What Does an Alternator Do?

An alternator working on a car

You’ve undoubtedly heard of an alternator, but what does an alternator do? The alternator sends power to your vehicle’s electrical system while it’s running. Learn about the key function of an alternator with San Diego Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram to see how the alternator helps your vehicle run at its best on the Lemon Grove roads. Don’t forget to visit our service center for all of your service inquiries whether you need a routine oil change or serious repair. Learn more about your vehicle’s alternator with the experts at San Diego Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram. 



Bad Alternator Signs 

How do you know when it’s time to replace your alternator? Pay special attention while you’re driving through El Cajon or when your vehicle is parked for the following indications of a bad alternator: 

  • Devices won’t charge
  • The vehicle makes a whining or screeching sound after starting
  • The vehicle has trouble starting
  • Battery warning light flashes
  • Dim headlights/interior lights
  • Burning rubber smell under the hood

If you happen to notice any of these signs, schedule a visit with San Diego Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram to get your alternator properly diagnosed. 

Bad Alternator or Bad Battery?

Sometimes, it can be hard to determine if your alternator is the problem or if you need a new battery. It’s important to remember that the battery is only responsible for starting your vehicle. The alternator is what actually powers the vehicle while it’s running. You can usually tell if the battery is the problem or if it’s the alternator by performing a jump-start. After the jump-start, if the vehicle dies immediately, then your alternator is likely the culprit. If you’re unsure, it’s best to have a certified mechanic or technician take a look. 

How Long Does an Alternator Last?

Most alternators last between 80,000 and 150,000 miles — or about seven years. However, some factors can cause your alternator to wear out prematurely:

  • Alternator quality
  • Driving conditions
  • Power drain on the alternator

How Much Is an Alternator?

Alternators usually last around 80,000-150,000 miles or seven years. The specific number will depend on your alternator’s quality, driving habits, and other factors, so check your owner’s manual for more specific numbers. Eventually, your alternator will need replacing. How much is an alternator? It’s hard to say exactly how much an alternator is because different vehicles require different alternators. 

Instead of searching all over La Jolla for an alternator for your vehicle, you can shop for an alternator online at our parts store here at San Diego Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram. We can also give you a quote on how much your alternator will cost, so you know exactly how much you’ll pay. If you need the alternator installed, our service team of certified and trained technicians can handle the installation with no problem.

Keep Your Alternator in Check with San Diego Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram 

Now that you know the answer to “What does an alternator do?” among other alternator-related questions, you can have your alternator properly serviced, diagnosed, or installed at San Diego Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram. Visit our dealership in San Diego or contact us online to save on every visit with our service specials and more. 


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