How Much Does an Alternator Replacement Cost?

An alternator is one of a vehicle’s most hardworking components. It’s a frequent misperception that your vehicle’s battery is what keeps you powered up while it’s operating. While the vehicle is running, the alternator not only gives electricity to all of your vehicle’s electrical components but also recharges your car battery. An alternator makes everything operate by converting mechanical energy into electrical energy every time you use your headlights, radio, GPS, air conditioner, heater, defroster, power seats, turn signal, dome lights, or power outlets.

how to replace an alternator

Your car, of course, will not work if it dies. As a result, its replacement is a top priority. Here’s how much it costs to replace an alternator to keep you prepared for future alternator failure (which becomes more likely as a car becomes older). This article will also introduce you to steps on how to change an alternator and how much it costs to replace an alternator.


Read more:  Understanding vehicle electrical system


Ways to Replace an Alternator

The following steps are the common ways to replace an alternator:

  • Disconnect the Battery.
  • Disconnect the Wires.
  • Remove the Belt from the Pulley.
  • Remove Bolts.
  • Halfway There.
  • Examine the Replacement.
  • Reverse the Removal Steps.

Disconnect the Battery.

The first and most critical step is to unplug the battery. Your alternator may have multiple wires or only one, but rest assured that one of them is hot.

If you don’t detach the batteries first, you’ll almost certainly ground a live wire in the process. This has a variety of negative consequences, the most serious of which is that it gives you a rude awakening.

Disconnect the Wires.

Disconnect the wire or wires from the back of the alternator now that the battery is out of the way. This is normally an easy procedure, but if you’re not sure where they should go, identify them as you release them.

Remove the Belt from the Pulley.

Every project has a stumbling block, and the alternator replacement project’s stumbling block is removing the belt from the pulley. A tensioner pulley can be found somewhere in your car. To get the belt off the pulley, you’ll need to move it enough. The normal spring-loaded GM tensioner on our 1995 GMC required us to pull it back with a wrench.

Screw-type or rod-end tensioners apply tension by rotating a bolt through threads to increase or reduce the length of a rod on various cars. Simply crank the bolt/rod-end with a wrench or socket until enough tension is released to allow you to remove the belt.

We used a Craftsman 17mm Cross Force wrench and applied a lot of force. Normally, that would be a horrible experience, but the Cross Force was created just for such a scenario.

The Cross Force wrenches have a 90-degree twist in the center, so you end up pushing on a level surface. As a result, we were able to push ourselves further without feeling uncomfortable. So, we just got down to business, and the belt fell loose.

Remove Bolts.

Simply remove the nuts that link the alternator to the bracket once the belt has been removed, and you’re ready to go. Three bolts had to be removed on our model: one in the front and two in the back.

Halfway There.

You’re halfway there with the old alternator in your palm. Because you already know what size the bolt heads are and where everything is, you’ll probably find that putting the new one in goes considerably faster.

Examine the Replacement.

Before reassembly, inspect the replacement unit to ensure it will function for your application. Our replacement came from a junkyard, so it’s a lot dirtier to deal with, but it does have the advantage of actually working, which is a huge improvement over our old damaged unit.

Reverse the Removal Steps.

Reverse the removal stages to finish the project, taking special attention to belt routing and tensioning. Even if you bought a set of Cross Force wrenches for the job, you’d save hundreds of dollars above what a shop would charge, plus you’d get some new equipment in the process. We can imagine considerably worse scenarios.


Read more: 7 signs of bad or faulty alternator


Watch the video below to learn how to replace an alternator:


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How much does an alternator replacement cost?

The average cost of replacing an alternator is between $573 and $742. The cost of labor is projected to be between $123 and $155, with parts costing between $451 and $587. This range excludes taxes and fees, as well as your individual car and geographic region. Repairs to the surrounding area may also be required.

When you start to notice certain problems, it’s time to replace your alternator. You may get this work done at your neighborhood auto shop. However, be prepared to pay a large fee. New alternator ranges between 200 – 500 dollars and labor cost can range between 100 – 200 dollars.

Prices may vary depending on your vehicle’s make, model, and year. Additionally, replacing the alternator yourself may allow you to save even more money. However, you should only do so if you are confident in your abilities to fix vehicles.

Should I drive with a bad alternator?

While it is technically possible to drive with a defective alternator, it is not recommended. The alternator is in charge of charging the battery. As a result, when the battery starts to fail, it drains more quickly. You may also need to pay for a new battery in addition to the alternator replacement.


Read more: Understanding alternator


Must I replace the battery when replacing a bad alternator?

Your serpentine belt drives your alternator. A serpentine belt, also known as a drive belt, is used to drive the primary pulleys on nearly all late-model automobiles, and it must be removed in order to remove the alternator.

If the belt hasn’t been replaced in a while or is exhibiting indications of wear or breaking, now is the time to do so. The purchase of the belt will be the only additional cost because the alternator will be removed as part of the labor.

The wire harness plug that connects to your alternator is occasionally replaced as well. This is only the case when the plastic plug has deteriorated or melted due to severe heat. Along with your alternator, your battery is the last item that may need to be replaced.

Starting your car consumes a significant amount of energy from your battery. It would barely last a few starts if the alternator wasn’t constantly recharging it. Your vehicle will still require power to operate if your alternator fails. This power will be found in your battery. Unfortunately, without your alternator operating to recharge it, your battery’s cells may suffer harm. If you’re lucky, the battery will survive the stress. Before the work begins, the technician usually finds out with a simple test.

When the battery is on reserve, you don’t have much time; a 12v battery will normally run for 30 minutes to an hour after the alternator has ceased working. In this instance, it’s recommended to go to the local auto shop and have your alternator replaced right away.

Will insurance cover an alternator replacement?

Alternators are prone to failure due to normal wear and tear. As a result, most insurance policies do not cover the expense of a replacement. The alternator would be the lone exception if it had been damaged in a car accident.

Your insurance policy may still be of great assistance to you. You can be towed to the nearest shop if you have a policy that includes roadside assistance. If your alternator fails and you’re stranded on the side of the road, this will come in handy. You never know when a bad alternator will hit, so having a reliable insurance policy is essential!


The alternator is a vital component of your car that performs a variety of purposes. Understanding the warning signals of a failing alternator, as well as the cost of a new one, will help you plan ahead for when your vehicle’s alternator needs to be replaced. These repair prices can also vary depending on geographic region and vehicle make and model; these figures are averages, not real prices quoted at any particular car repair business.


Read more: Understanding the working of Battery ignition system


That is all for this article, where the cost of an alternator replacement, and how to replace an alternator are been discussed. Some questions are also answered. I hope you learn a lot from the reading, if so, kindly share with other students. Thanks for reading, see you around!