What Does an Alternator Do?

Many drivers may be surprised to know that the battery isn’t the main power source in their car. While many believe the battery provides all the electricity to your vehicle, it’s used primarily for starting the car. It’s actually your alternator that supplies power to the car’s electrical system while you drive from Georgetown to Cameron. The alternator acts as a small belt-driven generator that turns rotational energy from your motor into electricity.

Common Alternator Problems

There are several signs that will let you know your alternator is past its prime. Signs of a failing alternator include:

  • Problems charging devices using in-car power sources
  • Whining or screeching sound after the vehicle starts
  • A lit-up battery warning light on your dash
  • Dim headlights or dim interior lights
  • Burning rubber smell coming from the hood
  • Unable to start or trouble turning over your vehicle.

Failing Alternator vs. Battery

Now that we’ve answered, “What does an Alternator do,” it’s time to tell the difference between battery issues and alternator issues. The easiest way requires you to wait until your vehicle needs a jump-start. If you jump-start the vehicle, and it dies immediately after you remove the jumper cables, you’re almost certainly dealing with a failing alternator. If it stays on, the problem is probably with your battery, not your alternator.

It can be difficult to tell the difference between a dead battery and a dying alternator. Get in touch with our service center if you need help running diagnostic tests or replacing your battery or alternator.

How Long Does an Alternator Last?

An alternator typically lasts between 80,000 and 150,000 miles, or anywhere from seven to ten years. However, this is only a general guideline and can vary depending on driving conditions, power requirements, and driving style. You might also need to replace your alternator more frequently if you choose aftermarket parts over genuine OEM equipment.

How Much Is An Alternator Replacement?

Because different vehicles use different alternators, the price of a replacement will depend on what you drive. However, you can contact Nyle Maxwell CDJR of Taylor at 737-241-3953 in order to get a free quote today. If we don’t have the part you need in stock, you can order it online and we’ll install it when it arrives. Typically, you can expect to pay between $300 and $500 for an alternator in a typical passenger car.

Nyle Maxwell CDJR of Taylor is Your Source for Superior Service!

The parts department at Nyle Maxwell CDJR of Taylor is a great place to repair your car, truck, or SUV in Taylor. We’re just a short drive from Cameron or Temple, so don’t hesitate to contact us when you’re ready for an alternator service! We can answer your questions like how to reset the check engine light on the RAM 1500.

Learn More with Nyle Maxwell CDJR of Taylor

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