What Does an Alternator Do?

May 20th, 2019 by


An alternator is an essential component to your vehicle, but are you familiar with its actual function? The alternator is the common unsung hero of your vehicle as many drivers can easily think that the battery powers the car, it’s only used to start it. It is responsible for sending power to the car’s electrical system while the car is running and works as a generator, using the gas engine as its source of energy.

Common Alternator Problems

So now that you know what an alternator does and how it is vital to helping you stay efficient on St. James and Springfield roads, it’s good to familiarize yourself with common signs that it may be time to replace your alternator. Keep an eye out for things like:

  • Battery warning light appearing on the dashboard
  • Dim headlights or interior lights
  • Burning rubber smell under the hood
  • Devices not charging
  • Whining or screeching sound after the vehicle has started
  • Unable to start

Failing Alternator vs. Battery

Since and the alternator is often confused with the battery, it can also be tricky for Jefferson City drivers to distinguish which actually needs replacing. In this instance, wait until the vehicle is unable to start and needs a jump and then jump-start the engine. If it dies once you remove the jumper cables, then you may need a new alternator. You can always have one of our experienced technicians take a look so feel free to schedule an appointment at a time that works for you.

How Long Does an Alternator Last?

In general, most alternators last about seven years, which can usually fall between 80,000 and 150,000 miles, but factors such as the following can cause it to wear out much earlier:

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

How Much Does it Cost to Replace an Alternator?

Different vehicles and brands require certain alternators so it’s important to consider this when shopping around for a new alternator. If you’re now in the market for a new alternator, you can always reach out to our service department who can give you a free estimate and replace it for you with parts designed for your vehicle.

Visit Kingdom Kia  for a New Alternator

You can always replace an alternator yourself, or you can bring it over to our parts department and have the professionals take care of it for you. And, be sure to take advantage of our parts and service specials to help save even more You can even learn more about vehicle maintenance like, why is my car leaking waterwhat color your transmission fluid should be or how often to rotate your tires. Contact us with any questions or stop by our service center near Jefferson City!

We can even help you learn more about used car leasing!

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