My 2005 ford taurus with 80,000 miles on it has become hard to start. When we turn to key to the start position and activate the starter the engine turns over but the engine does not start or attempt to start. When we stop activiating the starter all of the gauges, (fuel tachometer, speed etc.) move to the right positon and click in unison. This will stop after ten to twenty seconds. The mpg meter located with odometer will reset to zero when this happens. Sometimes we can try to start the car four or five times and then it will start. Other times we can move the shifter to neutral and the car will start.
The problem might be with PRNDL (prindle) switch.
This switch tells the computer what gear the vehicle is in. And from that information, the computer then determines if and when the engine should start.
I’ve seen these prindle switches fail where they can cause the problem you describe, to where the entertainment system won’t work.
The part about the gauges is a classic (for recent Fords) symptom of a bad or low battery.