Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Random power loss

My 2005 Honda Accord randomly loses all power during city driving (25 MPH or less and sometimes while approaching a stop). The dashboard, radio, etc. go black, engine stops, and power steering and locks go out. The first couple times, it restarted immediately and drove fine. The past couple times, it did not restart right away. After waiting a bit and taking the key out of the ignition, we were able to turn on the interior lights, A/C, and radio, and then the car started fine. The car was involved in a frontal collision a few weeks prior to all of this starting. The driver’s headlight was damaged, and at least one fuse had to be replaced. We have taken it to the dealer several times. They ran diagnostic tests and drove it around, trying to duplicate the problem – without success. Any suggestions?

The place I’d start with random power loss like that is with the connections for the car’s main power cables - at the battery and alternator, and main power junction box with special attention to grounds. It is also possible for batteries to develop internal breaks that act up only intermittently. Either way I’d be looking at intermittent loss of main battery/alternator power first.

If you said something about the exact kinds of “diagnostic tests” the dealer has run it could help. You also don’t need to take this car to a dealer. What you get there is often a standardized “corporate” approach - plug in the computer and if the computer doesn’t “see” any problem then you can’t do anything. A regular local, independent mechanic might be a better bet for having an intelligent problem solver give it some actual attention.

Thanks so much for your suggestions! We’ll try taking it to one of our local independent repair shops.