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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 2005 Ford Taurus. Both the engine and the body are in great shape and there have been virtually no problems with this car since it was purchased. Right now, there are roughly 105,000km on it. The car lives in a garage. That garage is not heated, but I can head out there for a smoke in shorts and a t-shirt even when it is really cold outside and not be uncomfortable while I am out there.

When the weather first started turning a bit cold, the car developed a starting problem - sometimes it won't catch the first time you try to start it. It almost always starts the second time I try. When it won't start it turns over, but just won't catch and start up.

At roughly the same time warning lights started to come on when it is started for the first time each day. Those warning lights are for the brakes, emergency brake, and the gas cap. If you immediately turn it off and start it up again the lights go off and remain off. But if you do not turn the car off and start it again, those lights stay on until it is turned off and restarted.

Finally, around the same time I started noticing a ticking noise sometimes when the car was started. It took a while before I noticed what was causing it, but it turns out that it is the needle on the RPM gauge. When the car is started that needle is trying to move up the dial to show the RPMs but something is stopping it - I can see it trying to move but it can't. That is when I hear the ticking sound. That only lasts for a couple of seconds though, then the needle moves and everything is fine with the RPM gauge.

What I have just described happens primarily the first time it is started each day. The rest of the time it is fine (although the RPM gauge will sometimes act funky upon startup even if the car has been driven for a while). Once the car starts, it drives great - it has plenty of pickup, has no issues driving on the highway, etc.

I have no idea what might be wrong. I will take it to a mechanic, but am busy with work this week so cannot do so until Friday at the earliest. Because of that, I figured I should perhaps ask here to see what our resident car experts think might be causing these problems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks, I was going to post there later today when I get home from work.

I will also add that yesterday, any time I turned the car off and restarted it (I was out running some errands so stopped at a couple of stores) the stereo had switched from CD to radio.
 

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id also start with the battery. weird stuff happens to cars when they don't have enough charge.
this time of year is also somewhat hard on batteries.
that said, when was the last time it had a tuneup ie spark plugs, filters etc? these things make a car easier to start thus putting less demands on a starting system.
 

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If I was handed a work order with your symptoms I would start with the battery/charging system too. Then if that checks out OK check supply voltage after the power distribution/fuse and relay centre and make sure it matches battery voltage. Also don't forget to check the ground connections at the battery and engine block.

Canadian tire use to load test batteries for free if you brought them in (out of chassis).
 

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Check all of the grounds in your battery/charging system. I have a 2007 Freestar that developed all kinds of weird problems, including not starting. Ford had a habit of painting the chassis and engine compartment and putting grounds on top of paint, relying on the thread of the screw to make connection with metal. DOH! I removed, cleaned and replaced all ground wire points inside the engine compartment and that fixed most problems. One persistent and intermittent start problem was corrected by cleaning and reinstalling ground cable from starter to chassis. It cost me a tow and service charge for that one.
 

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Had a problem yesterday with my 2009 Ford Flex SEL bought in july 2008 (yeah 2008 !).
Only 110.000 km now. It sleeps outside, no heater but perfect high power battery and brand new spark plugs.
Yesterday morning, starded normally when I went at the grocery, three block away. When I got out of the grocery store, the starter turned normally but engine did not start. Like frozen gas even though the tank was nearly full. Look up in owner's book : no info ! Remerbered a paper from CAA : company says not to do the old mechanical way, but sometimes, giving some gas could help. Did so,no response. Put deicer in the tank just in case. Finally started.

Look up on the internet and got info the dealer confirmed this morning : it happens that the computer may have trouble sensing the ratio of gas vs air vs temperature inside the cylinders so that he fails to start the engine !!! My problem was probably that the engine started to warm up, but fell in between cold and warm state when I tried to start the engine. Nothing to worry about he said.

