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Q: Mechanic says I need a new alternator but I don't have any problems with car starting. Should I wait until there is a problem ?

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I took my car to local oil changeplace. They noticed that my coolant hoses needed to be replaced. They couldn't fix it because they were closing in a couple of hours but they would do it next day. I went up the street to my local Dodge dealership. They said I needed new coolant hoses, an alternator, about 4 different gaskets, thermostat, new radiator hose, and serpentine belt. Total $3800! My question is do you think these things are dealership overkill? Wouldn't the STS guys have seen these things too?

My car has 174000 miles.
My car's transmission is unknown to me.

A: The STS mechanic may not be as qualified as...

The STS mechanic may not be as qualified as a Dodge trained mechanic. I cannot be sure but most if not all oil change only places do not employ master mechanics. I can understand the reasoning for the gaskets, hoses, and belt being replaced, but the alternator would be questioned as to why it needs replaced. Sometimes when coolant gets into the alternator it can short it out. If the alternator has not gone bad yet then it could be removed and flushed with fresh water. Once it's dried you can see if it can be salvaged. If you'd like a second opinion on this, consider YourMechanic, as a certified mechanic can diagnose your alternator and replace it as necessary.

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