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2001 Ford Taurus electrial system problems

Car has been having a myriad of problems that seem to be related to the electrical system. First warning sign that something was wrong was the car wouldn’t start up immediately after turning the car off. We had to wait between 5 and 20 minutes before the car would start up again. It was also revving up briefly at idle. Brought it into the mechanic, they replaced the power steering pump. We told them about the issues with turning the car on, they said they didn’t see anything.

Car worked fine for a couple of weeks, then when we were driving a longer distance (more than an hour drive) the tire pressure alert light went on. We were close to our destination, so we drove and parked, and the tire pressure was a little low. We were asked to move the car to a different spot in this lot, and it wouldn’t turn on. When we came back to the car (this was after flying out of down for four days) the car started up fine, and we filled the tires with air.

Next time we went on a longer drive, the tire pressure alert light went on again, but we checked the pressure and the tires were fine. This light turning on issue has continued, without seeming to be related to the tires actually losing pressure at all.

A couple of other problems that may be related. One, the car completely stalled out once at an intersection, and the battery warning light went on. I turned the car off, waited 60 seconds, then turned it on again and drove home just fine. Also, the right turn signal is flashing at double speed on the dashboard, but there aren’t any issues with the headlights or taillights themselves that would cause the light to flash at double speed. The left turn signal and the light on the dash flash normally.

I’m worried that this may be indicative of a larger problem in the electrical system, and since the mechanic told us the first time that they didn’t see any issues I wanted to get a second opinion before I brought the car in again. I also don’t really have a lot of money to spend, so I need to know if this is a critical issue or just something I can ignore until I get a new car early next year.


You appear to have several completely unrelated problems.

What happens when you try to unsuccessfully start the car? Does the starter engage?

The TPMS system problem may be related to a bad sensor. A shop with the proper equipment can diagnose this. However, you can ignore this one as long as you monitor your tire pressures.

You have a burnt-out turn signal bulb on the right side.

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When the engine fails to start…are there any sounds when you turn the key to engage the starter. Do you hear the engine turning over, but it won’t fire and start???
When you turn the key to the “Run” position do all the warning lights come on for a second or two.

The one thing you can do yourself if you are handy is to remove the battery cables…one at a time and clean the terminals and the battery posts. Many times intermittent starting problems are caused by the battery terminals or the battery posts not making good contact. The corrosion may not be evident, but it’s there.

As @NYBo advised the double flashing is an indicator that a directional bulb is burnt out.


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The bulb isn’t burnt out we checked that several times. All the warning lights do come on for a second when you turn the key and the car won’t start.

I’ll repeat the question!!!

We need to know these things to help you.


The engine does not sound like it’s turning over when you turn the key.

There is a safety switch used in the starter circuit and the switch contacts can get out of adjustment or dirty. Try moving the shifter around in the PARK position to see if that helps or try starting the car in the NEUTRAL position.

I think we have a little confusion over the terminology used to describe a car starting. It is common and I mean no disrespect, but lets make sure we are both on the right track here.

When you turn the key to the START position which of these pertain to your situation

  1. you just hear a click or clicking from under the hood (no engine or stasrter motor sounds)
  2. you hear the starter motor just spin but it does not engage the engine (sounding more like a blender)
  3. you hear the urrr, urrr, urrr, of the engine turning over but the engine fails to start and run

If #1 the battery is dead or it’s connections are are not clean and tight
If #2 the starter motor needs to be replaced.
If #3 there is a problem with the primary ignition or fuel delivery.

I will stick with my first post reply, that the battery connections are dirty or corroded.

Battery connections are the first place to begin when you have a “No Crank” situation. Even
if you have a new battery, if the connections are loose, dirty or corroded, you will not be
allowing the full flow of current to pass thru the connections. The connection may be
enough to turn on the lights, but not enough for the huge flow that is needed to operate the
starter. This is where many people say that they know the battery is good….”because the
lights come on”. This is no more a battery test than licking a 9volt battery. It only tells you that there is electricity…not how many volts or the amperage that flows from the battery.
Jump starting may have wiggled the terminal just enough to allow the current to pass and start the engine, but tomorrow you have the same problem.

First remove the cables from the battery and use a wire brush to remove any corrosion and dirt from the battery posts and the cable terminals. There is a tool with a round wire brush for this purpose, found at any auto parts store for less than $10
Before connecting the cables, apply a coating of di-electric grease to the battery posts this will keep oxygen away from the connection so that it will not corrode as fast.

It is just as important that the other end of the cables also have a clean connection. Remove the positive cable from the battery again so that you do not short anything out. Follow both cables to their far ends, remove this connection and wire brush the connection and the cable terminal clean and retighten these connections.

If there was work done recently, there may have been an “engine to body” ground that was not installed following the work. These grounds normally run from the rear of the engine to the firewall and are uninsulated and most are a braided wire. If any of these are found unattached…reattach them.
Remember….this is not a “Sherman Tank” don’t over tighten the connections.
Tight…tight………………too tight…broke!!!


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