, Salem, MA


February 8, 2014

Auto Scanner: ’05 Ford pickup died suddenly, won’t restart

Q: My husband has a 2005 Ford F-150 pickup with 130,000 miles. This has been well-maintained. We have not had any major problems with it until last weekend. I took it out to run some errands and it died at a stop sign. I could not get it started; no sounds of trying to turn over, nothing. I had it towed to a service station. It is still there and I am running up a tab! When it died, there were lights and radio. Nothing else. Starter, alternator and battery are not the issue. All terminals, connections, etc., are clean and not corroded. Any suggestions? My husband thinks electrical but this is getting quite costly as they troubleshoot.

A: Take a very close look at the battery cable ends, battery ground at engine block, and battery cables themselves. When this happened, did the car clock lose time? Did your radio lose the radio stations? Was this the first and only time this has happened (your correspondence tells me this is a one-time occurrence)? It’s a possibility there was a computer glitch or a starter issue. In the automotive trade, when diagnosing a problem you have to be able to duplicate the customer’s problem before you can start making repairs. Any other way and it’s a crapshoot that will cost you a lot of money with very little results in most cases. There is no one common issue for your truck that will cause this to happen.

Car Care Tip

A bag of kitty litter in your trunk can get you unstuck in a snow jam. Remember, slow and easy when rocking out of deep snow.


Larry Rubenstein is a master technician who owns a North Shore service station. His column appears every Saturday. Write to Larry at The Salem News, c/o Auto Scanner, 32 Dunham Road, Beverly, MA 01915, or send an email to

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