why would a 2006 solara with only 62000 miles need an alternator
Because auto parts tend to fail at some point. It is not uncommon at your mileage. Some last longer than others.
Maybe sometime in it's life the battery was drained and they just jumped started it and used the alternator to recharge the battery or they jumped someone with the engine running. Many things can cause failure. Remember that an alternator is only designed to maintain the charge in a good battery not used to recharge a dead or weak one.
It can also been damaged by water or manufacture problems thoses things can happen.
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