An alternator is a crucial part of a vehicle, which powers the battery and other electrical components of your car. The chances are that you might have been crediting your car batteries for keeping all the electrical components running smoothly.
Well, an alternator has a major role to play over here as well because it serves as a generator for your battery and other car vital components that use electricity for smooth functioning. Believe it or not, no electrical components in your car will work as desired with a faulty alternator.
As such, a lot of factors can affect its condition, which is to say that it requires some degree of maintenance, just like other car parts. An old or worn out alternator might also need replacement at some point because a problematic alternator will fail to provide continuous power supply, disrupting the car’s performance in the process.
The good news is that an alternator can last for a long time period of about 80,000 to 100,000 miles. In the event it fails, here is a breakdown of the cost that you might have to bear.
How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Car Alternator?
The cost for a replacement alternator would depend on the model of the car you own. But, it usually sells in the range of $150 to $750. Of course, when you bring it to the shop, you will have to bear the labor cost as well. So, the total cost would range from $175 to $1100.
|Pep Boys||$165 – $600
|Walmart||$150 – $450
|Your Mechanic||$250 – $900
|NAPA||$300 – $1000
Of course, it’s advisable to take your car to a trusted auto repair shop, or else you will be tricked into spending more. This is because the labor cost is normally low for a repair job of this nature.
When you visit a repair shop for something as simple as an alternator replacement, it will signal the car technician that you don’t know much about cars. As a result, you will end up being an easy victim for frivolous up-charges.
Important Pointers: For better results, it’s advisable to get genuine parts as opposed to used or aftermarket parts. As expected, remanufactured parts will cost less, but they won’t last as long as genuine parts.
What are the Symptoms of a Bad Alternator?
Flickering headlights or strange noises during a long drive doesn’t always mean that your car is haunted. It could be an indication of a bad alternator. When an alternator fails, other electrical components that are powered by a car’s alternator start acting weird, such as the power locks, air conditioning unit, wipers, and so on.
In some cases, you will also find it difficult to start the car.
Worse yet, your car may stall for no reason. Of course, the most obvious sign of a bad alternator is a failed battery because a faulty alternative will fail to recharge the battery, causing it to go dead. If your battery fails, make sure to get the alternator checked before recharging/replacing the battery so that it doesn’t happen again.
Can you Drive with a Faulty Alternator?
When faced with a bad alternator, it’s advisable to replace it at the earliest because a lot of electrical components rely on an alternator. From the headlights, A/C, wiper, radio, etc., a bad alternative can affect all these parts.
In fact, your car battery will get affected as well because all the electric components will start relying on the battery, which will drain the battery much faster than usual. A point will come when the battery voltage will drop so low that you won’t be able to run the engine.
Basically, you will be able to drive until your battery goes flat. If the car gives up on you in the middle of a street, you will have to incur the charges associated with getting it picked up. Not to mention that your car will overheat if you keep driving with a faulty alternative. In other words, you will be risking serious engine damage.
Alternator Replacement Procedure Explained
- Not a lot of work is involved in getting the alternator replaced. It’s a seemingly simple job that can be conducted by any weekend warrior out there. The usual time taken for replacement is less than an hour.
- For your convenience, we have pinned down the steps below.
- First and foremost, you will disconnect the car batteries. This will prevent any mishaps when you are working on your car.
- After disconnecting the batteries, remove the wires from the back of the alternator.
- Then, remove the belt from the pulley. This is the only challenging part of this equation.
- You will have to move the tensioner pulley enough to remove the belt. This is usually achieved with the help of a wrench.
- Once you are able to get rid of the belt, remove the bolts that connect the alternator to the bracket.
- Next, take out the existing alternator and fit the new one in its place. Finally, simply reverse the removal steps.
Alternator Replacement Cost: How to Save Money?
If you do all the labor yourself, you will save the money that goes into the labor cost. As hinted earlier, an alternator replacement is not a difficult replacement. Plus, you won’t need any specialized tools. With basic hand tools, the work won’t take more than an hour.
Of course, you can also save money on the part itself. Depending on your car model, if a brand-new alternator is costing you an arm and a leg, you can get an aftermarket part. Upon proper car, an aftermarket part can also last for a decade.
Important Pointer: If the alternator in your car has gone bad, do not attempt to repair it. Instead, just replace the faulty alternator with a new one. Repair work will cost almost 60% to 70% of what a new part will cost you, and it will be less efficient too. Therefore, there’s no need to conduct a repair. Getting a new alternator should be a no-brainer decision. Also, it’s a good time to have a check on the belts, tensioners, and pulleys, when doing this job.