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What Does an Alternator Do?

Car Alternator

The alternator in your new or used vehicle is responsible for sending power to the car’s electrical system during your Baytown drives. It’s a common misconception that your battery powers your car, but its only function is to start your vehicle, not keep it running. Alternators use the gas engine as its energy source to generate power and create reliable performance. Learn more about what does an alternator do and how much is an alternator with these service tips from Baytown Nissan. 


What are the Symptoms of a Bad Alternator? 

Knowing more about what an alternator does helps Baytown drivers understand just how crucial this component is to their new vehicle’s performance. Staying on top of your routine maintenance schedule will help ensure everything is running smoothly, but if you notice any of these bad alternator warning signs, it could be time to schedule service

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

Signs of a Failing Alternator vs. Battery

It’s easy to mistake a failing alternator for a failing battery, since many of the symptoms are the same. To determine which component is causing you trouble, wait until your vehicle is unable to start and needs a jump. After jump starting the engine, remove the cables and see if the car can stay running. If it dies immediately, it’s likely your alternator needs replacing. 

How Much Does it Cost to Replace an Alternator?

It’s challenging to estimate how much it costs to replace an alternator due to the wide variety of alternators on the market. Different vehicles require different sizes and options, but our service center near La Porte is happy to provide free estimates for parts and installation based on your make and model. Contact us to get started! 

How Long Does an Alternator Last?

Alternators last an average of seven years, between 80,000 and 150,000 miles. There are factors that can wear out your alternator prematurely, though, including: 

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

Visit Baytown Nissan for a New Alternator 

Need help with a new alternator? Our parts department can find the right option for you, including a wide selection of other Nissan OEM parts and accessories. Take advantage of our current service specials to get your alternator installed for less, and get help with other service-related questions, such as “why is my car leaking water?” and more! 

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