Can anybody shed some light on my car problem?



I have a 1997 Ford Escort that has died many…many times in the past two years. We took it to one shop and they told us it was the battery, even though at the time we had already put 4 batteries in this one was a brand new Sears DieHard Gold. They then told us it was the alternator which, was also around the 3rd alternator we had put it. Nevertheless, we had them install a brand new one. It ran fine for 6 months. I was driving home from the store with my daughter and it died again. I would not care if this were not my only way to get her to and from school and me to work. Help?


This could be a fuel or ignition problem. What happens when the engine dies? Any warning lights in advance? Is the Check Engine light on? More info, please.


Need a lot more information!!!

What do you mean it dies??

Will the car turn over??

Are the lights working??

What actually happens when it dies??

I suggest you find another mechanic. After 4 batteries and 3 alternators you’d think they’d have a clue by now.


first it starts to jutt back and forth, then the gauges go crazy, all the doors lock…and then it’s dead. last time, my landlord jumped it, and while he was talking to me it died. he jumped it again and my daughter tried to roll up her window and it died for good.


basically while I’m driving it, it just dies. Yes, the service engine light has been on for months. We replaced the first 4 batteries and three alternators only to have the shop tell us that was the problem. No matter how much you insist that’s not the problem, they don’t listen. So, we then had another brand new battery in addition to a brand spankin’ new Motorcratft alternator. Only for them to tell us to take it to a dealership who then told us they thought it was the CD player & radio. They disconnected the CD player. I’m assuming they didn’t disconnect the radio because the clock still works.


Yes, the service engine light has been on for months.

That CEL (check engine light) is just a kid in class waving her hand trying to get you attention because she has the answer. You need to have the codes read. Some places will read them for FREE. Try Autozone or Advanced Auto Parts. Get the exact code not just their translation into English and post it back here.


Just to add a little bit. Turnover means the battery is powering the starter and it is turning the engine over. It does not mean the engine is doing it by itself without the starter.

In any case the term is so misunderstood, it is best to be specific and not use that term at all.

Tell us exactly what happens (include noises and what you are doing when you try to start the car and it fails to start.




When it does the jutting thing it means try to get home without breaking, then it most certainly will die- or if I have to turn. Also, since we have had this issue it has never run on the alternator alone as it should if you disconnect the batt cables.


Never disconnect the battery while the engine is running unless necessary to shut down everything in an emergency. Expensive damage can be caused in opening the circuit.

Find a good mechanic. This should have been solved and corrected long ago. Your unfamiliarity with the problem and automobiles makes it difficult to know the important details to include in you effort/post to get help.


We are not in the habit of disconnecting the battery in this manner. I cannot remember how we came to do this but, nevertheless, it is something that we stumbled upon, not something we would normally do, as your comment suggested. The code I posted was P1443, what does this mean? Anything else you might suggest would be appreciated. Thank you.


Someone is doing some wild guessing if they are replacing batteries and alternators en masse.

The code 1443 is related to the evaporative emissions but this is not your problem at the moment.

There are several things it could be. Here are the 2 most likely IMHO.
One is if the problem is electrically related there may be a failed fusible link between the alternator and battery. If this link is blown the battery will not be charged.
Also, the little red BATT light on the dash MUST illuminate when the key is turned to the RUN position. If the bulb is burnt out the alt. will not charge.

The second thing would be a failing fuel pump and this is what I suspect if the vehicle sputters a bit before quitting.
How long, if ever, has it been since the fuel filter was changed?


You could have anything from a bad battery cable to a bad ground or a dead computer. Also, a 97 escort is a highly replaceable car. It was priced that way when new.A non-running car is a dangerous one. If it is the engine computer, a new one might be the cheap fix. A used one is even cheaper. If it runs good after reconnecting the battery, it may be because the computer is being rebooted. A computer is shot if this really is the case.