What Does an Alternator Do?


The alternator is a vital component of your new or used vehicle that sends power to the electrical system when your car is running. Many Clarkston drivers are under the impression that the battery powers the car, but it is actually only needed to start it up. The alternator can be thought of as a generator that uses the gas engine as its energy source. Learn more about alternators with John Bowman Chevrolet, Inc., below!

Common Alternator Issues

Are you worried there may be a problem with your alternator? If you’ve noticed any of the following symptoms, you’ll know it’s time to make a trip to a service center like the one at John Bowman Chevrolet, Inc.:

  • Dim headlights or interior lights
  • Battery warning light illuminated on the dashboard
  • Whining or screeching sound when you start the vehicle
  • Burning rubber smell under the hood
  • Devices won’t charge up
  • The vehicle is totally unable to start

Failing Alternator vs. Battery

As we briefly noted above, many Lake Orion drivers will mistake a failing alternator for a failing battery. The best way to know which issue you’re experiencing is to wait until the vehicle cannot start and requires a jump. Move forward with jump-starting the engine, then remove the jumper cables after it starts. If it dies again right away, it’s likely an issue with your alternator. At this point, it’s best to have a certified technician take a look to get to the root of the issue.

What Is an Alternator’s Lifespan?

An alternator should last between 80,000 and 150,000 miles or about seven years. With that said, there are some factors that could cause your alternator to fail prematurely:

  • Frequently rough driving conditions
  • Poor alternator quality
  • Power drain on the alternator

How Much Is an Alternator?

If you’re thinking you need an alternator replacement, you’re probably wondering how much is an alternator? The answer depends on your specific make, model, and year. Different types of cars require different alternators, so it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly how much a new alternator will cost. However, you can always contact your preferred service center to ask for an estimate.

Schedule Alternator Service at John Bowman Chevrolet, Inc.

Need alternator service? You can always rely on the certified factory-trained technicians at our service department near %%di_city_3%% to get the job done right! Schedule an appointment online today, and be sure to take a look at our latest service specials. If you have any lingering questions about alternators in the meantime or about other common auto service topics, like oil change frequency, don’t hesitate to contact us!

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(248) 625-5071

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6750 Dixie Hwy • Clarkston, MI 48346

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Today's Hours:

Open Today! Sales: 9am-6pm

Open Today! Service: 8am-6pm

Open Today! Parts: 8am-6pm

John Bowman Chevrolet, Inc. 42.7201, -83.4177.