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Car Alternator Cost 2021 | How Much Does an Alternator Cost?


car alternator cost

A car alternator is a major component of motor vehicles as it functions to power the electrical system which operates a car. This article is on car alternator cost, and while I present how much it cost to buy or replace a car alternator, I will be explaining so much about what car alternators are about.

The cost of an alternator is dependent on the type of car and its model. The car alternator cost for a Toyota vehicle is around $200 to $400, and this depends on the brand of Toyota you are getting the alternator for. For a Benz, the car alternator cost would be anything above $400.


The reason for the alternator system stems from the fact that cars required a sustainable system of internal electricity generation, and the only means to provide the needed internal electricity generation was to create a car alternator. As I promised you earlier, this article examines many aspects of a car alternator, emphasizing car alternator cost.

Car Alternator Cost

when an alternator becomes faulty, you have the option of repairing it or replacing it with a new one. I’d prefer replacing a faulty alternator with a new one which necessitates knowing what a car alternator cost.

A car alternator cost is around the range of $200 and $400 for cars made by Toyota, Honda, Ford, etc. Cars made by Benz are on the high side when it comes to car alternator cost as they start from $400 upwards.

What Do Alternators Do?

To progress in this article, for the benefit of those who do not know what an alternator is or what it does, in this section on what alternators do, I will be showing you the functions of a car alternator before I go into the car alternator cost.


A car alternator helps convert chemical energy produced from the combustion of gasoline or petrol into electrical energy. The energy converted powers the car’s electrical components such as the car’s dashboard, the headlights, the AC system, and much more. Aside from converting chemical energy to electrical energy, a car alternator also charges the car battery to keep it in good condition.

Some of the components of the car alternator include:

  1. Regulator
  2. Rotor
  3. Slip rings
  4. Rotor
  5. Slip rings end
  6. Stator
  7. Drive end bearing
  8. Pulley

How Much Does it Cost to Replace an Alternator?

The chances are that your car alternator may become faulty, and it will need a change. When a car alternator begins to malfunction, there is a need for a replacement as it may not be reasonable to drive your car with a faulty alternator. If your car alternator develops a fault, it is quintessential to replace it.

The cost of replacing a car alternator depends on the car. For cars like Toyotas, it will cost up to $400 to replace a faulty alternator, while replacing a car alternator for a Benz vehicle will cost from $400 upwards. It is important to note that the car alternator cost as outlined does not include the fee for hiring a technician to help replace the alternator.

After getting the car alternator replaced, it will cost you some extra dollars to get the service rendered.

Where to Buy Car Alternators?

where to buy a car alternator

Knowing what a car alternator cost is the first step towards getting one. The next step is to know where to buy a car alternator. Several vendors sell car alternators, but not all can deliver the quality everyone seeks for a car alternator.

You can buy a car alternator from stores like Walmart, eBay, etc. These stores are renowned for stocking some of the best products, and you can get a good car alternator from them. You are sure to find an array of alternators that will meet your vehicle’s specifications.

Knowing a car alternator cost and where to buy an alternator is incredible enough. However, it is quintessential to buy the alternator that fits your car in terms of voltage. A car alternator’s voltage should ideally be between 13-14 volts to charge a car battery of 12 volts efficiently. Getting the appropriate car alternator with the proper voltage is vital because a larger voltage output from the alternator may damage the battery.

How Often Do Alternators Go Bad?

At the beginning of this article on car alternator cost, I told you I would be delving into other aspects of a car alternator. A common question when we talk about car alternators and the cost of car alternators is how often do alternators go bad?

Car alternators have a long life span and would not always need replacement. A good alternator will typically last as long as seven years or even longer. As per how often do alternators go bad, a car alternator may get damaged earlier than expected due to mechanical factors, wearing, and tearing.

Other factors that may cause a car alternator to go bad may include electrical overload and jumpstarting the car incorrectly. Furthermore, a car alternator may go bad due to leaking car fluids and tight alternator belts, leading to the crushing of an alternator’s bearings, causing permanent damage to the car alternator.

How to Know If Your Car Alternator Is Bad?

There is no part or component of a car that does not get bad. Sometimes, we are faced with unsuspecting mechanical breakdowns because we are not conscious of the warning signs the car gives. Of course, knowing when your car’s alternator is bad is essential, so you are not caught unaware when the car is about to break down.

To know if your car alternator is bad, the following are some of the signs to watch out for:

  1. Headlights become dimmer and could flicker from dim to bright momentarily
  2. The car’s electrical system begins to act abnormally
  3. The vehicle may be hard to start as a result of the lack of ignition power from the car alternator
  4. The warning light on the car dashboard illuminates
  5. Irregular rattling sound from the engine

How To Know If Your Car Alternator Is Still Working?

From the previous section, you will see a few tell-tale signs that can be used to ascertain if a car alternator is in bad condition. However, rather than wait to start seeing the symptoms of a bad alternator, you can check if your car alternator is still working.

