How much does it cost to replace an alternator? There are two key factors to consider when this component gets busted: the cost of the part and the cost of labor, which can vary depending on which mechanic you choose.
Here’s how to know if your alternator needs replacing and how much you can expect to pay for the work.
Your alternator is a key component of your car. Not only does it power your vehicle while it’s running; it also ensures your battery recharges when the engine is off. Everything from your headlights to your air conditioning to your power seats to your turn signals require an alternator to work.
Signs of a Bad Alternator
There are several things you may notice if your alternator is failing. Your headlights and dashboard lights may look dim. The car might not readily start, or it might stall. If you use accessory mode, you may notice things don’t work as expected, such as power seats and windows operating unusually slow. The biggest warning sign is an illuminated warning light on your instrument cluster.
How Much Does It Cost to Replace an Alternator?
The cost of an alternator varies between cars. While there are more affordable options that will work in some cars, budget for around $350. Note that you may need to have other parts, such as the serpentine belt, replaced at the same time. This would add $50 or so to the total cost.
Don’t 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, that’s another $125–$200 an hour. You can do this yourself, but it can be a tricky job. It’s 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 won’t run if the alternator fails, so pay attention to the warning signs and budget for the repair so you’re not left with a car that won’t 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.
Photo courtesy Flickr.
Nicole Wakelin covers the automotive industry as a freelance journalist for a variety of outlets. Her work includes news pieces, podcasts, radio, written reviews, and video reviews. She can be found in The Boston Globe, CarGurus, BestRide, US News and World Report, and AAA along with lifestyle blogs like Be Car Chic, The Other PTA, and She Buys Cars. She is active on social media with a large following on both Twitter and Instagram and currently serves as Vice President of the New England Motor Press Association.