What Does an Alternator Do?

Car Alternator


Having issues with your Toyota vehicle’s electrical system? Wondering, “What does an alternator do and how much is an alternator repair?” No need to worry – the certified service technicians at Mossy Toyota are here to help! Find out more about what an alternator does and how much one costs with the experts below.

What Does an Alternator Do?

An alternator routes power to the car’s electrical system while the car is on. Many San Diego drivers think the battery powers the car, however, the battery is only used to start it. The alternator actually functions as a generator, drawing on the gas engine as a source of energy. 

Signs of a Malfunctioning Alternator

Are you worried your alternator is on its way out? If you’re seeing any of these warning signs, make a trip to the Mossy Toyota service center near La Jolla:

  • Inability to start
  • Screeching or whining sound after the vehicle has started
  • Devices not charging
  • Burning rubber smell coming from under the hood
  • Dim headlights or interior lights
  • Battery warning light appearing on the dashboard

Is it a Failing Alternator or a Failing Battery?

Many Chula Vista drives who bring their vehicle in for repairs will mistake a faulty alternator for a faulty battery. The easiest way to identify the cause of the problem is to wait until the vehicle is unable to start and needs a jump. Go through the process of jump-starting the engine, then remove the jumper cables after it starts back up. If the vehicle immediately dies, the problem falls on your alternator, not your battery. 

Feel better having a professional Toyota technician diagnose the problem? Schedule a service appointment at Mossy Toyota today!

How Much Time is an Alternator Supposed to Last?

Most alternators last between 80,000 and 150,000 miles — or about seven years. However, some factors can cause your alternator to wear out prematurely, such as:

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

How Much is an Alternator Repair?

Different makes and models require different alternators, so it’s impossible to calculate exactly how much your alternator will cost. It’s best to contact the Mossy Toyota service team for a free consultation. Keep in mind though, that our alternators are custom-built for Toyota cars, and our technicians are trained to install these OEM alternators correctly. 

Get a New Alternator at Mossy Toyota Today!

Need to replace your alternator yourself? Get in touch with our Parts Department so we can help you find the parts you need. However, if you’d prefer our trained technicians handle the job for you, simply contact us here at Mossy Toyota to set up a time to come visit us in San Diego.

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