In this article, we’ll look at some ways to save money on an alternator replacement, alternator repair cost and what you can expect from the service itself.
What is an alternator?
An alternator is a belt-driven component found in your car’s engine compartment that charges the battery and powers the electrical system. Belts connect it to features like the crankshaft, power steering pump, air conditioning compressor, and water pump. When any parts malfunction or break down, you will feel symptoms like your headlights dimming or flickering after turning off the ignition.
The average life expectancy for a car’s alternator is anywhere from 30,000-100,000 miles depending on your driving habits and the quality of the part itself. There’s a reason why you’re able to buy a replacement alternator at AutoZone or Pep Boys for around $100-200 – they are cheap! The manufacturers that make this component have an incentive to keep costs as low as possible so more people can afford their product, but this is also bad news for consumers. Cheap parts will break down quickly, so you should expect to pay even more to replace your car’s alternator shortly.
Alternator repair cost
A car alternator is like the heart of your vehicle’s electrical system, and when it goes wrong, it can be costly to repair. But how much does an alternator cost? Prices vary widely; however, you should expect to pay $200 or more for an OEM part and about $125 for a remanufactured one. On average, you’ll spend anywhere from $300-$450 to replace your car’s alternator.
The total price depends on your location and the type of artistry included in the service. For example, installation charges add up quickly if you have to take the entire engine apart just to reach the belt-driven component that needs replacing. Also, you will pay more if the mechanic performs a diagnostic test.
Car alternator cost by car make and model
As we stated before, many factors determine how much a new alternator will cost – one of them being the year, make, and model of your vehicle. It is not uncommon for a mechanic to charge you the same amount to replace your car’s alternator as it would cost to buy that car all over again, and this can add up very quickly if your engine size is above average.
- Acura RL 2004 $290+
- Audi A4 2000-2004 $490+
- BMW 325Ci 2002 $340+
- Honda Civic 2001 $250+
- Honda CRV 1997-2001 $370+
These estimates are based on an OEM replacement part and do not include installation charges or diagnostic tests. For more accurate quotes, please consult your local mechanic or parts store. These figures come from Edmunds, who surveyed their users about the approximate cost of installing a new alternator.
Alternators are not cheap to repair, but depending on how much work your engine needs, you might be better off replacing it altogether. For example, installing aftermarket belts and hoses would be more expensive than just buying an OEM replacement and calling it a day. If you can afford to pay for immediate repairs rather than putting them off until later, go ahead and get your car’s alternator replaced right away so you can save money in the long run.
How much does it cost to have an alternator replaced?
The amount of time and materials that go into repairing or replacing your vehicle’s alternator will determine the final price tag. Here is a general idea of how much a mechanic should charge to replace your car’s alternator:
- Installation Charges: $75-$150+ depending on parts required
- Diagnostic Test Charge: $50-$100+
The cost of labor varies significantly from place to place, but here are some examples of how much it should cost per hour for an experienced mechanic to replace your car’s alternator at the following locations:
- Mechanicsburg, PA – $70/hr
- New York City, NY – $120/hr
How to save money on an alternator replacement service?
As you can see from our previous section, replacing a car’s alternator be expensive. However, there are ways to cut down on the total cost of this service, which you should consider before taking your vehicle into the shop.
1. Purchase an OEM replacement part
The dealer will charge you more for their parts than other retailers because they are exclusive to their brand name vehicles, so be sure to do your research beforehand. “Aftermarket” parts are much cheaper at places like Auto-zone or Pep Boys because these companies buy excess stock from automotive manufacturers and sell it at a discounted price. However, there is no way of knowing how long that part will last since it wasn’t explicitly designed for your car’s make and model, but if you’re looking for a quick fix, it could save you tons of cash!
2. Check online for voucher codes
We all know that auto shops and parts stores love to advertise their discounts during the slow season, so take advantage of coupons and free shipping offers! Take your time when shopping around and compare prices before purchasing for the best value.
3. Use small local businesses whenever possible
Mechanics don’t have the exact overhead costs as big corporations, so they can always charge lower prices to stay competitive in their area. Make sure you ask about labor pricing before committing to anything – even if it’s with a smaller business.
How does an alternator function, and what is it?
The primary purpose of the DC voltage produced by the alternator while it spins is to charge the car battery. The battery supplies the substantial current needed to start the car’s engine. The alternator helps by providing energy to power the vehicle’s electrical systems once it is moving.
Parts required for alternator replacement
There are a few different types of alternators available, so it’s essential to choose a replacement part that will work with your car’s make and model. The following list outlines how much it should cost to purchase a new alternator from an authorized dealer or online retailer at either AutoZone or Amazon, as well as the installation fee charged by mechanics in various locations across the country:
- Mechanicsburg, PA – $180+
- New York City, NY – $170+
- San Francisco, CA – $120+