What Does an Alternator Do?

February 14th, 2019 by

Car Alternator - Converting Mechanical Energy to Electrical Energy Inside a Car.Many drivers may assume that a car’s main source of power is the battery, but in fact, it’s purpose is to start the vehicle. An alternator is what keeps a car running. The alternator is an important component as it functions as a generator by utilizing the engine as a source of energy, which then sends power to the car’s electrical system.

If you’ve ever been curious about what an alternator is, its purpose, and common alternator issues, learn more about it with Gurnee Chrysler Jeep Dodge RAM!

Common Alternator Issues

Like many components to a car, alternators can fail. If you’re seeing these signs, it may be time to call your local service department to get the issue checked out:

  • Car cannot start
  • Devices are unable to charge
  • Dim headlights and/or interior lights
  • Smell of burning rubber under the hood
  • Battery warning light illuminated on the dashboard
  • Whining/screeching noise after the car has been started

How to Tell if it’s a Failing Alternator or Failing Battery

When you discover power issues with your vehicle, you may assume that the battery is dying, when in fact it could more than likely be the alternator.

The easiest way to tell if it’s a failing battery or failing alternator is by jump-starting your car. If your engine won’t start, follow the proper jump-starting procedure and remove the jumper cables. Try turning on your vehicle; if it immediately dies, then the alternator is the culprit. In this event, it’s time to schedule an appointment to have a certified technician check it out.

How Long Does an Alternator Last?

Alternators have an impressive lifespan of seven years–or between 80,000 to 150,000 miles. But be careful that you are not wearing it out prematurely! Here are some common causes of early alternator failure:

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

What is the Cost of Replacing an Alternator?

It’s difficult to accurately determine how much an alternator replacement would cost, as different cars require different alternators. If you think you may need to replace yours, simply call Gurnee Chrysler Jeep Dodge RAM in Gurnee to get a free quote before scheduling an appointment. Should you need a new alternator, we will use quality OEM parts to keep your Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, Wagoneer vehicle running smoothly.

Visit Gurnee Chrysler Jeep Dodge RAM for All Your Service Needs

The maintenance team at Gurnee Chrysler Jeep Dodge RAM is more than happy to help you out with any service needs you may have. From ordering an alternator through our parts department, to fully replacing an alternator, we’ve got you covered! Get in touch if you have any questions!

Service Specials at Gurnee Chrysler Jeep Dodge RAM

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