2003 Ford Focus ZX5 manual, 65,000 miles. The low fuel warning light glows and flickers all the time even when ignition is off and there is plenty of fuel in the tank. The check engine light also glows continuously at a very low level. The Ford dealer will be happy for me to pay a mechanic $90/hr for as long as it takes him to debug it with no guarantee he’ll be able to fix it. This makes me nervous.
Really sounds like a bad ground for the instrument panel. I don’t know where it is physically, but the dealer certainly does.
don’t you know of any local independent mechanics who have good recommendations?
i would take it to an independent first. ask your friends, or co workers for recommendations where to take it.
i would also suggest that the back of the instrument cluster may have come loose, so the nearby lights may be shining in to these ‘dim’ partly lit lights. when you start the car, or turn the key ON, but don’t start it do all the regular warning lights and buzzers come on? are they as bright as before? does your car actually have a low fuel warning? (all the dash units have the space for it, but it is usually an option, not necessarily on every vehicle.)
Yes, all the warning lights light at normal brightness when the key is in the on position. I have the low fuel warning circuit.
Short circuit possible too. If you’re lucky, you might find it by looking at the wiring under the dash and finding two of them melted together. Happened to me once but there is no guaranty you’ll find the same thing.
I would start with a general test of the electrical charging system, alternator and battery. On second thought, Is there an automotive electrical shop in your area. If there is start with that.
actually i forgot the name, but beads and beads has the right business to look for: an auto electric shop. look for one specializing in alternators, charging systems, and the electrical end of repairs. these shops specialize in just this sort of problem, and are genious at figuring this out. although an electric shop usually has higher labor rates than a regular mechanic what they’re doing they are usually quicker, and because they use less guess work, they get 'r done quicker.