Tips & Advice
Is it worth repairing an old alternator or is it better to buy a new one?
In some cases, it's worth repairing an old alternator. If some parts go bad, they can be inexpensive to repair. For example, alternator belts can be quite cheap, and parts and labor for handling this repair will run you between $100 and $125 for most vehicles, which is significantly less than the cost of a new alternator. If the total cost of the repair exceeds 50 percent of the cost of replacing the alternator, it makes sense to invest in a new alternator.
How long can a car run on a bad alternator?
If your car's alternator has gone bad, you may be able to squeeze in a short journey, but the car's battery will drain very quickly without the alternator's support. Stop-and-go traffic will place even more pressure on the battery, and so will using auxiliary items such as the radio, air conditioning, heater, windshield wipers, and headlights.
What is a one-wire alternator?
A one-wire alternator is a type of alternator that can be easily put into place with the installation of a single wire. The key benefit that these alternators bring is that they are simple to install. However, many one-wire alternators provide low output when the car's engine is idle, and this can burden the car's electrical system if you're idling at a red light with the headlights and stereo on. Some one-wire alternators also require you to rev the car's engine to a certain rpm to activate the alternator and begin the charging process.
What is the most common cause of alternator failure?
The most common cause of alternator failure is a weak battery. Your car's alternator works very hard to keep your car's battery fully charged, and, if the battery is weak, it can put a great deal of stress on the alternator. The alternator will increase its output to try and keep the battery charged, and this will eventually overtax the alternator and cause it to fail prematurely.
What is the regulator in an alternator?
Your alternator's regulator is an automotive part that monitors and oversees the process by which your car's battery is charged. The regulator also supports the alternator by reducing the stress that is placed on the alternator's drive belts, tensioning pulley, and bearings. The regulator may be located inside or outside of the alternator's housing.
What is a car alternator?
A car alternator is an automotive component that works as a built-in charger for your car's battery, and it helps provide the power your car's electrical components need to operate. The alternator is located atop your car's engine, and it is rotated by an accessory drive belt. Each time the alternator rotates, it produces electricity.
How much does a new alternator cost?
On average, a new alternator costs $400-$550. However, the cost of this part varies from model to model, and can run as low as $220 to as high as $700 or more. For example, the alternator for a Dodge Caravan will cost roughly $220. At the other end of the spectrum, the alternator for a luxury model such as a Land Rover Range Rover can cost as much as $700.
What are the signs of a bad alternator?
One common sign of a bad alternator is a dead battery or a battery that fails to hold a charge. If your car's lights are dimmer than usual, this might indicate that you have a problem with the alternator. If your car's battery warning light illuminates, this may also be due to a bad alternator.
How much does it cost to repair an alternator?
It can cost anywhere from $120 to $900 to repair a car's alternator. This cost includes both parts and labor and it assumes an hourly labor charge of $70. Many mechanics routinely inspect the car's entire charging system when repairing the alternator, and, if problems are discovered, work may be performed on the vehicle's battery, cable, and drive belts.
How long does it take to repair a car alternator?
It can take anywhere from one to four hours to repair a car's alternator. The length of time it takes will depend on the nature of the problem and the type of car. The mechanic's level of skill and experience is also a factor, and a mechanic who has successfully handled alternator problems in the past will usually be able to get the issue resolved more quickly than one who has not.