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Battery concerns?

My 2000 Explorer wouldn’t start yesterday. My power pack would not start the vehicle. It has twice in the recent past. I had to go to my next door neighbor to get a jump so I could go to the grocery store. Today I drove it-it started right away-to Auto-zone. They were busy at the time so I ran to Target and GNC. Left the vehicle running when I was in the stores. Went back to Auto-Zone and they tested the battery. It was good. It is only 7 months old, bought and installed by Triple-A. Can anyone shed some light on this issue? Why did it not start yesterday but did today/

Did the dash lights light up?


20 year old battery cables can corrode internally, or at the connections. It could also be a worn ignition switch or neutral safety switch, maybe the starter. Did they test the alternator? That’s worth a look, too.

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Today’s battery cable ends aren’t much more than hose clamps and no one seems to ever have/use the brushes needed to clean the corrosion from the connections plus often the clamp ring is half broken and the ring connectors that get power to all the operating circuits are usually corroded also. I gave up on the ring clamps myself on top post batteries and use the old school lead cable ends, hooking the ring connectors onto the cable clamp bolts after getting everything clean. It might be worth the time to do that even if for now it isn’t the cause of the problem.

Not sure but will pay attention the next time. Why is this significant?

If the dash lights come on, but there’s no sound when the key is turned to start the engine, it could indicate a problem with the park/neutral safety switch.


No they did not test the alternator. Will have it checked, next time. If there is a next time.

K. Thanks for your time and advice. Will give an update when the problem is ferreted out.

Will look into getting the proper tools to clean the battery posts.

Had the battery, altenator and starter checked at Auto-zone yesterday. All 3 passed. So coming frm an auto illiterate I’m thinking there may be a bad connection or non-functioning wire somewhere. Is my hypothesis correct? If not, feel free to post alternatives. And if it is a wire problem how is this found out? Sprayed some WD-40 on the posts today and scrubbed it with a wire brush. Didn’t take the connections off as I don’t have the tools. Advice?

when you cleaned the posts, did you happen to check and see if they are loose? were the posts gross looking before? green or white and full of crud?

When it doesn’t start next time, shift the transmission into neutral and then try starting the engine.

If the engine starts, it points to a problem with the park/neutral safety switch.



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Did not check to see if they were loose but they looked to be on quite tight. A little green but only a little. Just tried starting the vehicle and forgot I left it in Reverse or Drive. After it dawned on me I put it n neutral and it started immediately. Since my jump last Thursday from my neighbor, I haven’t had any problems with it starting.

I typically leave it in neutral as the shifting assembly will not allow it to go into Park.

Or the park/neutral safety switch won’t allow the transmission to be shifted into park.



DING DING DING! I think we have a winner! The car won’t start if it isn’t in park or neutral. Get that issue fixed, and you likely won’t have starting issues anymore.

(and please don’t swear here- this is a family friendly forum.) :smiley:

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And stop at AZ, Ace, or where ever and pick up some rudimentary tools. Metric and SAE socket set, screw drivers, combination wrenches, and maybe a set of wire brushes. Even Harbor Freight if nothing else. A guy should at least have tools to take a battery connection off. Also read warnings about disconnecting the battery without a memory saver, so maybe pick one of those up while you are at it.

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Would the park/neutral safety switch prevent the shifter arm from getting into Park?

This does not come into play with m as I only use the vehicle for grocery shopping once a week and to the bank once a month for rent. I’m disabled(MS). So money is at a premium because of this. It is the reason i don’t have the tools but do have WD-40, which I sprayed down the connectors.

So you believe it’s a Park/Neutral safety switch issue. Would this prevent the shifting arm from moving into Park? It used to go into Park but was always difficult getting it out. So to avoid headaches and potentially breaking the arm, I would just leave it in neutral.

I believe that you have a known issue with the parking/shifting ability of this transmission, and I also know that if the vehicle can’t tell what gear the car is it- it will not allow the starter to engage. Fix the known issue, and I your other issue may take care of itself.

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