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What Is An Alternator And What Does It Do?

alternator
Every car in Temple has an alternator that helps it run during your commute or your weekend errands. Many Belton drivers believe that the battery powers their car, but in reality, the battery is only used to start your car and run the electronics when the engine is off. The alternator functions as a generator with your vehicle’s engine and sends power to the cars electrical system while the car is running. The alternator also charges your vehicle battery as it runs, ensuring that it is ready whenever you need it.

Like any part of your Toyota engine, though, an alternator can break or wear out during the lifetime of your vehicle. If this occurs, you may find yourself wondering “What does an alternator do,” and “How much is an alternator?” Learn more about how an alternator works and how much a new alternator will cost with the service team at Don Ringler Toyota. If you have a question about your alternator, you can also contact us!

How Do I Know If My Alternator Is Bad?

If you think your alternator may be on the way out, then you should check it’s symptoms with our list below. If you notice your car doing any of the following, schedule an appointment with our service center near Killeen to have your Toyota inspected and a new alternator put in if necessary.

  • Your battery warning light appears on your dashboard.
  • Your headlights or interior lights are dim.
  • Your headlights or interior lights glow and fade as you accelerate/decelerate.
  • You smell burning rubber under the hood.
  • Your devices are not charging.
  • You hear a whining or screeching sound after you start the car.
  • Your vehicle will not start.

Is It a Failing Alternator Or a Failing Battery?

Sometimes Waco drivers will make the mistake of confusing a failing battery for a failing alternator, and vice versa. There are a couple of ways to see if your alternator or your battery is failing, although the most definitive way is to bring your car into Don Ringler Toyota for a diagnostics test.

  • Get in your car and turn on your headlights without starting the engine. Check to see if your headlights are dim or their regular brightness. If they’re dim, start your engine and see if they get brighter. If the lights get brighter after you start the engine (which means the alternator is on), then your battery is the problem. If your lights remain dim or begin to glow and fade, then your alternator needs to be replaced.
  • The other way requires you to wait until your car won’t start and needs to be jumped. After you’ve started the engine, remove the jumper cables. If the engine dies immediately, then your alternator needs to be replaced.

How Long Will An Alternator Last?

If you’re concerned about how much an alternator is, you can have peace of mind knowing that most alternators last between 80,000 and 150,000 miles. There are some factors that will cause your alternator to wear out prematurely, so it’s important to have your alternator checked regularly during your regular maintenance visits.

  • The quality of the alternator (make sure to only buy Toyota OEM parts).
  • The driving conditions in your town including road conditions and weather.
  • The amount of strain on the alternator on a daily basis.

How Much Is An Alternator?

Different Toyota models require different alternators, so it’s difficult to say exactly how much a new alternator will cost for your vehicle. In general, the price of a new alternator can range from $500 – $1,000. However, you can call Don Ringler Toyota in Temple for a quote on how much a Toyota OEM alternator will cost for your specific Toyota vehicle. You can make an appointment with our service team to have your alternator replaced properly and in a timely manner so you can get back on Waco roads in no time!

Visit Don Ringler Toyota For Your Service Needs!

Whether you need a new alternator or another Toyota OEM part, you can easily place an order online or come to our Temple service center! Our technicians are trained to work on every kind of Toyota model and service specials and parts specials make getting the maintenance or new Toyota OEM parts you need easier on your wallet. Schedule a service appointment with us today or learn about what color your transmission fluid should be and how to jump-start a car!

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