A cost-effective way to check if your car alternator is still working is by using a voltmeter. You do this by attaching the voltmeter to the car alternator to read the charge it generates and see if it is generating the required voltage.

Also, you can test the battery using the voltmeter to check if the battery is charging and in perfect condition. Another way to detect if the car alternator is in proper condition is by starting the car and revving the engine to 2000 RPM. Doing this will draw power from the alternator to the battery and then kick the alternator into high gear.

When that is done, open your car bonnet and test the battery again to see if the battery is charging. If the battery is not charging correctly, it’s majorly because the car alternator is malfunctioning and therefore due for repair or replacement.

Can a Car With a Bad Alternator Still Move?

Driving a car with a bad alternator is not a good move in whatever regard. If you are driving a vehicle with a bad alternator, you are putting yourself and the car in bad shape.

A car with a bad alternator can move, but a vehicle in this condition may run for a short while before the engine gives way and it breaks down. In some cases, the car may not start when the alternator is bad as there won’t be the transmission of charges to the battery to ignite it.

To move further in this article on car alternator cost, let’s look at how long a battery can last without an alternator.

How Long Can a Car Battery Last Without an Alternator?

A car battery may not last for too long when the alternator is bad. A bad alternator gives little or no charge to the battery, and therefore without second-guessing, one is bound to have poor battery performance in such a car. Therefore, such a battery will not work. Consequently, it will be illogical for one to contemplate driving with a bad car alternator as it will lead to many discomfort and delays.

What Happens When an Alternator Goes Bad While Driving?

This can be potentially dangerous because it could happen while the vehicle is in motion and, as a result, could lead to an accident in just a blink of an eye. Therefore, it is recommended that in case of such an occurrence, the driver should look to pull over at a safe parking spot to avoid an accident while they look for help.

Can a Bad Alternator Drain a Battery?

can a bad alternator drain a battery?

A bad alternator can lead to the eventual damage of a battery because the battery can either be overcharged or undercharged by the car alternator. If you do not want to be reading articles on a car alternator cost and the cost of a car battery, it is best to do away with a faulty alternator.

If the alternator overloads the battery, it could lead to total damage to the battery and even an explosion. Getting undercharged by the alternator leads to low charge and eventual battery deterioration as a result of the bad alternator.

Is It Worth Repairing an Alternator? 

You may consider not replacing one when you consider what a car alternator cost. If you are considering repairing a car alternator, it may not be a bad idea. When a car alternator starts to get faulty, it is not a bad idea to repair an alternator if it remains salvageable.

Repairing a car alternator can be an idea to consider in terms of cost-effectiveness, but you will have to find an efficient car technician. Otherwise, buying a new alternator may be your best option.

How Long Will It Likely Take To Replace An Alternator?

Replacing an alternator should be handled by an expert, someone with expertise in car electrical repairs. You might run into more car troubles if an inexperienced fellow tried to fix your car alternator for you. While I have done the job of reviewing a car alternator cost, I advise that you buy one and give it to an expert to fix.

A professional technician’s average time to replace a faulty alternator is between two hours to six hours, depending on the vehicle type.

How Long Can a Repaired Alternator Last?

As with all things repairable, a repaired alternator system can only last for a few years after repair, depending on the expertise of the repairer. If the alternator is badly repaired or the fault is very extensive, it will be best to get a brand new alternator.

Can Jumpstarting a Car Damage The Alternator?

Jumpstarting is the process of starting a discharged vehicle battery. It involves using a temporary connection that is established between a battery and an external power source. It is a very risky venture as jumpstarting a car can damage the alternator. If care is not taken, you may have an explosion when the car battery is corroded or something.

Can You Drive Without An Alternator Belt?

can you drive without an alternator belt

The truth is that a car can be driven without an alternator belt, but there’s a catch. Driving without an alternator belt will cause your car to stop intermittently, and you can bet it will discharge your car battery. Before I wrap up this car alternator cost piece, let me show you how to tell if your car alternator is overcharging.

How Can You Tell If Your Car Alternator Is Overcharging?

There are a few ways to tell if your car alternator is in overdrive as regards charging. Let’s take a look at some of these reasons below:

  • The battery gauge on the dashboard is reading higher than normal.
  • The car battery gets extremely hot when charging. Due to the extreme amount of charge, a large amount of heat is generated, which leads to the drying of the battery acid.
  • The car battery starts to swell on its sides.
  • The car headlamps begin to burn out faster. Since there is power overload on the battery, then the car’s electrical components begin to suffer damage.

Final Thoughts on Car Alternator Cost

I am optimistic you found this article valuable. I ensured I covered all there is to know about car alternator cost, where to buy a car alternator, and other important aspects of using a car alternator. Since the car alternator is an important factor in a car as it handles its electrical load, it is important to understand how it works and when it begins to go bad.

As usual, I advise that when handling important components of a car like a car alternator, you should employ the services of a technician. And that’s a wrap on this piece on car alternator cost. If you found this article valuable, share it with your friends and family.


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