!-- Google Tag Manager (noscript) -->

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

  • 2021 MAZDA CX-5 Off-Road Mode

    If you’re shopping around Los Angeles for a crossover over that’s fine-tuned to make your commute more relaxing, but also has surprising capability off-road, the Mazda CX-5 is an excellent option. Four of its trims offer you the ability to upgrade to i-ACTIV AWD® with Off-road Traction Assist, and two of its trims come standard…

  • 2021 MAZDA CX-30 Colors

    The Mazda CX-30 is a capable SUV with a roomy cabin and cargo bay and riveting performance. If you’ve been considering one in Redondo Beach, be sure to read our overview of the Mazda CX-30 exterior paint colors and the Mazda CX-30 interior colors to get a better idea of how you’d like to style your…

  • 2021 MAZDA CX-5 Price

      The MAZDA CX-5 crossover features a starting price of $26,370 (MSRP) and seven configurations. This affordable SUV has a price-point for a wide variety of drivers. Read on to learn about the Mazda CX-5 price by trim level, and then after you’ve explored the Mazda CX-5 2021 price, fill out a pre-approval and contact…

Saved Vehicles


You don't have any saved vehicles!

Look for this link on your favorites:


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

Contact Us


(310) 974-8177

Call Now


(310) 974-8177

Call Now


(310) 974-8177

Call Now

20626 Hawthorne Blvd. • Torrance, CA 90503

Get Directions

Today's Hours:

Open Today! Sales: 9am-8pm

Open Today! Service: 7am-6pm

Open Today! Parts: 7am-6pm

South Bay Mazda 33.8425647, -118.3532506.