I drive a 2000 Ford Focus with a manual transmission. A few days ago, it started acting up. When I got home from work, I was sitting in my car listening to the radio when then car just died. I started it again and after a few seconds, it died again.

The car starts right up everyday, but within the first tenth of a mile, the battery light comes on. Then, the RPMs seem to stay high and “lag” for a few seconds, before coming back down to normal.

Usually, when I get up above 10 mph or so, the battery light goes off, but the RPM’s remain high for a few extra seconds after I shift into each gear. Then when I come to stop, the batter light comes back on and the RPMs drop down very low to about 600 to 900. It has not stalled out on me since the first day it happened.

Is this just a battery issue or something bigger?

You need to take the vehicle in so that the battery and charging system can be tested. You don’t want to damage the charging system because of a bad battery.


When the battery on my 2000 Blazer was discharged to ~12.1 volts (~25% charge), it started having driveability issues. The idle was about 150 rpm higher and the torque converter lockup wouldn’t engage. After charging the battery to 12.6 volts (100% charge) the truck was fine. I use a battery charger to charge a battery, rather than depending on the alternator to recharge a dead battery.

A bad battery (i.e. dead cell) will damage an alternator, so get the battery and charging system tested as soon as possible.

Ed B.