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

(7,113)

Rating Summary
6,722
217
43
29
102
6,722
217
43
29
102

Attila

19 years of experience
906 reviews
Attila
19 years of experience
Infiniti G37 V6-3.7L - Alternator - Basking Ridge, New Jersey
He was faced with a difficult situation due to unexpected rusted bolts, poor access, etc. but he got the job done on time and on budget.
Honda Accord - Alternator - Scotch Plains, New Jersey
Mr. Paniti was punctual and very professional. He kept me up to date on what was going on. He had to go pick up the right alternator, he called me and informed me of the situation. The car started and he made some recommendations. Great service Thanks

Collins

12 years of experience
488 reviews
Collins
12 years of experience
Acura RL V6-3.5L - Alternator Repair - Atlanta, Georgia
Collins is a true professional. Arrived on time and answered all of my questions. I would use him again.
Nissan Altima - Alternator - Atlanta, Georgia
Collins was incredibly kind, professional, and went above and beyond to get my car running. So thankful to God of all the mechanics that I was blessed with him. ❤️❤️❤️ Thank you 

Thomas

12 years of experience
96 reviews
Thomas
12 years of experience
Jeep Patriot L4-2.4L - Alternator Repair - Grand Prairie, Texas
First time using your mechanic app and Thomas was great! Attentive, kind, and professional. Made sure everything was good to go before leaving.
Honda Civic - Alternator - Fort Worth, Texas
Thomas was very knowledgeable in both mechanical and electrical issues with my car. He was great with explanation of the issue, as well as making the repairs to my car efficiently. I highly recommend him as a mobile mechanic to anyone I know!

Robert

20 years of experience
1089 reviews
Robert
20 years of experience
Mercedes-Benz C300 V6-3.0L - Alternator - Thornton, Colorado
Was on time and completed the job to my satisfaction. Will use again when any of my cars or trucks needs work done to them. Thank you.
Toyota FJ Cruiser - Alternator - Westminster, Colorado
Robert is a great mechanic, and I will definitely be looking to use him for further work. I used to troubleshoot and work on cars, but I lack the expertise to tackle modern electrical systems. Robert efficiently diagnosed the problem, and fixed the car within the estimated timeframe.

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