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What Does an Alternator Do?


Even if you’re not the most well versed in mechanics, many drivers know that an alternator is a major part of your vehicle, but what does an alternator do? The alternator is responsible for sending power to a car’s electrical system when you turn it on. Some may assume that this was the job of the car battery, but the battery only starts the car while alternators leverage the gas engine for energy to power up your car’s electrical system. Learn more about this important component from the service experts at Honda North.

Common Alternator Problems

While it’s not just important to understand what an alternator is and how it works, it’s also crucial to know the signs if your alternator is having issues. Common problems that could be an indicator of a failing alternator are:

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

Failing Alternator vs. Battery

Another common misconception is knowing when there is a problem with the alternator vs. an issue with your battery. If you can’t start your car and you need a jump-start, attempt to do so and remove the cables once the car is restarted. If your vehicle dies right away, then it may be time to replace your alternator.

How Long Does an Alternator Last?

Many drivers will also wonder how long an alternator lasts, and they will be glad to see that this is a component designed for longevity. Alternators can last about seven years or 80,000 to 150,000 miles, although there are some factors that can cause your alternator to wear down faster than expected. These include:

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

How Much is an Alternator?

If you’re wondering how much is an alternator, it often depends on the vehicle you have, the condition it is in, and the type of alternator you need. You may also need to take service costs into consideration. You can always trust the service team at Honda North to give you an accurate estimate so you can make your best decision on how to replace it.

Find Honda Parts and Service at Honda North

Now that you know what an alternator does, if you find yourself in need of a new one or have any other maintenance needs, stop by the parts and service departments at Honda North where you can take advantage of plenty of coupons to save on your visit. You can also find more helpful service features such as when to get your oil changed, how often to change spark plugs, and resetting your pressure light. Contact us today to schedule an appointment near Lawrence!

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