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How Much It Costs for a Car Alternator Replacement

  • Auto Insurance
  • Nova Kainen
  • 6 minutes

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Do you know that when it comes to your car, the alternator is a part that puts in some serious hours? It’s a frequent misunderstanding that the car’s battery is the sole source of electricity when the engine is on. While the engine is operating, the alternator is the part that recharges the car battery and gives power to the vehicle’s electrical components. The alternator converts mechanical energy into electrical energy, allowing you to use things like your car’s headlights, radio, GPS, air conditioner, heater, defroster, power seats, turn signals, dome lights, and power outlets. If it stops working, your car won’t do you much good. The likelihood of an alternator failing rises with the age of a car, so it’s good to know the labor cost to replace the alternator. 

Labor cost to replace alternator

How long should you expect an alternator to last?

The lifespan of an alternator is highly unpredictable as numerous factors impact an alternator’s longevity. For example, how the car is driven, the environment in which it is driven, and the electrical devices that it frequently operates all play a role. As a result, alternators often need to be replaced if you intend to retain your automobile for more years. Most cases, alternators will need to be replaced every 40,000 to 100,000 miles. 

How can you identify the right time to replace the alternator? 

 The following symptoms can indicate the need for a new alternator: 

  • The engine will screech or make other strange noises if the alternator is not spinning smoothly. 
  • The battery’s primary job is to kickstart the engine, but if the alternator isn’t working, the battery won’t get charged. So, if your battery suddenly dies, it could indicate that your alternator is malfunctioning. 
  • An alternator that is not in good condition may cause your headlights to be less bright. 
  • A failed alternator can produce warning lights such as check engine lights. 
  • A malfunctioned alternator results in several electrical issues as the alternator is the one that supplies electrical power to the car. 

How much is the labor cost to replace an alternator?

Including parts and labor, the typical cost to replace an alternator in a car is about $400. 

You may expect to pay at least $500 if you visit a dealership. This is because they normally employ OEM (original equipment manufacturer) components rather than aftermarket ones. Furthermore, their prices are typically higher than those of a neighborhood garage. 

Now to help you know more about the cost details, we’ll break down the average cost of $400. Then, you can have the right conversation with your technician about this work through adequate knowledge. The price division is as follows: 

  • Alternators can be changed out in two to three hours. That’s roughly $200 in labor costs, giving or taking, depending on how much the mechanic charges per hour. 
  • An original equipment manufacturer (OEM) alternator will cost around $200 to $350. However, if you’re willing to use an aftermarket component, you can save yourself $100-$200. 
  • During the inspection, your mechanic may also find that the battery or serpentine belt needs to be replaced. Due to this, your price may increase by an additional $50-$150. 

Which parts need replacement along with the alternator?  

The working of the alternator is directly linked with the functioning of many other parts. Its malfunctioning can adversely affect the performance of many other parts. The various parts that you might require replacement are: 

Serpentine belt  

A serpentine belt is what drives the alternator. A serpentine belt, also known as a drive belt, turns the vehicle’s primary pulleys, and it gets removed whenever the alternator is serviced or replaced.  

If the belt hasn’t been changed in a while, or if it’s cracked or worn, now is the time to do it. Because taking off the alternator is a necessary step in the process, the only additional expense will be the belt itself.  

Alternator plugs 

An occasional change of alternator plugs in your wire harness takes place as well. This is only if the plastic plug has degraded or melted due to high temperatures. 


The battery is the last component that can need to be replaced after replacing the alternator. Turning the ignition on and the engine turning over uses a significant amount of battery power. It would only be good for a couple of cranks if the alternator weren’t constantly topping it out with power. 

But even if your car’s alternator gives out, you’ll still need electricity to run the rest of the vehicle’s systems. Your battery is where it looks for this juice. As a result of the alternator not charging the battery, the cells inside the battery could die. Occasionally, you’ll get lucky, and the battery will hold up under stress. Typically, before starting any work, the technician performs a fast test to determine any issues. 

Is it a smart idea to purchase a used alternator? 

This is one of the worst possible choices that you could make. Buying a used electrical component is risky because they typically do not come with warranties. This holds for refurbished alternators as well.  

Never confuse rebuilt with remanufactured. A rebuilt alternator is an alternator that has previously failed but had its faulty internal components replaced. In most cases, a remanufactured alternator will have brand-new internal components but a previously used outer shell. If something breaks inside, it gets replaced, no matter how minor. If you’re looking to save money, remanufactured is a better option than new; avoid using rebuilt and used ones. 

Is it worth having car insurance? 

Keep your car secured by getting the right auto insurance which benefits you when your alternator gets damaged due to a car crash. In any case, you can still rely heavily on the aid of your insurance policy. You can get towed to the closest repair shop if your policy includes roadside assistance. This is useful if your alternator fails and you find yourself stranded. There’s no telling when an alternator failure will occur, so having reliable coverage is essential. 

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