How Long Does an Alternator Last?

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.


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5,236
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Tinashe

12 years of experience
384 reviews
Tinashe
12 years of experience
Kia Optima - Alternator - Canton, Georgia
He was early and got my car fixed quickly! We will definitely be using this service again! Thank you for the help!
Volkswagen Jetta - Alternator - Atlanta, Georgia
Tinashe was very professional and courteous. He was able to install the alternator in my car in a timely fashion. Thank you for your help.

Matt

14 years of experience
80 reviews
Matt
14 years of experience
Chrysler Aspen - Alternator - Scottsdale, Arizona
Matt did a awesome job on my vehicle very trustworthy I'm very appreciative of the job he did will be keeping in touch
Jeep Wrangler - Alternator Repair - Mesa, Arizona
Amazing!! Thank you again for your help with my jeep. Your advice was priceless. I will be booking time with you soon to address all of the recommended fixes. Thank you again Matt, you have no idea how much I appreciate your time.

Marco

28 years of experience
55 reviews
Marco
28 years of experience
Volvo XC90 - Alternator - Upland, California
Very friendly and knowledgeable mechanic. He fixed up my car quickly and effectively, and gave great recommendations for future maintenance.

Matthew

32 years of experience
828 reviews
Matthew
32 years of experience
Toyota Camry - Alternator - Norfolk, Virginia
I was more than satisfied with Matt’s service on my 2007 Camry. He was able to arrive early and made sure that I was available. I thought my alternator needed to be changed. He asked a few questions about the symptoms and agreed that it was indeed the problem. His workmanship is certainly admirable. He went above and beyond when he made it easy for me to get to my radiator cap!!!!!

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