What Does an Alternator Do?

What Does an Alternator Do?

Many drivers assume that the electrical components in your car are powered by the battery, but this isn’t actually the case! The battery is used primarily for starting the car, and it’s actually the alternator that supplies power to the car’s electrical system on the roads near Tysons Corner. Instead of draining power from your battery, the alternator acts as a small belt-driven generator.

Common Alternator Problems

If your alternator is on its way out, there are a number of common symptoms that will let you know it’s time for a change. Any of the following might indicate a dying alternator:

  • A lit-up battery warning light on your dash
  • Dim headlights or dim interior lights
  • Problems charging devices using in-car power sources
  • Whining or screeching sound after the vehicle starts
  • Burning rubber smell coming from the hood
  • Unable to start or trouble turning over your vehicle.

Failing Alternator vs. Battery

As you may have already realized, many of these problems could indicate either a dead battery or a dying alternator. Contact our service center or run some tests on your own to find out which problem you’re facing.

Now that you’ve answered the question, “What does an Alternator do,” it’s not hard to tell the difference. The easiest way requires you to wait until your vehicle needs a jump-start. If you jump-start the vehicle, and it dies immediately after you remove the jumper cables, you’re almost certainly dealing with a failing alternator. If it stays on, the problem is probably with your battery, not your alternator.

How Long Does an Alternator Last?

You can expect your alternator to last between 80,000 and 150,000 miles, or for roughly seven to ten years. However, driving under especially stressful conditions, or with unusually strong power requirements, could cause it to wear out more quickly. You might also need to replace your setup more often if you choose aftermarket parts over genuine OEM equipment.

How Much Is An Alternator If I Need a Replacement?

Alternator costs vary depending on the type of vehicle you drive, its age, and certain other factors. However, you can contact Lindsay Volkswagen of Dulles at 844-230-4218 in order to get a free quote today. If we don’t have the part you need in stock, you can order it online and we’ll install it when it arrives.

Although our team specializes in the care of Volkswagen vehicles, we’re comfortable working on numerous other makes. Get in touch if you need help procuring or installing your replacement alternator.

Lindsay Volkswagen of Dulles is Your Source for Superior Service!

The parts department at Lindsay Volkswagen of Dulles is a great place to find a new alternator that you can trust for years to come! We’ve made it easy to schedule service and get the help you need today, so you don’t have to wait for a breakdown. We’re just a short drive from Springfield or Dulles.

Don’t forget to check out our rotating service coupons before you visit!

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