How much does it cost to replace an alternator?
An alternator replacement cost (UK) ranges between £100 and £700.
The average cost of an alternator replacement balances out at £369
Can I carry out the alternator replacement myself?
Swapping out a faulty alternator isn’t a job for the feint-hearted DIY mechanic—so that’s where Fixter can help; carrying out the work for you and saving you money in the process.
If you’ve ever considered taking on an alternator replacement, we’ve created a quick guide to what’s involved. Otherwise, read on to find out more about how much it can cost and how the overall price is broken down.
What are the alternator replacement costs at a dealership compared to Fixter garages?
|Operation||Vehicle||Dealer Price||Fixter Price||Saving|
|Alternator replacement||Citroen C1 1ltr Petrol||£543||£476||14%|
|Alternator replacement||Ford Focus 1.6ltr Petrol||£414||£360||15%|
|Alternator replacement||Ford Kuga 2ltr Diesel||£315||£279||13%|
|Alternator replacement||Ford S-Max 2ltr Diesel||£516||£441||17%|
|Alternator replacement||Jaguar Xf 2.7ltr Diesel||£578||£490||18%|
|Alternator replacement||Mercedes C Class 2ltr Petrol||£425||£360||18%|
|Alternator replacement||Mercedes E Class 3.2ltr Petrol||£124||£108||15%|
|Alternator replacement||Renault Captur 1.5ltr Diesel||£421||£360||17%|
|Alternator replacement||Renault Kadjar 1.5ltr Diesel||£761||£662||15%|
|Alternator replacement||Volkswagen Polo Hatch 1.2ltr Petrol||£186||£156||19%|
What factors can affect an alternator replacement?
Every upgrade, repair, or maintenance carried out on our cars can vary in cost for many reasons. It could be the base parts, associated component costs, consumables—and of course, the time it takes to do the work. All of these things add to your total bill, and in turn, if you take on the work yourself, can add to how much you save.
As we’re looking at how much to replace an alternator, these are the main areas of consideration.
High AMP output alternators
If you need to install an alternator with a higher AMP output, it’s worth bearing in mind that the higher the output, the pricier the component is likely to be.
Vehicles with additional electrical components, or upgrades that provide additional drain on current, can opt for a high-output alternator to provide the extra current they need.
One of the worries for car owners is that additional current will damage the existent components. Well, your alternator works on a supply and demand system—so, you can never have too powerful an alternator.
How can you tell if you need more AMP output?
- If your car is using more current than it’s making, the headlights may be dim or flickering.
- You can measure the electrical load with an ammeter connected to the battery’s ground terminal (with the engine off)—measuring the difference by turning on each electrical component.
A standard alternator operates between 65 and 100 amps. This will handle the day-to-day operation of a typical family car. It’s designed to carry a 10% or 15% reserve to manage all of its requirements safely.
If you’re boosting your current draw with extra components, it’s a reasonable rule of thumb to have an output 50% greater than the draw.
Adding new items to the electrical system can raise the draw beyond what a standard model can manage. Some typical current-heavy components are:
- Audio power amplifiers: 10–70 amps
- Power seats: 25–50 amps
- Power windows: 20–30 amps
- Air conditioning: 20–21 amps
- Headlamps: 13–15 amps
- Heaters/defrosting: 6–15 amps
Cable gauge and fuses
The final thing to remember when upgrading your alternator is that there’s a good chance you’ll have to upgrade the wiring with a heavier gauge to carry the additional current, and also appropriate size fuses to keep everything safe.
One of the recent advances in driving and to our electrical systems is with stop/start ignition systems, turning off our engines when they’re not needed, and starting them automatically when they are.
Stop/start systems improve fuel consumption and reduce emissions, but they provide an additional drain on your electrical system—and a lot more work for your alternator.
There are different systems to handle this operation. Some use a conventional starter motor, some combine the starter motor with the alternator, with their own stop/start independent ECU to control the process. These combined systems are often reversible, converting electrical power into mechanical, and mechanical to electrical, creating advanced fuel economy.
These modern systems and their componentry can create far higher costs in alternator replacements, in both parts and labour.
If your car uses this advanced technology, be sure to factor it in, finding the correct quotes for the work you need.
There are a host of additional components that come with such a new system.
The additional ECU, for example, capacitors used to store charge, and of course, battery technology has had to advance to cope with the additional duress they’re under. These are all items associated with your alternator and charging system and can impact the cost of your repairs or replacements.
What are the costs of alternator replacement parts?
Prices for a new alternator vary for each make and model. The average price of an alternator from Eurocarparts is £312.
In our search, we took an average for standard 2015 models.
|Car Make||Car Model||Alternator Prices|
|Land Rover||Range Rover||£450|
What are the labour times and rates for alternator replacement?
We’ve got a wealth of experience into understanding how different hourly rates range between mechanics. Again, there are plenty of contributing factors, from the size of the business, to its location, and the demand for their service in their area.
The ballpark average hourly rate outside London falls at £72.
As you’d imagine, the rates of garages operating within the London area are slightly higher, but not as much as you may expect, at £78.
How long does an alternator replacement take?
Looking once again at the averages, an alternator replacement should take between 1 and 3 hours. For larger vehicles or those with more complicated and restricted access, the job can take longer than if access is straightforward, with fewer components holding up proceedings.
Take a look at a few of our findings: You’ll see just how different the time this job takes for each make and model can vary.
|Car Make||Car Model||Typical Replacement Time|
|Mercedes||C Class||3.7 hours|
|BMW||5 Series||0.95 hours|
|Land Rover||Range Rover||3.7 hours|
Can a bad alternator destroy my new battery?
Not necessarily, but a poorly function alternator repeatedly draining a battery can affect it’s health and shorten its life.
How do I know if I need a new alternator?
Typical signs are the battery failing to charge, electric components not working properly, dim lights, or a dashboard warning light. If your car exhibits any of these, have it tested by a qualified mechanic.
Can you fix an alternator?
Alternator repair is a time-consuming process that must be carried out by a professional. It’s almost always cheaper to replace an alternator than to repair it.
Can a car run without an alternator?
It can, but because the alternator provides the electrical power your car needs, it will only run until the battery is drained of its charge.
Does a broken alternator give off a funny smell?
A faulty alternator can cause a few suspect smells. The first is the smell of burning wiring where the alternator overheats. The second is of burning rubber, from misaligned belts and pulleys.
Fixter is revolutionising the car maintenance industry, one repair at a time. Fixter was founded to make car maintenance as easy as booking a taxi. Digital, transparent and stress-free, with world-class customer service. Since launching in Manchester in 2017, Fixter has expanded to more than 100 cities across the UK and provided thousands of car owners with honest, convenient and affordable car repair services.