1999 Mercury Sable - Dying while sitting in traffic

When sitting in traffic the idle decreases normally, the lights dim somewhat, the blowers slow a bit, the digital clock will begin to “quiver or flicker” and the car will shut off. It will start right back up. I have a new battery and have a reconditioned alternator (about 2 years ago.) I have had to the mechanic shop and they tell me it is not the alternator. Had an electronic ignition added in 2010 (obviously not factory with the original car) to the car and had that turned off a couple of weeks ago, which seemed to give it new life. Then it turned really cold again and have noticed the flickering and the feeling that the car wants to die when sitting in traffic. Any ideas what could be wrong with the car? One time when the car died it set the clock back to 12:00.

Sounds like a definite electrical problem. Have the battery and alternator checked again, and check the wiring to the battery for corrosion.

But it could be a poor ground connection somewhere else, perhaps to the instrument panel.

Removing the electronic ignition decreased the load on the battery, which is why it helped with the problem.


We had a Sable and it did the same thing. Only mine would just die. It was a long time ago so I don’t remember exactly I think it had something to do one part that was in the distributor that needed replacing. People here who know more than might make some sense out of it but I just can’t remember the details. I remember it was hard to find the problem. I think we just replaced the distributor.