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What Does an Alternator Do?

A common question we hear from Vienna drivers who visit our service center is, “What does an alternator do?” The alternator transfers power to the car’s electrical system when the engine is running. Many drivers believe that the car’s battery is its power source, but the battery simply starts the vehicle. An alternator is similar to a generator, and the car’s engine provides a source of energy. If you would like to know more about the function of your car’s alternator, the team at Stohlman Volkswagen has the details.

How Long Does an Alternator Last?

Most alternators last approximately seven years (80,000 and 150,000 miles). There are a couple of factors that can affect the longevity of an alternator:

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

Signs of a Bad Alternator 

Are you wondering whether you will soon need to replace your alternator? There are a few signs to look out for. If you notice any of the symptoms below, you should have your vehicle inspected by a professional. You don’t want to be stranded on the roads of Fairfax because of a faulty alternator. 

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

Is it a Failing Alternator or Battery?

It can be difficult for some Alexandria drivers to tell if the issues their vehicle is experiencing is due to the alternator or battery. It is easier to determine the cause of the problem by waiting until you need to jump-start the vehicle. If the vehicle still won’t start after that, the alternator is the likely culprit. Set up an appointment at Stohlman Volkswagen today. 

How Much Does it Cost to Replace an Alternator?

The price of an alternator varies based on your particular make and model. That is why you will want to reach out to our service department. We can give you a more accurate estimate for your car.

Contact Stohlman Volkswagen Today

If you have additional questions about your alternator, you can always reach out to the professionals at Stohlman Volkswagen. We would be happy to help. If your vehicle is in need of an alternator, be sure to take a look at our rotating service specials to see if you can save even more on this repair task. 

Stohlman Volkswagen 38.9243816, -77.2382036.