Q: Total electric failure - 2003 Plymouth Aztec

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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.

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.

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