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What Does an Alternator Do?

a technician explaining what an alternator does

The alternator is an integral part of the electrical system on your vehicle, but what does an alternator do? The simple answer is that the alternator sends power to the car’s electrical system while the vehicle is running. Does an alternator charge the battery? Yes, it charges the battery, as well as supplies the power needed to keep all of the electrical features in your car working. How long does an alternator last and how much is an alternator? Find out in this guide from the Weir Canyon Honda service center in Anaheim.



How Can I Tell If My Alternator Needs to Be Replaced? 

Unfortunately, your vehicle’s alternator won’t last forever. If you notice any of the following warning signs, you should start looking for a new alternator: 

  • 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

Signs of a Failing Alternator vs. Battery

It’s fairly common for drivers to mistake a failing alternator for a failing battery. If the battery loses its charge and you need to jump start it, the car should remain running after you remove the jumper cables. If it dies as soon as the jumper cables are removed, the problem is most likely your alternator. The best way to determine whether you’ll need a new battery or a new alternator is to schedule a service appointment at Weir Canyon Honda. We have the latest diagnostic equipment in our state-of-the-art Service Center, and our certified technicians can quickly test your electrical system, resolve the issue, and get you safely back on Tustin-area roads as soon as possible.

How Long Does an Alternator Last?

On average, a car alternator will last for 80,000 to 150,000 miles, or about seven years. There are some factors however that can cause your alternator to wear out sooner:

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

During your routine maintenance service at Weir Canyon Honda, our team will check your alternator, as well as all of the other vital components of your electrical system, to ensure that they are in good working order.

How Much Is an Alternator?

The cost of a new alternator for your Honda will be about $540 not including tax or labor. It’s best to contact our parts center to get a price quote on the alternator required for your specific Honda model. We carry a great selection of Honda alternators, and you have your new alternator installed by our experienced technicians while you wait.

Need Alternator Service or Replacement? Visit Weir Canyon Honda

Now that we’ve answered the questions, “what does an alternator do,” “does an alternator charge the battery,” and “how much is an alternator,” you’ll have a better idea about how this essential component of your car’s electrical system works. If you’re looking for further auto care advice, check out our online service tips. Feel free to reach out to our service center if you would like additional information.


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