Estimated Cost to Replace a Car’s Alternator

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Your car battery is in charge of getting your car started, after that, its job is mostly done.

From there, the alternator takes over.

Your car’s alternator turns mechanical energy into electricity that powers all the electrical components of your car and charges the battery while the car is running.

With a bad alternator, your car is likely to end up inoperable until you get it replaced.

Replacing such a vital part of your car will cost you a decent amount in both parts and labor.

Let’s find out just how much you can expect to pay to replace your car’s alternator. 

Estimated Cost to Replace a Bad Alternator

Several factors go into determining how much you’ll pay to replace a bad alternator.

You can expect to pay anywhere between $400 to $700 for the entire replacement.

Labor costs to replace an alternator usually float around $200.

The rest of the total cost will involve the price of the alternator itself.

Replacing your bad alternator with an OEM alternator is typically going to be more expensive than replacing it with an aftermarket alternator.

While you might want to save money by purchasing an aftermarket alternator, it’s important to do some research to ensure that you get a quality part.

Keep in mind that the alternator does serve a very important role in keeping your car operable. This is not the best place to skimp on lesser parts to save a few dollars.

How long will the repair take?

It typically takes a professional mechanic about two to three hours to replace an alternator.

Depending on how busy your mechanic is, you can expect to get your car back the same day.

However, keep in mind that a bad alternator often comes with other problems that might need to be addressed.

The serpentine belt and the car battery often need to be replaced when an alternator is replaced.

These issues could slightly increase the time it takes for the entire job to be completed, as well as the price. 

Symptoms of a Bad Alternator

If you are driving and have an alternator that completely fails, you’ll be confronted with a battery warning light, and eventually, your car will stall.

Signs that the alternator may still be functioning, but may need a replacement very soon include:

  • Lights dimmer than normal.
  • Difficulty starting.
  • Car stalling.
  • Check engine light on.
  • Electrical components of the car not working or malfunctioning.

Is it OK to drive your car with a bad alternator?

You can technically drive with a bad alternator, but you should be driving it to the shop to get it replaced.

A failed alternator is going to cause the car not to run, and if you know the alternator is faulty, you’re going to want to get it replaced before it completely dies and you are faced with having to tow the car somewhere to get it repaired.

Remember, ignoring the problem will only lead to more headaches. Get your new alternator as soon as possible and save yourself from further and more serious trouble.