How to Buy a Good Quality Alternator

The alternator is one of those parts that, when it malfunctions, can leave you high and dry by the side of the road. This essential component of your vehicle’s systems turns mechanical energy into electrical energy, which in turn, powers electrical systems in the car. Most importantly, the alternator charges the battery, which is why when this part goes bad you will not be able to start your car.

Most alternators eventually just wear out. Signs that your alternator needs replacing include:

  • Illuminated “ALT” light on the dash
  • Squealing, whining, or growling due to a bad belt or bearings in the connection between the alternator and the crankshaft
  • Rough idling or other abnormal engine behavior
  • Lights dimming or flickering due to the interruption in electrical power

How to make sure you’re getting a good quality alternator:

  • Check the part number: The required information for getting the correct part can usually be located on the alternator itself. If not, call a dealership with your VIN and they will tell you exactly which one you need.

  • Purchase from a reputable dealer: This is one part you don’t want to have to replace frequently, so whether you’re buying online or in a brick-and-mortar store, make sure you’re purchasing from a well-respected source.

  • Get the longest warranty possible: Defective alternators aren’t unheard of, and the repair is intensive and expensive enough that you’ll want the best possible guarantee that your part is high quality and will be replaced if it malfunctions.

  • Shake the alternator: It sounds odd, but if there’s any kind of rattling or clicking, ask for a different one.

Alternators can run anywhere from $100 to several hundred dollars new, so this is one part that you may consider purchasing as a rebuilt. If you do go this route, consider these precautions:

  • Use a voltmeter to power test the rebuilt part. If you buy from a store, have them test it for you.

  • Get a warranty. Even rebuilts can come with warranties, and particularly in the case of refurbished parts, you want that extra assurance.

  • Know the source. Find out where the alternator came from, if at all possible. Even a reconditioned part only has a limited number of miles that it will last, so if it’s fairly close to the end of its life you’re better off investing in a new one.

YourMechanic supplies top-quality alternators to our certified mobile technicians. We can also install a alternator that you've purchased. Click here to get a quote and more information on alternator replacement..


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Recent Alternator Repair reviews

Excellent Rating

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Rating Summary
5,952
198
39
27
88
5,952
198
39
27
88

Jeremy

20 years of experience
455 reviews
Jeremy
20 years of experience
Toyota Corolla L4-1.8L - Alternator - West Palm Beach, Florida
Great experience, was able to have car fixed sooner than expected and the price was very reasonable.
Jeep Cherokee - Alternator Repair - West Palm Beach, Florida
As usual, Jeremy was on time and did a great job!! He's quick and efficient!! This is my third encounter, so he's consistent as well! He's my guy! Zach

Darnell

19 years of experience
11 reviews
Darnell
19 years of experience
Jeep Wrangler V6-3.8L - Alternator - Culver City, California
Darnell was very professional, friendly, and he clearly communicated all the important information so I knew what was happening with my repair.

Aurelio

36 years of experience
43 reviews
Aurelio
36 years of experience
Buick Lucerne V6-3.8L - Alternator - San Antonio, Texas
Aurelio is the best mechanic I have ever met. Trustworthy and professional! I will definitely recommend this service and Aurelio to everyone I know! Thank you for the excellent service. This is the first time that I used a mobile mechanic. No regrets!!!

James

30 years of experience
761 reviews
James
30 years of experience
BMW 528e L6-2.7L - Alternator - Windermere, Florida
James, Recently serviced my BMW 528e and put in a new alternator and help troubleshoot shoot a problem with my back windows. I would hire him again. Does outstanding work.

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