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If it is not the alternator OR battery...what next?

I was hoping everything was going to be smooth when planning to sell my 2005 Ford Focus ZX3 hatchback. I had it in for 120,000 mile maintenance and the battery was given a green light.

About one week later, it wouldn’t start and made a clicking noise. The 2nd service guy I called for a jump did an electrical test indicating the alternator wasn’t charging the battery.

So, I find a cheap alternator and pay a reputable shop to put it in. I thought I was good, but then the battery light came on. I continued to drive it this past Saturday, but eventually all the indicators, like the fuel guage, went out and I had it towed to a battery shop to have the battery replaced.

I drove it again locally, and the battery light came on again. It was still operable, but I noticed irregularities like the power steering seeming to fade on me.

Any ideas? I’m about out of patience. Thanks…

Usually the voltage regulator is part of the alternator. But if that is not true for your car, check that.

Otherwise, I’d suspect the wires between the alternator and the battery, or the wires from those to ground. There is also a possibility of a fuse blown.

I would assume your reputable shop checked all of that.

PS, totally discharging an auto battery damages it. Do that a few times and you will need another new battery. The light is there for a reason.

I’d guess your cheap alternator is faulty. Good parts are rarely the cheapest and cheap parts are rarely very good. Take it back to the shop that installed it and get ready to pay for an alternator and that installation a 2nd time.

The lesson you will learn is that shops that install a part YOU bring it don’t warranty the part at all.

Your vehicle uses the Powertrain Control Module to regulate voltage output from the alternator.

That might be the problem.


I had a problem with my car, the battery went dead for no reason it seemed and happened again and again and they ended up finding out the license plate lights shorted out and had to be replaced. They were expensive too, over a 100 to replace them. Well, one was bad but they replaced both. Solved the problem!! Yay!! Said it was something weird particular to this car.

Also, my car has 170k miles on it, runs great (knock on wood) and I get 38.2 highway mpg!! i use non-ethanol gas and get great mileage and it runs great too!!! highly recommended!! :slight_smile:

Glad you enjoy your Ford Focus @carolsmith218 . $100 to repair the license plate lights doesn’t seem out of line. 1/2 hour labor would come to $50, plus the parts cost. I had a problem with the license plate lights on my Corolla a few months ago, in that case a broken wire, took me probably 3/4 of an hour to properly fix. I should mention however that I own the Car Talk record of taking the longest time ever to rebuild a carburetor … lol …

THAT is the problem with reviving an old discussion

Now a person other than OP has revived a discussion

And one of us has responded, saying “glad they like their Focus” . . . because that’s what OP is driving

Yet this new person didn’t even say what car they drive, could be a 1986 Hyundai Excel, for all we know. That was just an example, and an extreme one. I’ll bet there are no 1986 Hyundai Excels that are still being driven

It doesn’t bother me if someone posts on an older thread. It’s a discussion forum after all. Ideally maybe yes a new thread would be started for each new topic, but this just a place to have a chat, exchange some ideas, things you’ve discovered from your own car repair experiences, not rocket science. If I’m talking to someone in a coffee shop, and somebody new sits down and changes the subject, I don’t complain about that. Just go with the new subject.

You’re the one who said you’re glad this “new OP” like their Ford Focus

Meanwhile, they may be thinking “WTH . . . I drive a Hyundai. Why is George congratulating me on my Ford Focus”

I’m just pointing out what could happen

Carolsmith218 has just bragged on a thread about a vehicle without naming the thing. That does absolutely nothing to help or add to this old thread.

If that’s the case, Carol is of course welcome to clarify. That’s what happens during a discussion.

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