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Keeping Blowing Fuse in Ford Focus

I have a 2000 Ford Focus, 80,000 miles. I keep blowing the fuse that is for the taillights and dashboard lights. My mechanic is baffled and I was told by my Ford Dealership that it will cost $135 for an electrical diagnosis. Has anyone heard of this problem, and what it might be? Thanks

You have a short somewhere. Check the wiring around the taillights for any damage. Take out the bulbs and look for issues inside the sockets. I’d probably replace the bulbs anyway, as they’re cheap.

Has any work been done to the dash? Including replacing the factory stereo with an aftermarket unit? If so, I’d include pulling the stereo out of the dash and checking behind it for pinched wires, a wire that used to be for lighting up the old radio dangling there, etc.

I had a beater car that had the same problem as yours. (wasn’t a Ford though) When I looked behind the radio I found a dangling ground strap that was intermittently touching both an improperly insulated lighting wire, and also contacting the heater fan speed switch, causing that fuse to blow randomly.

I suspect both suggestions might be correct. I never changed out the car radio, but sometimes it just shuts off, and you give it a good smack and it comes back on. As for the sockets for the taillights, about a year ago I burned out a tail light and I couldn’t get it out because it had melted in the socket. The problem now is that every mechanic I go to with this problem wants to do an expensive diagnostic, which could mean it could be a cheap fix of a shorted wire or they can come back and tell me it a huge problem with the electrical and could costs me tons of $$$$. I will do a check around for any frayed, dangling wires. But if it is the tail light socket, do I need to go the a dealership to deal with it?