Benefits Of Alternator Repair
Without a functioning alternator, your car wont start, so its an essential part of the engine. Having a fully functioning alternator will ensure your battery stays full, all the electrical equipment in your car works properly and allows you to start the car on the first try.
A malfunctioning alternator can cause issues with your lights, leading to reduced visibility at night at potentially a serious accident. It can also cause problems with the indicators, the stereo, the satellite navigation and the various other electrical items we rely on now when were driving.
How Much Does An Alternator Cost
Your alternator is one of the hardest working parts on your vehicle. Its a common misconception that the battery in your vehicle is what supplies your power while the vehicle is running. The alternator not only supplies power to all of your vehicles electrical components while the vehicle is running, its also recharging your car battery at the same time. Every time you use your headlights, radio, GPS, air conditioner, heater, defroster, power seats, turn signal, dome lights, or power outlets, your alternator is making it all work by turning mechanical energy into electrical energy. Needless to say, when it dies, your car cant function. That makes its replacement a pretty big priority. To keep you prepared for potential alternator failure , heres a look at what it costs to replace one of these miniature power plants.
So How Much Should An Alternator Replacement Cost
The average time for an alternator replacement is two-to-three hours. That gives you roughly $120- $200 in labor to start. The remaining cost is going to depend on the price of your alternator. Most alternators can be purchased from auto parts storesfor much less than an original equipment manufactured replacement through the dealership, but the buyer must beware here. Certain discount auto parts stores carry electrical parts that have lower quality than the original equipment on a new car. Buying an alternator aftermarket is not inadvisable, a lot of money can be saved that way but, make sure youre using a quality part. Purchasing a new alternator from the same company that made the original version is a smarter purchase decision. Alternators can average anywhere from $100 to $350 depending on make and model. Most vehicles will have an average cost between $350-400 for the total job of an alternator replacement if no other parts need to be replaced. If the serpentine belt is included in the process, add another $20 to $50 to your bill. If you decide to go with dealership parts and labor, expect the bill to climb over $500 in many cases. Because the total cost depends on the vehicle, you can expect to pay anywhere between $350 – $900 for an alternator replacement.
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How To Test An Alternator
The following steps address how to test an alternator with a multimeter
If one of these readings is wrong, your alternator has a problem, and you should take your car to an auto shop for repair.
Vehicle Wont Start/dead Battery
The alternator doesnt provide the power to start the vehicle thats actually the job of the battery. It does, however, charge the battery as the vehicle is running. If the battery cant be charged, the car wont start.
This is a tricky situation as the problem could be with the alternator or the battery itself, or even a plethora of other issues .
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The Average Cost Of Alternator Replacement By Car Manufacturer*
The average cost of alternator repair on WhoCanFixMyCar is around the £300 mark. However, the price as always varies across car makes. This is a result of the difference in price for parts for certain manufacturers and labour as the part will be easier to access on certain vehicles. Hence, making the repair a quicker process. Below we have compiled the average cost of alternator repair across the most popular car manufacturers on our roads today.
|Average Cost of Alternator Replacement by Manufacturer
Testing The Alternator Performance
The main purpose of this test is to check whether the alternator is working accurately or not. This way, you can decide whether you need to replace it or just need maintenance. Before starting your tests, the first thing you must have with you is a multimeter.
This equipment is used to measure the voltage, current, and resistance. You can easily find this product in the mechanical stores for $15 with basic principles, but if you want a multimeter that includes additional functions, you can get that for about $100.
Here is what you need to test and how to test it below!
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Q 3 What Is The Average Lifespan Of An Alternator
Drivers think that the power with which their car is running comes from the battery.
But this is not true. The alternator of a vehicle is the one that provides power to all the electronic components of a vehicle.
Alternators can last longer than batteries. An alternators average lifespan is about 5-8 years, depending on how often and what model you drive.
The lifespan also depends on the factor of how many miles you have driven. An alternator can drive about 60,000 150,000 miles.
New and modern cars, especially those from reliable companies such as Honda, Lexus, and Toyota, are at the higher end of this limit, while old models are at the lower end of this range.
How Much Does It Cost To Replace The Alternator
You may be wondering what to buy: a new alternator or a refurbished one? Repair costs will usually be lower than when replacing a damaged part with a new one.
Replacing a faulty alternator can cost from a few tens to several hundred dollars, depending on the generator manufacturer and model. A new alternator replacement costs from $60 to even $800. You will have to add the replacement cost, if you dont do it yourself.
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How An Alternator Is Replaced
Symptoms Of A Bad Alternator
Some points of failure affecting the alternator are bad bearings causing the rotor to seize, problems with the coils, and a bad belt .
Of course, the way the vehicle indicates a problem is different depending on the root cause. If you have any of the following signs of a bad alternator, make sure to get it checked out quickly.
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Will Jumping Help Car With A Bad Alternator
If you attempt to jump a car with a bad alternator it will recharge the battery of the car being jumped.
This may allow the car to start and run for a few minutes, but without the alternator to recharge the battery while driving and supply the cars needs for electricity, ultimately, the car will stall out quickly.
Jumping a car with a bad alternator is not the answer unless you just need to get the car across the street to the mechanics shop.
Signs Of A Bad Alternator
A broken alternator not to be confused with a failing alternator belt can be hard to diagnose because many of the symptoms of a bad one are the same as the symptoms of a faulty battery, and both can be debilitating enough that diagnostic tests are impossible to run right away. In laypersons terms, its hard to know whats wrong with your cars electrical system when theres no power.
Many of the symptoms of a bad alternator are often the same as the symptoms of a faulty battery.
