What Does an Alternator Do?

Car Alternator
Most Redondo Beach drivers don’t know the answers to the questions, “What does an alternator do?” or “how much is an alternator?”. That’s okay. South Bay Mazda is here to help. Simply put, an alternator sends power to your car’s electrical system while it’s running. You might think your battery powers the car, but it’s actually just used to get the alternator going. The alternator is your generator and uses gas as its source of energy to keep the car moving.

Read on to learn about the signs that it’s time to replace your alternator, and if you have any more automotive questions, explore our Mazda service tips. If you think you need a new alternator, get in touch with the service department at South Bay Mazda for help.


What Are the Symptoms of a Bad Alternator?

Now that you could answer the question, “What does an alternator do?”, yourself, it’s time to learn about the signs that yours is on the fritz.

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

Signs of a Failing Alternator vs. Battery

Most often, Manhattan Beach drivers with alternator issues will think their car battery is dying. One test to distinguish whether or not you’re having alternator issues is to jumpstart your car, and then abruptly remove the cables from your battery. If your vehicle immediately dies, have your alternator inspected in Torrance at our garage.

How Long Does an Alternator Last?

Hawthorne drivers can expect the majority of alternators to last from anywhere between 80,000 and 150,000 miles — roughly seven years. That said, if you drive with a lead foot or your alternator was cheap, you may need one sooner.

How Much Is an Alternator?

So, how much is an alternator? That depends. There’s quite a bit of variety in the world of alternators. It’s impossible to give you a quote without knowing more about your vehicle and the alternators that it is compatible with. For more specific information, get in touch with our service department.

Contact South Bay Mazda for Help

If you think you’re due for a replacement alternator, get in touch with the service department at South Bay Mazda. We’ll make sure we get to the root of your vehicle’s issues effectively and affordably. If you have other questions about service topics, be sure to check our other parts tips for informative reads on topics like how to interpret your check engine light.

More from South Bay Mazda

  • 2023 MAZDA CX-5 Trims

    What is the 2023 Mazda CX-5 price? What about the different Mazda CX-5 trim comparisons? The new Mazda CX-5 for sale at South Bay Mazda has several trim levels to explore, making it easier for you to find the configuration better suited for handling your Redondo Beach commute and weekend errands. Learn more about the different Mazda CX-5…

  • 2022 MAZDA CX-5 Interior Highlights

    The newest iteration of the Hawthorne area beloved Mazda CX-5 is an efficient, powerful, and stylish SUV that features a new, head-turning design on the outside. But, what of the inside? If you’re looking for an SUV with incredible performance, comfortable spaces, and more than enough cargo room, the Mazda CX-5 may be the way…

  • Is Nappa Leather Real?

    If you’re thinking about buying a new vehicle, and you find yourself in the market for one with real leather seats, you’ll be happy to know that many Mazda models, including the Mazda CX-5 Signature, Mazda CX-9 Signature, Mazda6 Signature, and certain Miata coupes have just what you are looking for! Not only do they…

Contact Us

Saved Vehicles

You don't have any saved vehicles!

Look for this Save icon

Once you've saved some vehicles, you can view them here at any time.

South Bay Mazda 33.8425647, -118.3532506.