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Alex, ASE Master Technician
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 1158
Experience:  ASE Certified Master Technician, L1 Advanced Level Specialist
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1999 Ford Contour: home, all gauges

Resolved Question:

My Daughter has 1999 Ford Contour and here is the issue. it appears as if the battery is not charging but the warning light stays off, The brake and ABS light came on (not very bright) the gauges stopped working, with a boost everything seemed to work fine but after a couple of minutes the engine spluttered the gauges stopped working and the engine died. I then boosted and left it charging for a few minutes, I managed to get the vehicle started and drove it home, all gauges worked fine and all warning lights were off. When I got home (about 4 KM) I turned the engine off anfd then restarted it. I am concerned about the charging and what i should check first. I have removed the battery (which is only a few months old) old and have it on charge now
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Car
Expert:  Alex replied 6 years ago.

This does sound like a bad alternator. The battery light won't always come on when there is a charging problem. However make sure the battery cable ends are clean, tight, and free of corrosion. It would also be a good idea to have the battery load tested. Most parts stores will do this for free. If the alternator is failing it could have taken the battery out with it. Check battery voltage with the engine running using a voltmeter. You should have around 14 volts with the engine running and 12.5 with the engine off.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
OK I just installed the battery got 12.6V, started car, getting anywhere from 12 to 13.5 V across the batt
Expert:  Alex replied 6 years ago.
Yeah sounds like the alternator isn't charging. I think you have enough evidence to go ahead and replace the alternator. Also don't forget to have the battery load tested to be sure.
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