Alternator Repair Cost

Updated 3 days ago

When your car starts having electrical problems, it's a sign you need an alternator replacement. Considering the price of a new alternator as well as labor, you should expect to spend anywhere between $500 and $1,000 to get a new one for your vehicle.

What's an alternator?

All cars with internal combustion engines have alternators. It's a small generator of electricity that's bolted to the engine. It's the component responsible for charging the battery and supplying power throughout your vehicle. Without it, you have trouble using lights, climate controls, and the radio.

Signs your alternator is beginning to fail

Most alternators are designed to last for 10 to 15 years without problems. But eventually, you may need to replace it if you notice the following signs:

1. Flickering headlights

Dim or flickering headlights are a clear indicator something is wrong with your car's electrical systems. The flickering often indicates that the alternator is having problems performing. You need to replace it before your lights become unusable.

2. Dead battery

Batteries die on their own after 3 to 5 years. But if yours dies prematurely, then it could be a result of a faulty alternator. This is due to the fact the battery had to drain itself in order to recharge the alternator.

3. Stalling

Your car needs both gasoline and electricity to run. The alternator gives the spark plugs sufficient power to ignite gasoline in the engine to get the car running. In the event your car stalls for seemingly no reason, you should take a look at the alternator. Before you know it, your car won't start at all.

4. Strange sounds

A lot of faulty car parts result in odd noises. But if you hear something that sounds like rattling, then it might be the bearings in the engine failing due to the alternator.

5. Additional electrical issues

Many parts in your car run on electricity. If you have any issues operating the windows, locks, or air conditioning, then you should take your vehicle into an auto shop to get the alternator checked out.

How much does it cost to replace an alternator?

When you start noticing certain issues, it's time for an alternator replacement. You can go to your local auto shop to get this work done. But you should be prepared for a hefty bill.

  • New alternator: $200 - $500
  • Labor: $100 - $200

Your prices may vary depending on the make, model, and year of your vehicle. Additionally, you may be able to save even more money by replacing the alternator yourself. But you should only do that if you're confident in your ability to do vehicle repairs.

Can I still drive with a bad alternator?

While you can technically still drive with a faulty alternator, it's ill-advised. The alternator charges the battery. So when it starts to go bad, the battery drains more quickly. In addition to needing a new alternator, you may also need to pay for a new battery on top of it.

You don't have much time when the battery is on its reserve, a 12v battery typically runs for roughly 30 minutes to an hour after the alternator has stopped working. In this case, it's best to immediately drive to the nearest auto shop to have your alternator replaced.

Will insurance cover an alternator replacement?

Alternators usually die from normal wear and tear. As a result, insurance policies typically don't cover the cost of a new one. The only exception would be if the alternator was damaged in a car crash.

Your insurance policy can still help you out immensely. When you have a policy that comes with roadside assistance, you can get towed to the nearest shop. This comes in handy if a bad alternator leaves you stranded on the side of the road. You never know when a bad alternator may strike, so having an insurance policy that you can depend on is key!

When the time comes, can I rely on my insurance?

When it comes to car insurance, there are several factors to consider beyond monthly cost. A policy that covers you when you need it, has a low deductible, and offers several discounts can be hard to find - which is why we've done the work for you.

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