Your alternator is a vital engine component because it is in charge of converting mechanical energy into electrical energy, which in turn is used to recharge all the electrically-powered components in your vehicle. This means that the alternator is also part of your vehicle’s electrical system. As you rev the engine, this mechanical energy is turned into electrical energy that powers your stereo, cabin lights, exterior lights, and even your car battery. If you are experiencing what seems to be engine or car battery problems, it could be an issue with your alternator.
Continue reading to learn how to detect the signs of a faulty alternator, and how much it might cost you to replace it if it’s broken.
How to Detect a Malfunctioning Alternator
On the most common signs of the malfunctioning or bad alternator is a reoccurring dead car battery. If your car battery seems to die every time you start your car every time you drive it, it could be an underlying issue with the alternator. After all, your alternator is one of the most significant components of your vehicle’s electrical system.
Accordingly, another common sign of a bad alternator is light failure. If your interior or exterior car lights are dimming or have gone out completely, your alternator could be to blame. If you have a faulty alternator, you may also smell burning plastic, which is indicative of burned internal components or wires within the alternator. This is a serious repair that requires immediate attention from a licensed mechanic.
Facts About Alternator Repair and Replacement
Your alternator is connected to your car engine and powered by either a timing belt or timing chain. If any of these components surrounding your alternator breakdown, you can begin to experience issues with your vehicle. In such cases, you would just require alternator repair.
The cost of alternator repair will depend on several factors, including the particular auto repair shop you choose, the complexity of the repair, the rarity or warehouse price of the part you need, and how long the repair takes. In most cases, you can expect alternator repair to cost between $75 and $300.
Car Alternator Replacement Costs
In almost all cases of a faulty or broken alternator, alternator replacement is the best option. The cost for this would be higher than alternator repair because you must purchase a whole other alternator, plus pay for labor, materials, subsequent parts, and anything else needed to complete the repair. The average rate for car alternator replacement lies between $200 and $700, depending on the make and model of the vehicle and all additional factors mentioned above.
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