Speculating about an electrical issue

Hi all,
I have a 2015 Explorer with about 113000 miles.

My wife messaged me this morning that when she ran to an appointment the automatic lights came on even though it was bright out and the wipers were going even though the switch was off.

When she came home, everything worked normally.

I’m just speculating, but wondering if this could be a sign of a dying battery. The battery is almost 3 years old. The original battery lasted about 3.5 years.

This morning when I was leaving for work, the Explorer was behind my car so I moved it quickly. It was on less than a minute. I wonder if in that time I drained it just enough without giving it time to recharge, causing the quirks.

When she went to the appointment, it was about 15 miles away, allowing it time to charge.

Would you start with the battery or look into something else?

Since your last battery lasted 3.5 years and your current one is 3 years old, logically that is a good suspect. Since auto parts places will test the battery for free, I’d suggest you have the battery tested first.

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I doubt it’s the battery. But it wouldn’t hurt to replace it proactively, just to see. Worst case, you have a new battery.

May just be a fluke.

Thanks, I’ll run out after work and get it checked.

Some models have an option to turn on the headlights when the wipers are on. If this is the case, there’s a possibility that the windshield wiper switch could be faulty. Another rare possibility would be a body control module. But a good battery is the first thing to check.


Ask your shop to do a battery/charging system test. Auto shops usually have special equipment for that purpose.

Since when does a bad battery cause things to come ON?

maybe you have a faulty multifunction switch being your wipers and high beam function from this switch. fords have had problems with them acting up.


Since cars are chock full of sophisticated electronics that can become erratic when supply voltage is not proper and steady.
OP should also have the alternator and charging system checked for DC and AC voltage.


A good reason why cars should not be chock full of sophisticated electronics that they don’t need.

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My wild guess might be leaning towards a faulty combination switch. Those multiple, tiny electrical contacts take a heck of a beating.
Never done one on a '15 Explorer but most of the ones I have done on Fords are easy to change.

This was the event that revealed the weakness of the battery, I think it needs to be replaced.

Thanks! I wanted to see if I could replicate it when I got home, and again this AM from a completely cold start and couldn’t get it to work. I’ll get it checked and look into the switch as well.

not a car, but when the paper towel dispenser batters here at work get low enough, it just starts shooting out all the paper towels until the towels are empty or the batteries are dead. Dumbest thing I’ve ever seen…

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