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Car loses power while driving

While driving my vehicle home early this morning, my 1996 Ford Contour (4 cyl., 131560 miles) started to loose energy in the headlights very slowly and eventually the airbag, battery, check oil, speedometer, and finally the check engine lights came on within seconds of each other. After this power functions started to fail slowly as well- accelerator, power steering, and even the brakes were hard to use and navigate- eventually making me stop on the side of the road. If I waited for a good 10-15 minutes the car starts up fine, with electricity and power functions, but eventually fails again.

I had to do this 4 times to get home (I live in rural Maine). It seems like there needed to be power built up somehow for it to continue.

I didn’t see any issues under the hood like the drive belt or battery. I did buy a new battery a couple days before when it died from 6 years of service. I’m thinking alternator…any thoughts?

Have the battery and charging system tested. Also have the cable connections checked and, if necessary, cleaned.

It seems like it’s charging fine (started several times and ran to get home). When the engine heats up it sounds like it’s shorting on something. Not sure what could cause a heat dependent short in that car. Of course, checking the battery and charging system isn’t a bad idea either. :slight_smile:

i’ll try that. thanks!

it does seem to short out or overheat, but it’s odd how all systems fail…