I remember some 20 years ago : my neighbor's car would start, but the dash was furiously enlighting ! He was testing and retesting all the connections finding nothing. I came by, beginning by the battery cable where I found the battery pole to be loose ! Not the cable, the pole : The battery was broken. How could the poor car PC sense that, I do not know, but he did not know either since he was just becoming crazy instead of giving intelligent info ! We prove the problem connecting my own car battery in his car.

God bless the times there were no electronics in cars !


ADD ON
A guy passing by stopped and suggested : "Hey, that's a Ford, it sholud start. Just turn on for three seconds, let it go, don't close the switch, try it another time and so on for three times. It should start the engine." I guess he knew it was a PC matter.
 
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You mean when they were less safe? ;)
...and less reliable, and worse on gas, and generally slower and clumsier. :)
I don't miss playing with the choke on a carburetor on a flooded engine on a cold day. nor do I miss the commonality of getting an engine rebuild or at least valve job at 100k kms. Not to mention many family sedans today would give the sports cars of yesteryear a real run for their money while using half as much fuel.
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
id also start with the battery. weird stuff happens to cars when they don't have enough charge.
this time of year is also somewhat hard on batteries.
that said, when was the last time it had a tuneup ie spark plugs, filters etc? these things make a car easier to start thus putting less demands on a starting system.

I don't know, I would have to look through the bills.

I had another car, and was considering buying a new one, but when my Dad passed away in January my Mum told me to take this one since their car is being left to me in the will (when both of them go, but she doesn't drive any more so she told me to take this one now). Because I only started driving it this year I wasn't responsible for maintenance on it prior to January.

I was thinking of getting it winterized so I will take it in this weekend to have that and a tuneup done.
 

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Problems when weather turns cold tells me battery. Check the connections for corrosion. If Ok then Canadian tire has a free battery tester to use in their service department. If battery is OK check alternator next.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Problems when weather turns cold tells me battery. Check the connections for corrosion. If Ok then Canadian tire has a free battery tester to use in their service department. If battery is OK check alternator next.

I'm just about to head outside to remove the connections and check them.

I figure that is at least a two beer job.................
 

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I'm just about to head outside to remove the connections and check them.

I figure that is at least a two beer job.................
I see you're in TO, it's probably cold...you'll need a couple shots to to keep the fingers limber..

Do you know why all the trees in Canada point to Toronto? Because Toronto SUCKS! hahahahahahahahahahaha
 

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Well, your first problem is that it's a Ford......

Sorry, couldn't resist. I don't think there is much of a difference between any of them any more as far as quality or reliability are concerned. If you go by who wins awards, just think, there are so many awards out there now that everyone gets one.

My Chevy has had the check engine light turn on twice now recently. I brought it in and the code is for a "misfire". The engine runs smooth and starts fine and the code got thrown twice now. My mechanic can't find a problem upon inspection and the code gives no other indication.

I chalk it up to the weather change we had recently, or it could be the alcohol content of my last tank of gas. Perhaps it absorbed some water or something. Alcohol absorbs water so readily that there is no such thing as 100% pure alcohol (well, perhaps in some high tech labs where they can make it in a vacuum or something like that). As it is distilled it will attract the water from the air so it is never "pure" if it has been exposed to the environment. Had the same problem with my chain saw this fall. I now buy premium for my small engines. The government now wants to up the percentage of ethanol in fuel which will cause more problems. It also makes more money for producers as ethanol is cheaper than the gas so a litre costs less to produce AND you get poorer fuel consumption so you have to buy it more often.
 

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You mean when they were less safe?
...and less reliable, and worse on gas, and generally slower and clumsier.
Agree in principal. The problem really though is even with advances in electronics and safety features, the skill level of the average driver is likely declining & accident rates about the same if not more.
With features like adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and multiple cameras and proximity sensors and so on & on, this can't be any good for increasing driving skill and accident avoidance ability.
 

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Makes it easier to text though.

With features like adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and multiple cameras and proximity sensors and so on & on, this can't be any good for increasing driving skill and accident avoidance ability.
 
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