What Does an Alternator Do?

Car Alternator
Have you ever wondered, “what does an alternator do?” If so, you’re certainly not alone. Lots of car owners from Kansas City to Overland Park can agree that although they know of their car’s essential components, they’re left in the dark when it comes to understanding what they actually do. Put simply, the alternator delivers power to your car’s electrical system when your car is running –– think of it as a generator. Learn more about your car’s alternator with our service center!

How to Tell if Your Alternator is Failing

What does an alternator do when it’s failing? There are several warning signs you might experience when the alternator is going bad, including:

  • The headlights are losing brightness
  • Devices won’t charge when plugged in
  • You can’t start the car at all
  • The battery warning light pops up on your dash
  • You can smell an odor like burning rubber under the hood
  • If the vehicle starts, there’s a whining or screeching noise soon after

Failing Alternator vs. Failing Battery: Know the Difference

All too frequently, Shawnee Mission drivers think their failing alternator is a bad battery. The most reliable way to differentiate between the two is to wait until your car needs a jump-start. Proceed with jump-starting it and remove the cables after it starts successfully. If it proceeds to die straight after, you’ll know that it’s an issue with the alternator and not the battery. Of course, it’s always good to have a trusted technician take a look, too. Schedule an appointment at Hendrick Chevrolet Shawnee Mission to have our experts inspect your vehicle and get you back on the road!

What is the Lifespan of an Alternator?

Typically, alternators are good for about 80,000 to 150,000 miles or approximately seven years. Certain factors may cause the alternator to die prematurely, such as:

  • The alternator was lesser-quality to begin with
  • Adverse driving conditions
  • Something is draining power from the alternator

How Much is an Alternator Replacement?

If you need a replacement, how much is an alternator likely to cost? It’s difficult to provide an accurate figure because the price won’t be the same for every vehicle. If you’d like to get a quick quote from Hendrick Chevrolet Shawnee Mission, give us a call at (913) 305-3320 and our service advisors will be happy to assist! We can help you choose a top-quality alternator for your vehicle that is well within your budget.

Visit Our Service Center in Merriam

Still unsure of what an alternator does? Get in touch with us to start a more in-depth conversation with a service expert from Hendrick Chevrolet Shawnee Mission. No matter what type of service tips you’re looking for, we’re here to answer the call!

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$699.00 Dealer Administrative Charge not included in advertised price.



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*Finance charges accrue from date of financing. Deferred monthly payments for 90 days. 1.9% APR for 36 months. Monthly payment is $28.60 for every $1,000 you finance. Example down payment: 18.8%. Must finance with GM Financial. Down payment required at signing, if applicable. Not available in PA. Some customers may not qualify. Not available with lease and some other offers. Take new retail delivery by 3/4/24.

*2.9% APR for 72 months. Monthly payment is $15.15 for every $1,000 you finance. Example down payment: 19.2%. Must finance with GM Financial. Some customers may not qualify. Not available with lease and some other offers. Take new retail delivery by 3/4/24. **Must trade in a 2010 model year or newer vehicle. Not available with special financing, lease and some other offers. Take new retail delivery by 3/4/24.

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