Here are a few common symptoms of a bad alternator:
Regardless of the cause, if youre experiencing issues with your vehicle, its important to schedule an inspection with a licensed mechanic. They can test different components of your vehicle and use OBD-II readings to determine what the issue is. You may have to pay for these tests, but they should help you avoid paying for a repair thats not needed.
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Symptoms Of A Bad Ev Battery
There are several signs that might indicate your traction battery is nearing its end:
- Reduced fuel economy : If you suddenly notice that your overall fuel economy on your hybrid isnt as good as it used to be, your traction battery may be going bad.
- Fluctuating charge levels: If your EV battery says that it’s fully charged one minute and empty the next, you may have an issue with your battery pack.
- Low battery after sitting: If you park your EV and the battery is low by the next morning, you almost certainly have a failing battery.
- Loud fan noises: If you constantly hear the fans running on your EV, that could mean the battery is overheating and may fail soon.
Can A Bad Alternator Kill A New Battery
Yes, a bad alternator can kill a new battery. The brand new battery will hold up well in the beginning if you take it to have it recharged, but if you continue with this cycle and the alternator is not replaced, soon the new battery will not hold a charge because of the overuse and pressure put on it by the bad alternator.
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How Much Do Mechanics Charge For Alternator Replacement
The average hourly rate in the US in 2022 is $50$120 if its a small garage. A full-fledged auto shop or dealership, in turn, will charge $120$180, or even more. On average, the installation takes an experienced mechanic 23 hours. That includes removing the old unit and installing a brand-new alternator. However, if its located deep inside the engine, thats going to be 58 hours of work.
Dont Forget About The Labor
The cost of the parts is only one piece of the equation. You also need to account for two to three hours of labor to get the job done. Depending on where you go, thats another $125$200 an hour. You can do this yourself, but it can be a tricky job. Its not so much in the removal and installation of the alternator, but in accessing it within the engine compartment. If access is easy, this is absolutely a job that an amateur mechanic can manage.
An alternator is an important part of your car. Your vehicle wont run if the alternator fails, so pay attention to the warning signs and budget for the repair so youre not left with a car that wont start.
Check out all the alternator repair products available on NAPA Online, or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information about how an alternator works, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
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Signs That Show Your Alternator Should Be Replaced
Your car will most certainly show signs that will indicate that there are some problems in your vehicle while unable to function properly. If you are facing problems in starting your vehicle or the condition of the alternator is not good, you should know that it is time to replace and get a new alternator as soon as possible.
Furthermore, here I will list down some symptoms that you can check yourself to determine whether it is time for a replacement or not.
Must I Replace The Battery When Replacing A Bad Alternator
Your serpentine belt drives your alternator. A serpentine belt, also known as a drive belt, is used to drive the primary pulleys on nearly all late-model automobiles, and it must be removed in order to remove the alternator.
If the belt hasnt been replaced in a while or is exhibiting indications of wear or breaking, now is the time to do so. The purchase of the belt will be the only additional cost because the alternator will be removed as part of the labor.
The wire harness plug that connects to your alternator is occasionally replaced as well. This is only the case when the plastic plug has deteriorated or melted due to severe heat. Along with your alternator, your battery is the last item that may need to be replaced.
Starting your car consumes a significant amount of energy from your battery. It would barely last a few starts if the alternator wasnt constantly recharging it. Your vehicle will still require power to operate if your alternator fails. This power will be found in your battery. Unfortunately, without your alternator operating to recharge it, your batterys cells may suffer harm. If youre lucky, the battery will survive the stress. Before the work begins, the technician usually finds out with a simple test.
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What Are The Warning Signs That My Car Alternatorneeds Repairs
There is no questionthat a failing alternator is a total pain, so basically every vehicle will letyou know well in advance if theres a problem. Here are some of the signs to bemindful of:
– Battery light appearing on dashboard – Headlights and interior lights dimming or appearingoverly bright – Flat battery/battery not holding a charge – Slow accessories – Trouble starting – Whining noises coming from under the bonnet.
While every vehicleis a little different, the general rule of thumb is: if something feels alittle off or slow mechanically when youre behind the wheel, take your car toa technician and get your alternator checked as soon as possible.
Noises From The Engine
An alternators spinning parts might be restricted, which causes the engine to squeal or make some weird noises.
Try to notice that from which part the noise is coming. Deeply examine and remember the sounds you hear to tell your mechanic about what is wrong with your car.
The instructions about the noise coming from the engine will give a mechanic direction to work quickly.
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How Urgent Is An Alternator Repair
If the alternator fails, the battery doesnt charge, and the car wont function as it should. Problems with stalling and starting may leave you running late. Specific safety components like the headlights might not work when you need them.
Also, a faulty alternator can damage certain electrical systems by overcharging or undercharging them. You could end up with additional repairs if you leave the bad alternator unresolved.
Thats why you should get quality electrical systems inspections from a reputable auto repair service when you notice bad alternator symptoms. It can even be a good idea to check an old alternator regularly, like when getting an oil change or your tires serviced for tire rotation.
Remanufactured Vs New Which To Choose
Most shops would recommend a new alternator, as they have the best reliability. Many times, however, depending on the vehicle, there is an abundance of remanufactured alternators available, while new ones can be harder to a source.
On the common models, the prices are often pretty close for either type, but on others, there can be a significant price difference. As long as a good warranty is available, a remanufactured alternator can be a good choice.
Remanufacturing thoroughness does vary, but most of the time there is a good chance that a remanufactured alternator will last as long as a new one. Ideally, the remanufacturing process replaces all the parts in the alternator that are subject to wear.
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How Do I Load Test An Alternator
To load test your alternator, you need a voltmeter or multimeter.
Here are the steps to take:
If any readings are out of range while the engine is running, your alternator could be problematic, and you may need a car repair.