Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls
  1. Home
  2. Articles
  3. How Long Does an Alternator Last?

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

How to Find the Keyless Code on a Ford Explorer or Mercury Mountaineer
Many Ford Explorers and Mercury Mountaineers were manufactured with an option known as the Ford keyless entry keypad. Some models refer to it as SecuriCode as well. It...
P0240 OBD-II Trouble Code: Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance
P0240 code definition Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance What the P0240 code means P0240 is an OBD-II generic code triggered when the Engine Control Module (ECM) detects the intake boost...
How to Buy Fuel Treatments
Adding a fuel additive to your gas tank when you fill up is one way to clean vital engine parts of deposits, improve the performance of your engine,...

Related questions

Q: Car Won't Start went

Hello, thanks for writing in about your Ford Explorer. You would know if the alternator was at fault if it died while you were driving it and then would not crank. I would suggest replacing the battery and then have...

Q: Starter, alternator, or battery?

Hi there. In most cases, when you're pulling less than 15 volts from the alternator the issue is caused by an internal component failure within the alternator itself or the alternator relay. If the starter is not receiving the correct...

Q: Q: Lights won't turn off

This is an issue with the electronic system, which is controlled by computers such as a (BCM) body control module. The correct voltages and inputs have to be in order or issues like this can happen. The first step is...