What Does an Alternator Do?

Car Alternator

You’ve likely heard that your alternator is a vital part of each and every new vehicle, but what does an alternator do? Our service technicians here at Terry Reid Hyundai can help you answer this question, and it’s actually an easy enough part to understand. In a nutshell, the alternator works like a generator that uses your engine as the source of its energy. Your alternator then sends that power to your vehicle’s electrical systems – not your battery!

Of course, understanding the answer to ‘what does an alternator do?’ is only part of what drivers should know. With that in mind, read on for answers to the following questions:

  • How Can You Tell if Your Alternator is Faulty?
  • How Can You Tell if it’s the Battery or Alternator?
  • How Much is an Alternator?

How Can You Tell if Your Alternator is Faulty?

There are a few signs you can watch for next time you’re making your way across Acworth that suggest your alternator might need attention. Just a few common signs of a failing alternator include:

  • Inability to start or slow starting
  • Screeching or whining sounds after starting
  • Dim interior lights or headlights
  • Smell of burning rubber from under the hood
  • Active battery warning light
  • Personal devices failing to charge from the USB ports

How Can You Tell if it’s the Battery or Alternator?

Unfortunately, may of the symptoms of a failing battery are very similar to the symptoms of a failing alternator. The best way to determine which part needs attention is by waiting until the vehicle needs a jump start. If you jump start the engine and the vehicle dies very soon after your jumper cables have been removed, your alternator is likely to blame.

Of course, it’s a good idea not to let things get to the point where you’re needing a jump start in the middle of Kennesaw! It’s best to schedule servicing when you first notice any of the signs listed above.

How Much is an Alternator?

Alternators generally last between 80,000 and 150,000 miles, so you may need a replacement if you plan on driving the same vehicle across Rome for many years to come. How much is an alternator replacement? The exact cost of a new alternator will vary depending on your make and model, but you can always get a quote by contacting our parts department.

Visit Our Terry Reid Hyundai Showroom Today for Expert Servicing

Whether you need further maintenance advice or want to order a new alternator, we’re always happy to help at Terry Reid Hyundai. Don’t hesitate to contact us online today if you have any questions about how an alternator works.

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