Alternator Repair Options And Which You Should Choose

It is important to recognize the signs of a faulty alternator and take steps to fix the problem as soon as possible. This can save you time, money, and potentially dangerous situations on the road.

In this blog post, we will discuss the symptoms, causes, and repair options for alternator problems, as well as tips for preventing alternator issues in the first place.

Let’s get started!

What Are The Signs Of A Bad Alternator?

The following are common symptoms of a bad alternator.

  1. Dead battery – If the alternator is not working correctly, it could be prevented from charging the battery and eventually resulting in it failing.
  2. Dim headlights – A malfunctioning alternator can impede the amount of power being supplied to the electrical system, resulting in headlights not shining as brightly as usual.
  3. Strange noises coming from the alternator – An alternator on the brink of malfunctioning may emit strange sounds, including but not limited to shrill squeals or deep grinding noises.
  4. Difficulty starting the car – If the alternator is not operating as intended, it could lead to the battery not having enough energy to get your car going.
  5. Electrical issues – If the alternator is not operating correctly, it can lead to trouble with other electric components in your car like the stereo or electricity-powered windows.
  6. Warning light on the dashboard – In today’s vehicles, a warning illumination on the instrument panel is an alert of a potential fault with the alternator. If this signal light appears, it might be that something is wrong with the alternator system.

If you see these signs, it’s likely that your alternator is damaged and needs to be replaced.

Even if it does not make you stranded on the side of the road today, repairing it now will help prevent a more serious problem from happening in the future.

We recommend that you repair your car immediately if you recognize any of these signs with one of the alternator repair options below!

Alternator Repair: Options And What You Should Choose?

The following are some options for Alternator Repair

1. Replace The Old Alternator With An Entirely New One:

Replacing the existing alternator may be a viable solution if it is unusable or worn out. But, when selecting a replacement part, caution should be exercised to ensure you’re getting top-notch quality from a reliable provider; buying an inferior one could end up costing more time and money in the long term.

When installing a new alternator in place of an old one, confirming its compatibility with your vehicle is essential. This can be done by examining the manufacturer’s guidelines or asking for assistance from an auto professional.

To guarantee the successful operation of the fresh alternator, it is essential for a trained mechanic to be responsible for its proper installation. Although replacing the current alternator with a new one requires extra expense and effort, it also offers many advantages such as improved performance.

2. Replacing The Old Alternator With A Used Or Refurbished Model

Replacing the aging alternator with a second-hand or reconditioned model may be an economical alternative to buying one fresh.

Nevertheless, it is vital to verify that the pre-owned or refitted alternator is in great shape and has absolutely been verified before fitting. Ensuring that the used or refurbished alternator is appropriate for your car’s make and model is essential.

The downside of installing a previously-owned or restored alternator might involve taking on the chance of purchasing an inefficient or poorly made unit, as well as spending time and energy to put it in.

3. Refurbishing (Repairing) Your Old Alternator

If your alternator is still serving you well, you might be able to take it to a specialist and get it revitalized. This could include replacing broken pieces or components like bearings or belts that show their age.

However, if the wear and tear is too extensive or the cost of repair would exceed benefits, this may not be an option for you.

Regardless of which repair option you choose, it’s important to consult with a professional mechanic or auto repair shop to determine the best course of action for your specific situation.

In any case, it’s important to get a faulty alternator repaired or replaced as soon as possible to avoid any potential issues with your car’s electrical system.

Also Read: How Much Really Does An Alternator Cost?

DIY Options For An Alternator Repair

alternator repair
Credits: kanemme6 / Shutterstock

While it may be tempting to bring your car to a mechanic for repairs, there are actually several DIY options for alternator repair that you can try.

Doing a DIY alternator repair may involve replacing the belts that usually transmit rotating power to the alternator from the engine. Eventually, such belts can become frayed and worn out which could lead to problems with your car’s alternator. To swap out the belt, you’ll need to identify the belt tensioner and use a socket wrench to detach it.

After that, take away the existing belt and supply it with a fresh one. It’s essential to check that it has been rightly adjusted and secured before booting up your engine.

An alternate solution for a homemade alternator repair is switching out of the bearings. The rotors are equipped with components to guarantee quiet running and lengthy operation. When these bearing becomes deteriorated, it can lead to issues concerning the motor’s functioning.

In order to exchange the bearings, you have to take off the alternator from your car and break it down. Subsequently, just eliminate the existing bearings and put in new ones. It is necessary to be mindful while demolishing it and then putting together again so that you don’t harm it.

In addition to swapping out belts and bearings, you can make other repairs without help from outside sources. Tighten the connectors, exchange the diode or check and apply a new voltage regulator – these activities may be slightly more difficult but with appropriate apparatus and understanding, they are quite possible.

