I have a 2004 Ford Focus SE, purchased in 2006.
Roughly a year ago I had the alternator replaced with a new alternator. Everything has been somewhat fine (idles rough, sometimes has to be started twice, radio will "freak" out and change randomly). Just yesterday when the family and I were heading out to a nearby lake to celebrate Father's Day the car starts having a really nice problem..
Dash goes completely dead, radio locks up, and if I take my foot off the gas it starts to slowly chug. Pulled off to a side street (as we were on our way out to the lake) and as soon as I stopped it died. Tried to start it up again and it would click click click. Found that the battery fluid (whatever is done in the resevoirs for the battery?) was bone dry. Tried putting some water in as a temporary fix, had it jumped and the car ran fine for about 15 minutes and then died again. Jumping it did nothing this time. Sent the wife on home with some friends that came along and went to get a new battery. New battery in, everything works fine.
Then today I notice the battery light has come on. The drive back was a good 25 minutes or so, and had no problems there. Just ran the radio (no AC, windows down). Now on today's drive to work I find the battery light on.
What could be causing this? Are there known issues with my car? Anything I can do to fix this outside of bringing it to a mechanic?
Thanks for any help