It’s common to think that the car battery is what keeps all your lights and accessories powered, but rather it’s actually your alternator that keeps the electricity-dependent parts of your vehicle running. From the radio and climate control to the engine control unit (ECU) and spark plugs, your alternator powers many of the important systems in your vehicle. While your car’s battery provides the initial power to start your vehicle, the alternator takes over from there and allows the engine to generate its own.
As stated, an alternator keeps power running through the parts of your vehicle that depend on it. Alternators are belt-driven and work in the same way as a generator, using magnetic fields and constant rotation to create power.
Your vehicle can’t continue to run without a working alternator, as it won’t be able to generate power for the necessary components!
Sometimes it can be difficult to tell if the alternator is your culprit, but there are some common issues that may mean it’s time to consider a replacement.
Alternators are a simple component and designed for longevity, so it’s not too often you need to replace them. However, with constant use and many miles, they wear down just like any other component.
With years of being ignored under the hood, alternators can begin to lose their efficiency over time. If the alternator is unable to produce enough electricity, the vehicle will be unable to keep itself running.
If you’re experiencing any of multiple of the above symptoms, you should have it inspected by a trusted professional as soon as possible. They’ll be able to confirm if an alternator replacement is necessary, or if the source of the problem is elsewhere.
The cost of both the alternator itself and the labor are heavily dependent on the make and model of the vehicle. European and specialty cars will have more expensive parts and a higher labor rate, while domestic and Asian import vehicles will often be less expensive in general.
Dealerships will also charge more than many independent repair shops. At a dealership, alternator replacements can often go for over $500-$700, while local repair shops see prices around $300-$500.
Unfortunately, there’s no set price for a replacement, and the best way to find out the cost for your specific vehicle and area is to call and receive a quote from a repair facility itself.
If you suspect a faulty alternator on your vehicle, bring it to the trusted experts at Lake City Auto Care in North Idaho! Our ASE-certified technicians can inspect, diagnose, and repair your vehicle’s electrical system with top-notch service and OEM-quality parts.
Call or schedule online today to meet with our helpful team! We have locations in Coeur d’Alene, Hayden, and Rathdrum, and serve all the surrounding communities.