DIY repairs on an alternator can be a cost-effective and time-saving option rather than relying on a mechanic. However, it’s important to make sure you correctly identify what the problem is before starting any repair job so that you don’t end up causing more damage. Keep safety in mind when carrying out these kinds of repairs as well for maximum protection of your vehicle.

Watch this video to properly help you repair your alternator

Causes of Alternator Failure

1. Wear and tear over time

As mechanical components are used repeatedly, they can become worn down over time. In relation to alternators this means that some parts, such as the belts and bearings, may fail and render the machine unable to work correctly. This wear and tear is inevitable yet it can cause serious issues if not monitored effectively.

2. Electrical issues

Alternators need electricity to run properly, and any issues with a car’s electrical system can bring about alternator failure. This could result from problems with the battery, wiring, or other electrical parts that provide power to the alternator.

3. Failed bearings

The internals of an alternator relies on the bearings to keep the armature turning accurately. When these components don’t work properly any longer it may lead to a breakdown in functioning, being caused by wear over time, non-maintenance or pollutants.

How Much Does An Alternator Repair Cost?

The cost of replacing your alternator can vary from $300 to $1000 in parts and labor. The car’s make, model, and date of manufacture all come into play when determining the repair price.

If your car model isn’t too recent, you’ll find that repairs to the alternator are easier and less expensive. When it comes to more modern cars, working with the alternator can be quite a bit more expensive because the most recent models usually call for specific tools or knowledge about how to repair or replace them properly.

If you’d like to cut down on the cost of labor, you can carry out the alternator repair yourself using the DIY method mentioned above.

Also Read: What is a Serpentine Belt & When Should You Replace It

Tips for Preventing Alternator Problems

Preventing alternator problems is essential to ensure the smooth functioning of a car’s electrical system. Here are some tips to help prevent alternator problems:

1. Regular maintenance

Maintaining the ideal performance of an alternator requires regular maintenance. Tasks such as replacing worn belts, verifying fluid levels, and cleaning should be done in order to prevent economic damage caused by wear and tear while increasing its longevity.

2. Avoid overloading the electrical system

Putting too much strain on the electrical system can put extra pressure on the alternator, thus resulting in premature wear and tear.

To avert this, be cautious of how many electrical devices you use simultaneously – like running both Air Conditioning and Heating at once. Moreover, take note of how many items are plugged into your car’s power outlets as well.

3. Pay attention to warning signs

If you notice any unusual sounds stemming from the alternator, or if your lights begin to dim, then it could be an indication of a problem. When dealing with these kinds of issues, responding quickly is necessary in order to avoid more significant damage down the line.

By following these tips, you can help prevent alternator problems and ensure that your car’s electrical system is functioning properly. Remember, regular maintenance and paying attention to warning signs can go a long way in preventing issues with the alternator.

Frequently Asked Questions About Alternator Repair

What is an alternator and what does it do?

An alternator is a machine that supplies electricity to the battery and electrical components in a motor vehicle by transforming mechanical power into electrical energy. While the engine is running, it performs this function by recharging the battery and powering its systems.

How do I know if my alternator needs repair?

There are several signs that your alternator may need repair, including:

  1. Dim or flickering headlights
  2. Dead battery
  3. Electrical issues (e.g. radio or power windows not working)
  4. A grinding or squealing noise coming from the alternator
  5. Engine stalling or not starting

How often should I have my alternator checked or replaced?

It is prudent to inspect your alternator after 30,000 miles of driving or sooner depending on the age and condition of your car. Additionally, it’s recommended to have it checked should you encounter any signs mentioned earlier.

Can I replace the alternator myself?

It’s definitely doable to substitute the alternator yourself if you have a beginner understanding of mechanics and the hardware. But, changing it might be intricate so when you inadequately feel in your expertise, then it is strongly advised that you let a professional mechanic handle it.

How much does it cost to repair or replace an alternator?

The fee for adjusting or substituting an alternator can differ drastically depending on the particular car, as well as how bad the problem is. Generally speaking, you should anticipate shelling out somewhere between $400-$800 to fix it and $700-$1,200 to get a new one.

Are there any preventative measures I can take to avoid alternator issues?

Maintaining your vehicle is essential to preventing alternator issues; that includes periodically examining and replacing your battery, as well as interchanging belts & hoses when needed. To ensure peak performance of the electrical system, it’s wise to not pile on too many add-ons.


In conclusion, Keeping your vehicle well-maintained requires periodic alternator repair. Although it may seem intimidating, with the necessary information and tools it can be handled either by a technician or yourself.

It is important to routinely check and take care of your alternator in order for your car to function properly, avoiding any possible issues when driving. If there are signs that suggest malfunctioning, prompt action should be taken to avoid further harm on the roadways.

Scott Greene is a seasoned automotive technician for over 5 years and has been deep into advanced automotive diagnostics for a couple of years. He Loves writing about Automotive Diagnostics and Repair, Trouble codes, Buyer guides for various car parts and accessories, and lots more. 

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