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What is causing my car to do that?!

No Radio. No Turn Signals. No Lights. No Power Windows. But my car started right up. The ABS light came on (and stayed on, interestingly enough). The portable cell phone charger that was plugged into the cigarette lighter socket worked.

I swung by the garage and they tested the battery and alternator and those were fine. Thought perhaps maybe it was a fuse, but here’s the catch. When the car was shut off and turned back on, everything worked again. Mechanic stated it couldn’t have been a fuse because once they go, they go. They don’t repair themselves. Mechanic has no clue what the cause could be. Can someone help me? I’ve got a road trip this weekend and I’m hesitant to go now because of the car’s behavior! (this is a 1993 Ford Explorer by the way)

One cause could be the ignition switch which could have been in a between position. The other causes could ba equally minor. Fuses can be corroded at the ends as well as inside and that one should be replaced anyway. If it happens again, tighten the dashboard ground(s) and change the ignition switch.

Here’s what Auto Zone shows for an ignition switch:,2417761/vehicleId,1900701/initialAction,partProductDetail/store,1140/partType,00189/shopping/partProductDetail.htm

Take your trip in a rented car. Your car is 16 years old. Even if this problem doesn’t occur again, rent a car for your road trip. There are some pretty good unlimited mileage deals where you only pay a per-day flat rate.

Sorry I can’t be more help.

A friend of mine had a Taurus of that vintage and when it got older it had intermittant dash light and gage problems. We attributed it to an intermittant connection, but never tore the dash apart to find out for sure.

Relays can complicate the symptoms. There are relays that allow lights to light when the relay is DEenergized. In short, the circuit that travels through the contacts to the bulb is not the same as the circuit that energuzes the relay coil, so if the circuit to the relay coil is open due to a defect the lamp will light.

Without actually looking at a schematic it’s tough to guess, but this sounds suspiciously like an intermittant connection.

I vote for ignition switch too. My 80 Bronco did that and a slight wiggle ( don’t turn it off ) of the key would move the switch just enough to contact those circuits. My 92 Explorer hasn’t done that yet but it sounds familiar.

Mechanic had no clue,did he offer to start looking? what kind of pay plan are you willing to sign on to?