Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

How Long Does an Alternator Last?

alternator

Your alternator is a vital component in your car. It recharges your battery, using engine power, and it also delivers power to your car’s electrical components. Essentially, it keeps the battery from losing charge, and of course if your battery dies, your car is simply not going to work.

You ask a lot of your alternator these days. In times gone by, it didn’t have to do much more than just power your headlights, and a few accessories like your radio. But think about all the accessories your car comes with today – entertainment systems, for instance, use up a lot of power, and then you probably also have on-board navigation, power windows, power mirrors, and perhaps even heated seats. All these “extras” need to receive power from your alternator. So, your alternator works every day, from the moment you start up your car until you turn it off. And if your alternator is failing, you will need to replace it.

Many factors can affect the life of your alternator, so it is difficult to say how long you can expect it to last. It will not usually last the life of your car, though. For one thing, the alternator’s rotor spins on a needle bearing, and this is a component that can break due to wear, or a buildup of dirt. The diodes in the voltage regulator can also fail, and engine heat puts strain on the alternator. Generally speaking, you can expect your car alternator to last anywhere between 40,000 and 100,000 miles.

Signs that your alternator is wearing out include:

  • Loss of power to various accessories when your car is idling
  • Dimming headlights
  • Dimming dashboard lights
  • ALT or GEN light is on

If you notice any of these symptoms, you should have your alternator checked. A professional mechanic can diagnose the problem with your alternator, and replace it if necessary.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

Insurance Requirements for Car Registration in Kentucky
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet requires that all drivers in Kentucky carry liability automotive insurance, or “financial responsibility” in order to operate a vehicle legally and maintain vehicle...
Veteran and Military Driver Laws and Benefits in New Mexico
The state of New Mexico offers a number of benefits and perks for those Americans who have either served in an Armed Forces branch...
How to Avoid Back Pain in a Car
If you have back problems, sitting in a car for an extended period of time can be excruciating. Even without back problems, you could experience discomfort and soreness from...


Related questions

Q: Can I use a altinator off any year altima on my 1998 altima

Hello. Thank you for writing in. The alternators that are compatible with your vehicle are typically the Nissan Ultima years 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2001. What you want to pay attention to is the bolt patterns. Make sure the alternator...

Q: Battery light on while driving but then goes off?

This may be a sign of a failing alternator. As you may know, the alternator is responsible for charging the battery while the engine runs by generating amperage and recharging the battery while the engine turns the alternator. The voltage...

Q: Head gasket, alternator, engine

I would recommend getting a quote for each of these repairs and comparing it to an engine replacement. It would be hard to tell without seeing the vehicle firsthand whether or not repairing those two items will resolve the problem....