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


Rating Summary


42 years of experience
1589 reviews
42 years of experience
Dodge Charger V6-3.5L - Alternator - Houston, Texas
Ben changed the alternator on my 2010 Dodge Charger today with excellent customer service and ease. He arrived right on time and spared no wait to get started on my car. He was done with the repair after about 45 minutes and did his due diligence to make sure the alternator was charging properly. Will definitely be using this service again and will be requesting Ben!
Ford Focus - Alternator - Houston, Texas
Ben was Awesome!!! He was professional and courteous and had a wealth of experience and knowledge about cars. A real life saver!


47 years of experience
416 reviews
47 years of experience
Cadillac Eldorado V8-4.6L - Alternator - Tulsa, Oklahoma
Walter is literally the best mechanic I’ve ever come across. He went to great lengths and waaaay above call on my car. I got a bunch of his “Your Mechanic” cards, and recommended him to three people already. As long as I am in Tulsa, I will use Walter on all future repairs and maintenance for my 1995 Cadillac Eldorado! Thank you, Walter!
Honda Odyssey - Alternator - Sapulpa, Oklahoma
Very knowledgeable, patient, and great advice. Completed the task in a timely manner. Would recommend again.


8 years of experience
187 reviews
8 years of experience
Jeep Liberty V6-3.7L - Alternator - Tacoma, Washington
Very polite and speedy service. Even though the appointment was delayed by 2 hours, he was so quick that it made up the difference! Thank you!
Mazda 5 - Alternator - Puyallup, Washington
Kevin came early and he fixed my battery light issue! He was super fast and he did amazing with explaining what could have been the issue. As a single mom of 3, he took so much stress off my shoulders today!


21 years of experience
168 reviews
21 years of experience
Dodge Grand Caravan V6-3.6L - Alternator - Miami, Florida
Jose was very attentive, patient and methodical. My impression of Jose is that he knows the value of having loyal clients that keep coming back for the quality work and honesty. So he is upfront and frank about what needs to be done.
Dodge Ram 1500 - Alternator - Miami, Florida
Extremely knowledgeable! Very professional an courteous and takes the time to explain things! Excellent mechanic!!!!

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