one of our mobile technicians who can come the car’s location and diagnose the issue with the battery for an accurate repair.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

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

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Stalling at stop lights

Hello there, a few different faults could be causing your 2000 Plymouth Breeze to stall. The most common would be the fuel pump, MAP sensor, fuel filter, battery, alternator, battery cable, or a wiring fault. To have all these items...

Q: Nav and radio cutting out

I explain symptoms that seem to come out of nowhere with a metaphor about a light bulb. We use light bulbs for years and then suddenly, it burns out. Why did it happen when it did is hard to know...

Q: Transmission only has 1st gear

Hello. P0732 is the trouble code for an abnormal gear 2 shift ratio. If the vehicle's transmission computer detects that there is an issue with the gear ratio and timing of second gear, it will set off this code to...

Related articles

P0240 OBD-II Trouble Code: Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance
P0240 code definition Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance What the P0240 code means P0240 is an OBD-II generic code triggered when the Engine Control Module (ECM) detects the intake boost...
How to Avoid Back Pain in a Car
If you have back problems, sitting in a car for an extended period of time can be excruciating. Even without back problems, you could experience discomfort and soreness from...
How Much Does a Mechanic Make in Vermont?
Automotive technician jobs in Vermont have an average mechanic salary of $37k, with some mechanics earning a salary of $53k.