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Ford Taurus battery or alternator or something else wrong

i have a 1997 ford taurus and recently i have been having a hard time starting. I took it to the mechanic and he told me that he thought it was the humidity… i really didn’t buy this. Anyway he had the car for 2 days and had no problem starting it. I ended up being stranded …had to call AAA…they gave me a jump and the service person told me that a cell in the battery was dead, and the thought the alternator was malfunctioning. I brougth the car back to my mechanic, he changed the battery and said that was all that was needed. I am still having the same issue and now i’ve noticed that the steering wheel gets hot. Any suggestion?

Does your drive belt chirp? Hear crickets? That can cause an almost invisible battery drain with a totally functional alternator. If the tensioner is shot, the belt will slip due to the magnetic drag the alternator produces in generating current. It can produce just enough current to keep the BAT light out, all the while draining it.

The mechanic should be able to load the system with headlights and AC or whatever and see if the alternator is maintaining somewhere around 14.x VDC. If it’s not, then there’s a charging problem.

I don’t even want to touch the hot steering wheel issue. Ford has insisted on making this one of their numerous Achilles heels with undue complexity. You could have a short there that’s draining the battery 24/7.

thanks for the reply -
my mechanic did test with everything on and it was at 14
no chirp or other noises
my solution was just to shot it and get a new car

It could be that the electrical part of the ignition switch is failing. This should not be allowed to continue if that’s the case as it is a fire hazard.

I think (not 100% sure without looking at a wiring schematic) that the 97 Taurus also has a cabin blower motor that pulls its electrical current (amount of electricity basically) directly through the switch. This means that over time a blower motor dragging due to wear will use much more current. This extra additional current draw is pulled through the switch.

Over the short term, not a problem. Over the long term it can be. The switches are plastic and once removed one can often see where the plastic is melting or may even have a hole in it.
So what I’m saying here is that in addition to a possible igniton switch faulty the car may have a blower motor fault also. Checking the current draw on the blower motor is a step that should not be overlooked if the switch is changed.

thank you!