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Ford Repair/starter problem


QUESTION: On two occasions, our car failed to start and acted like the battery was severely drained, only to start effortlessly on the third or fourth try. Could this be the starter relay or something else?

ANSWER: Help is not forthcoming without knowing the year, make, model, engine and trans of your vehicle. There are too many variables to pick just one possibility.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Sorry, the car is a 2001 Mercury Sable with the single cam 3 liter engine and automatic trans. Thank you.

I don't recall ever having a problem with starter relay on an Ford. First thing I would suggest is have the battery and charging system tested. Many times when a battery gets a few years old it may start sometimes, and not others, due to weakening of the battery cells. You might have a poor connection or a bad ground. Could be the starter is failing and sometimes stops at a point in the commutator where there is wear or corrosion.

The most common cause of what you describe is a battery on it's way out of life. Get that tested and make sure it is being charged before doing any repairs or replacement.

Corrosion on the battery connections could cause your issue. High voltage drop anywhere in the circuit will effect starting.  

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I am a retired Ford master tech specializing in electrical, climate control, emissions, driveability, chassis, brakes, and any light repairs. Cannot answer transmission, parts, or price questions, these are not areas of my expertise.


39 years of auto repair, diagnosis, and emissions testing, in service staions, independent garages, and 20 years with Ford dealers.

National Street Rod Association (NSRA)
International Automotive Technicians Network (IATN)
IAMAW (retired)

Riverside City College Automotive technology program
Ford Master Tech Certified Engine and Chassis Master (Over 500 hours)
ASE Certified in 7 categories
6 years training in Union 76 Pro-tech program

Awards and Honors
4-time Technician of the Year at Almaden Lincoln Mercury
Ford Master Tech
Union 76 Pro-tech Master tech

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