Should You Purchase a Rebuilt Alternator? Costs, Pros, and Cons of Choosing a Rebuilt Alternator Over a New One

rebuilt alternatorIs the battery in your car no longer holding a charge? Has your engine died and refused to start back up? If this is the case, you may very well have problems with your vehicle’s alternator, leading you to an important decision: should you purchase a new alternator or go with a cheaper, rebuilt one? As with any choice pertaining to the welfare of your vehicle, choosing an alternator is a significant decision with several factors that must be considered.

Average Cost of a Rebuilt Alternator Versus the Average Cost of a New One


Like many automotive parts, the cost for an alternator largely depends on the make and model of your vehicle. Also, like most other automotive parts, buying a factory replacement won’t be cheap. On average, new alternators can range anywhere from $100 to $350 and up, not including the labor to install it. Fortunately, buying a rebuilt alternator is considerably cheaper, rarely costing more than $100 and often much less. With this much of a difference in cost, purchasing a rebuilt alternator is a highly popular choice for motorists who find themselves in need of the part.


Advantages of a Rebuilt Alternator


Besides the overwhelming difference in cost, purchasing a rebuilt alternator can have several other noteworthy advantages. On top of being cheaper, rebuilt alternators are much easier and quicker to find than rebuilt ones, decreasing the time that you have to go without your vehicle. Another advantage of choosing a rebuilt alternator is that they are usually the same quality as a brand new one. Commonly, the only thing wrong with alternators before they are rebuilt is their brushes, a component that is replaced entirely during the rebuilding process. This makes most rebuilt alternators on par with their more expensive counterparts and makes choosing one a worthy option to consider.


Disadvantages of Purchasing a Rebuilt Alternator


As with most any decision, there are pros and cons of purchasing a rebuilt alternator. One of the most obvious cons is that it may not have the same quality and life-expectancy as a factory replacement. As mentioned, most rebuilt alternators are completely competitive with brand new ones in regards to quality. However, infrequent errors in the process of rebuilding them can sometimes lead to issues with consistency. Because of this, installing a rebuilt alternator (or any rebuilt part for that matter) may constitute a violation to your vehicle’s warranty. If your vehicle is relatively new and still under any warranties, purchasing a rebuilt alternator may not be for you. If, however, you do not fit in this category, choosing to buy a rebuilt alternator is certainly a valid, cost-effective choice.


Without an alternator, a car is just a large chunk of immobile metal, and, unfortunately, alternator failure is a rather common problem. The good news is that there are many viable and cost effective options to get it replaced, making choosing an alternator an experience that can ultimately be a satisfying, pain-free process.


Alternator Replacement: Some Simple Steps

alternator replacementNeed to knock out an alternator replacement project? When you’re alternator isn’t working exactly as it should, you’re going to notice it almost immediately. Your alternator is responsible for powering up the electronics in your vehicle, firing the ignition system, and recharging your battery – all key components of modern vehicles today. Sure, you might feel to get by for a couple of days by jumping your vehicle every time you turn it off, but who wants to deal with all of that headache and hassle. No, you’re probably going to want to tackle an alternator replacement project just as soon as possible. Swapping out the old part for a new one isn’t all that difficult, but even still you might want to consider having experts do the bulk of the work for you. But using the insider information below you’ll be able to determine the next stage of your alternator replacement project all on your own!

Simple steps to replacing your alternator on your own If you are going to handle your alternator replacement on your own, it’s a pretty simple and straightforward process. The actual process that you will go through for your particular vehicle may differ at least a little bit from the steps outlined below, but the general principles are the same. You’re going to want to:

  • Disconnect the battery cables completely
  • Find your alternator (usually near the fan belts at the front of your engine)
  • Separate the serpentine belt with a tool to move it off of the alternator pulley
  • Remove the bolts that hold the alternator in place
  • Pullout the old alternator, unplugging the system completely
  • Reverse the process to install your new alternate
  • Fire up your vehicle and pat yourself on the back for tackling the alternator replacement project on your own!

It really is that easy, and with just a couple of household tools – and a bit of common sense – you should have no trouble doing the work on your own in an hour or less in your driveway or garage.

Does it make sense to have a mechanic tackle the project for you? On the other hand, not everyone is completely comfortable poking around underneath the hood of their own vehicle. If you aren’t that wild about handling this kind of project, or want absolutely nothing to do with alternator replacement and potentially screwing up your automobile, you might want to bring it into a mechanic that you can trust. The whole project should take less than an hour or so, especially for qualified professionals, and will end up running you anywhere between $150 and maybe $500 on the high-end. Obviously, the cost of this project will vary from mechanic to mechanic, vehicle to vehicle, depending upon a number of different key criteria – but that’s a pretty good ballpark figure to work off of. You’ll save a lot of money when you do your alternator replacement on your own, but you’ll have the confidence in knowing that the job was done properly if you hire it out to experts.


Alternator Cost: What You Need To Know

alternator costSo, your alternator is on the fritz, right?

This isn’t all that unique of an automobile problem to have – though it is going to render your vehicle useless until use of the issue. While you might be able to get away with repairing the actual physical components of an alternator and “jump” your car back into service, that’s usually a temporary fix.

Instead, you’re going to want to look closely at the price for a new alternator, factoring the alternator cost into the overall budget that you’ve outlined for your apparent in maintenance on this vehicle.

Here are just a couple of quick tips and tricks to help you figure out what the alternator cost is going to be at the end of the day!

How much is a new alternator going to cost?

The first thing that you’re going to need to do is decide upon whether you are purchasing a brand-new alternator or going with one that is reused or salvaged.

For obvious reasons, they used or salvaged alternator is going to cost less – but the alternator cost shouldn’t be the only thing that you are focusing on. A used in salvaged alternator probably isn’t going to provide you with the same kind of reliability that a brand-new one will, and will certainly wear out faster (and need to be replaced much sooner).

As for a ballpark price, you can expect new alternator cost ranges between $35 and maybe $125 – but that’s usually just for the part itself.

What else might I have to pay for?

You’re also going to probably have to look into paying for a couple of other things that need to be factored into the overall alternator cost of the entire project.

We are talking about things like:

  • Labor
  • Replacement of alternator belts (if necessary)
  • Upgrading and replacing of any electrical equipment
  • And any other issues that may come up while the mechanic is under the hood

These can quickly make the alternator cost to you weren’t expecting to pay skyrocket, which is why you’ll want to make sure that you work only with the highest quality and reputable mechanics in your area.

Nobody wants to lose their shirt just because of a faulty alternator, and you should never have to worry about breaking the bank when bringing your car in for service, either.

What if I do the bulk of the work myself?

If you decide to do the bulk of the alternator replacement work on your own (either purchasing, salvaging, or installing – or any combination of those critical steps) you’re going to be able to save some serious money on the job. At the end of the day though, the overall alternator cost that you should be looking at will probably be around $200 all the way up to maybe $400. This isn’t that much of a price to pay to get your vehicle back up and running, with the safety and security of a professional mechanic installing the parts and components.