How much does it cost to repair a car alternator?
The alternator allows your vehicle’s massive network of electrical systems to work smoothly while the engine is running, and as such, a malfunctioning alternator can leave you stranded. Your car’s battery can only do so much, but thankfully car alternators are sturdy and long-lasting machines; they should live for approximately 7 to 10 years, and modern cars are decked out with plenty of warning signs to alert you of when your alternator requires repairs. If you’re in need of alternator repairs, DingGo is here to help—we’ve broken down all the must-knows about car alternator repair, including:
- The warning signs of an alternator in need of repair
- What a car alternator repair entails
- The cost of repairing a car alternator
- How to prevent the need for alternator repair
Image by TheCarColony
What are the warning signs that my car alternator needs repairs?
There is no question that a failing alternator is a total pain, so basically every vehicle will let you know well in advance if there’s a problem. Here are some of the signs to be mindful of:
Battery light appearing on dashboard (this is
typically the telltale red flag that your alternator isn’t working properly);
- Headlights and interior lights dimming or appearing overly bright;
- Flat battery/battery not holding a charge;
- Slow accessories (i.e. speedometer moving erratically, windows taking longer than usual to wind up or down);
- Trouble starting;
- Whining noises coming from under the bonnet.
While every vehicle is a little different, the general rule of thumb is: if something feels a little off or slow mechanically when you’re behind the wheel, take your car to a technician and get your alternator checked as soon as possible.
What is involved in repairing a car alternator?
If your alternator is having trouble providing energy to your car, it will most likely be replaced rather than repaired.
When an alternator is replaced, the technician will first inspect and test the alternator output, charging system, and drive belts. They will disconnect the battery, then remove and replace the alternator. Finally, they will reconnect the battery and test the output again to ensure everything is now running smoothly.
How much does repairing a car alternator cost?
The cost of car alternator repairs depends on whether other parts of the system need to be removed to access the alternator, as well as the type of alternator you want. On average car alternator repairs cost $400 to $900, with the possibility of an increase depending on the aforementioned factors. Car alternators are always going to be under the bonnet of your car, but some are harder to get to than others; expect to pay more if your technician needs to do a little digging to safely replace it.
As a money-saving measure, you might be presented with the opportunity to purchase a rebuilt alternator as opposed to an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) alternator. A rebuilt alternator is an alternator comprised of used parts, but the defective components have been repaired or replaced.
While this is a cheaper option, going with a rebuilt alternator naturally poses a greater risk than purchasing a new one. It’s a given that the rebuilt alternator would not be in mint condition like an OEM alternator would, and when it’s such an essential part of your car running smoothly (not to mention safely), is it worth the slightly lower price point?
If you do choose to go down the rebuilt road, make sure you find a skilled alternator rebuilder who can give you an honest and rigorous assessment.
Your car literally couldn’t run without a working alternator, and DingGo can provide you with all your repair needs. Use our quick quotes service today.