What Does an Alternator Do?

Car Alternator

When you’re driving through Cape Coral or Naples, your car is operating in part due to a powerful electrical system. Your car’s alternator is part of that system. What does an alternator do in the electrical system? The easiest way to explain what an alternator does in a car is this: the alternator sends power to the electrical system while the car’s running. If you’re driving a gas-powered car instead of an electrical vehicle, the battery isn’t powering the electrical system. It only starts the vehicle, while the alternator is the generator that uses the engine as its power source. Learn more about your car’s alternator with the service department at Val Ward Cadillac. 



What Are the Symptoms of a Bad Alternator? 

When you’re looking at what an alternator does in a car, you’ll also want to learn the signs that your alternator is going bad. These are the primary signs that it might be time to replace your alternator before getting stranded on a Bonita Springs road:

  • 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

Sometimes drivers have trouble telling the difference between a failing alternator and a dying battery. If your vehicle gets a jump start and immediately dies when the jumper cables are removed, the problem is most likely your alternator. 

How Much is an Alternator?

Most alternators last around 80,000-150,000 miles (around seven years), depending on the alternator’s original quality, driving conditions, and how much of a power drain has regularly been put on it. Different makes and models require different alternators, so it’s difficult to give a price quote without knowing what vehicle you’re driving. The service department at Val Ward Cadillac can help you find out how much an alternator is for your specific vehicle. 

Visit Val Ward Cadillac for More Automotive Tips

You don’t have to be a mechanic to know the basics of how your vehicle operates. That said, knowing the basics of automotive service can help you save money and wear and tear on your car. Pay a visit to the service and parts tips from Val Ward Cadillac to learn more about how your car works, and ways you can improve its condition at home. 


More from Val Ward Cadillac

  • 2023 Cadillac XT5 Interior

      When you choose a 2023 Cadillac XT5 for your Cape Coral drives, you’re going to enjoy a cabin filled with sophisticated technology, luxurious materials, and plenty of room to get comfortable. In addition, the 2023 Cadillac XT5 interior colors will set the tone and express your style. Take a look inside at the 2023 Cadillac…

  • Cadillac XT5 Towing Capacity

      The Cadillac XT5 may be classified as a compact SUV, but it still brings serious power to the Cape Coral and beyond. With two impressive engine options and a strong towing capacity, the new XT5 is more than capable of surpassing any challenge it meets. The 2022 Cadillac XT5 towing capacity is 1,000 pounds with…

  • 2022 Cadillac XT4 Trim Levels

      The Cadillac XT4 SUV is back for 2022, and it’s getting glowing reviews from critics and drivers alike! Cape Coral will find no shortage of next-gen specs and features packed into the compact frame of this SUV, roomy enough to comfortably seat five passengers but also easy to navigate around narrow roads and tight corners….

Val Ward Cadillac 26.55877, -81.87245.