My '04 Mustang died abruptly and I’m trying to figure out what happened. Any advice would be much appreciated!
I’ve owned the car for a little over a month and it’s been running just fine – starts right up, no issues that I have noticed. I’ve taken it into the shop twice for maintenance and it’s been given a glowing bill of health.
The morning the car died, I had driven to the supermarket and back with no problems at all. Parked, ran into the house, came back, started up the car – nothing. Totally dead. No dash lights, no crank. Power locks/windows inoperable. Could not unlock or lock the car with the key fob.
Tried jump starting. First attempt, used the kind of cables that hook up between the cigarette lighter ports of the two cars. With the cars connected, when I turned the key to the ACC position the dash/interior lights came on, and when I tried to start there was a rapid ack-ack-ack-ack sound which I am guessing is the starter. Waited a few minutes and tried again – this time when I turned the key on everything just went completely dead.
I tried again, this time with regular battery-to-battery jumper cables. The first time I started up, the dash/interior lights came on with the key in the ACC position, but when I tried to start, there was just a brief sound like a cough, then everything died.
Tried to start again – this time, no response at all.
Thinking the battery was dead, I went and bought a brand new battery and swapped it out. Started up - nothing.
Attached jumper cables again, and the same thing happened as the first jump attempt above.
Hours later, I tried starting the car again to see what would happen, and again, the dash/interior lights came on, but when I turn the key, the same coughing sound and then everything goes dead. Repeating the process – no response at all.
I’m unfamiliar with how automobile electrical systems work, so I’m not sure what part (or parts) is at fault here. I’ve been told that the alternator is not a likely culprit, since the car should have started up with the jump. The advice I’ve received to date has mostly pointed to a connection problem from the battery – probably corroded cable connectors.
I checked the positive/negative cables, and they do look corroded. It looks like some maintenance has been done previously on the cables, since the negative connector is different and newer than the positive. On the negative cable, the insulation stops about a half inch before the connector, and the bare wiring is covered with white residue.
My question is, are the symptoms I’m experiencing consistent with a corroded ground or positive battery cable? Is it a common thing for a corroded cable to just abruptly lose connection like that? It is true that I had handled the negative cable a couple of times in the past few weeks, disconnecting it in order to install first an aftermarket stereo receiver, and later on a fuel filter, so I can see how that could have exacerbated whatever’s happening with the cable.
If the problem is the cables, would it be expected that the car would go completely dead and then, later on, appear to have enough power to bring back the interior lights (but not enough to start the car)?
Alternatively, is there a more likely culprit here than the cables, like the starter/solenoid? If so, why?
Sorry for the long post…this is making me pretty anxious as I’m dreading an expensive repair. Any help would be much appreciated!