What Does an Alternator Do?

Mechanic showing the cost of service to client

An alternator sends power to the vehicle’s electrical system while it’s running. Most drivers believe that the battery is what powers the car, but it’s only used to start it. The alternator functions as a generator that uses the gas engine as its source of energy. For more details about the alternator and what it does, visit the service center at Sunrise Chevrolet.

Common Alternator Problems

If you’re concerned that your alternator is on its way out, or you’re noticing the following issues below, visit our Chicago-area service department:

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

Car Alternator

Failing Alternator vs. Battery

Carol Stream-area drivers sometimes mistake a failing alternator with a failing battery. The best way to distinguish between the two is to wait until the vehicle doesn’t start and requires a jump. Then, jump-start the engine and remove the jumper cables after it starts. If the vehicle dies immediately, the issue is most like the alternator. Schedule a service appointment to have a certified technician inspect your vehicle.

How Long Does an Alternator Last?

Most alternators last around 80,000 to 150,000 miles; or about seven years. There are some factors that can cause your alternator to wear out early:

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

How Much Does it Cost to Replace an Alternator?

Each vehicle will require a different alternator, which makes it difficult to say just how much one would cost you. With that said, you can call Sunrise Chevrolet for a free quote! We offer a selection of alternators specifically for your vehicle. Also, our technicians have the training and experience to install it correctly.

Get a New Alternator at Sunrise Chevrolet

If you’re looking to replace the alternator on your own, visit the parts department at Sunrise Chevrolet. We’ll help get you the alternator at a reasonable price. Have further questions about alternators or other service topics, like cabin air filter replacement? Contact us online or stop by our service center today! We’re always happy to provide information on popular topics like OEM vs. aftermarket parts, and much more.

Service Specials at Sunrise Chevrolet


Provide us with a better price at the time of purchase and we’ll match it.

Find a better price within 30 days of the purchase, and we’ll refund the difference.* Eligible Tire Brands: BFGoodrich, Bridgestone, Continental, Dunlop, Firestone, General, Goodyear, Hankook, Kelly, Michelin, Pirelli, and Uniroyal.

Coupon Code: 201
Offer Disclosure: *Ad, written estimate, or Internet quote for identical tire(s) from a competing tire retailer/installer located within 100 miles of the dealer required during guarantee period for price match. Offer ends 12/31/19.

EXPIRES: 12/31/2019

$250 mail-in rebate* on an eligible GM Genuine Parts Engine, Transmission or Transfer Case

Coupon Code: 317
with the purchase of $300 worth of GM Genuine or ACDelco parts. Purchase and installation included.
Offer Disclosure: *with the purchase of $300 on GM Genuine or ACDelco parts. Excludes Saab, Chevrolet Med/HD and GMC Med/HD Trucks. Not valid with other offers. Limit one rebate per service performed per date and vehicle. Allow 6 to 8 weeks from end date for delivery of debit card. See dealer or mycertifiedservicerebates.com for complete details, eligible parts and rebate form, which must be postmarked by 1/31/20. Offer ends 12/31/19.

EXPIRES: 12/31/2019

Apply for the BuyPower Card® right in our service lane.

Coupon Code: 316
If instantly approved*, use it for service, parts or accessories and get up to a $100 statement credit**. Talk to a Dealer Service Advisor for details.
Offer Disclosure: *Credit approval required. Terms and conditions apply. The customer must apply with their Service Advisor to be eligible for this one-time statement credit offer. The value of the statement credit will be equal to the amount the customer spends on his/her first service, parts or accessories purchase at the dealership, up to a value of $100 and no greater. Account must be current and in good standing. The customer must purchase those parts/services using their newly opened BuyPower Card or GM Extended Family Card Account within the first 30 days of opening a new Account. If the credit decision is deferred and is approved at a later time, or should the customer receive instant credit and choose to wait to make a purchase, they will be eligible to receive this promotion within the first 30 days of application approval. This statement credit will appear on either the first or second statement. Dealership must be enrolled in the GM Rewards Cards Program for Service to participate. Offer ends 8/31/19.

EXPIRES: 08/31/2019

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