the alternator charges the battery used to start the car and provides power to the engine and accessories through the battery once started.. If you have a charged battery and the engine turns over normally, that is all that is needed to start the engine. If the alternator is bad it wont charge the battery and nothing will work once the battery is depleted.
rdautogallery is correct. My car was dying in the middle of the night, lights getting dimmer, etc. so I pulled off to the side of the road until daylight. It turned out is was a loose fanbelt. I tightened everthing up and fortunately there was enough juice left to get started. Without the alternator the car will not run. At least with a generator the car can be push started; not so with an alternator. Check the fan belt first then remove the alternator and battery and go to a major auto parts dealer. Most will check the alternator and check/recharge the battery for free. Check and tighten all connections; I once had a connection to the alternator post that was falling apart but the problem was hidden by insulation.
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