1. A month ago, after a long day at school, I walked to the parking lot and tried to start my car. The engine definitely turned over and the motor ran, but it sounded very quiet and weak, like it didn't go all the way. I thought maybe I hadn't turned the key long enough, turned the car off, and tried it again. Problem solved.
2. Last week, the same thing happened to me after I came out of the grocery store. This time, I turned the car off and on three times and got the same weak response every time. Thinking it might help if I got the car going, I backed out and started pulling forward. There was very little response in the gas pedal, and I had no power steering. I coasted into a new parking spot and walked home. When my parents drove me back an hour later, the car started up fine.
3. When driving back to Moscow yesterday, I realized that I could turn my headlights on as usual, but that my dashboard display no longer lit up when I did.
4. What's more, I could not engage my cruise control when the headlights were on. If I turned the headlights off, I could turn my cruise on, and then turn the headlights back on and the cruise would stay on.
WTF? Now I'm nervous about driving anywhere out of town in case the car gets stuck, and I won't be able to drive at night without a lit dash display. Any thoughts?
It's a 1996 Ford Explorer.