Battery or alternator or something else?


Asked by Feb 09, 2016 at 10:50 AM about the 2006 Ford Five Hundred SEL AWD

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

A month ago I got my alternator replaced, and a week later I put in a new
battery. Had a slight problem with lights coming on for 20 minutes after I
put my battery in, but after that things were fine.

Today on the way to work, leaving a parking lot the electrical system failed
while I was driving. The odometer and all the gauges went dead, the radio
sounded scrambled and I couldn't see any lights on the dash. Still, I was
able to drive. I pulled in to a gas station, turned the car on and the electrical
system was still dead and the battery light came on. I was able to make it
home, but I could only go maybe 10 or 15 mph and that's just a guess with
the speedometer not working. If I tried to drive faster the car would start to
shake and sputter. Switching from park to drive, it feels like the forces hard
into gear.

This is so frustrating, because I'm honestly clueless on what it could be.
Any ideas?

6 Answers


I had the same issue on an Ford Truck I used to have. It was the instrument cluster that failed. I took it to a local speedo shop and they were able to repair the problem. I remember them telling me back then that if it wasn't the cluster it was PCM related so I felt pretty releived they were able to fix if for around $120

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Would a failed instrument cluster really cause the whole electrical system to fail like that though?

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

Yeah, at least everything in the dash area. The car kept running didn't it?

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

Yeah, for the most part. Not being able to go faster than 15 mph was confusing. I probably could have gone faster, but it probably would have failed all together then. And now it barely starts. I just checked it though and it looks like the battery is leaking and it has a burn mark :( I'm not ready to have a battery blow up today.

Milotheblue what was the problem cause my car is doing that now and we have the same car. I just brought an alternator and battery and soon as I did that the problem you had occurred so can you please help me out


I never found out the problem. I ended up going through two mechanics, three batteries and two alternators. Still, it kept happening. I ended up having to scrap the car. Honestly, I'd find someone who's really good at diagnosing these things, the electrical system can be a pain.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

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