Is buying a used alternator a good idea?

Asked By: Nahia Rioux | Last Updated: 14th February, 2020
Category: automotive auto parts
4.6/5 (1,401 Views . 40 Votes)
There's nothing wrong with buying used as long as it has some type of warranty, the price of a used one is significantly less than new or reman, you don't plan on keeping the vehicle a long time, and the alternator isn't difficult to change for some reason (it's a pretty easy job on most vehicles).

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Regarding this, is it OK to buy a remanufactured alternator?

Rebuilt alternators can be up to 25 percent cheaper than buying a new alternator. One problem is that good quality in a rebuilt alternator means more money---the cheaper the rebuild, the more likely that the alternator will break again. As a result, it might be more cost-effective to simply purchase a new alternator.

Likewise, is it better to rebuild or replace an alternator? New: A new starter or alternator provides you with a working system where all parts are at the same stage of wear and tear, but it's often the most expensive option. A rebuilt system won't have all its parts at the same state of wear and tear, but it's an affordable alternative to buying a new alternator or starter.

In this way, how long will a rebuilt alternator last?

When people have their car alternator replaced, the expectation is that the repair will last at least as long as the expected life of the new alternator, four to five years or anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 miles. Plus, like many auto repairs, replacing an alternator is not cheap.

What do I need to know about buying an alternator?

How to Buy a Good Quality Alternator

  1. Illuminated “ALT” light on the dash.
  2. Squealing, whining, or growling due to a bad belt or bearings in the connection between the alternator and the crankshaft.
  3. Rough idling or other abnormal engine behavior.
  4. Lights dimming or flickering due to the interruption in electrical power.

34 Related Question Answers Found

Can you rebuild an alternator?

If you know how to rebuild it, look for the rebuild kit in your local auto parts store or go on car-parts.com. Remove one of the battery terminals, if the car turns off, most likely it's the alternator. If you can drive it, go to the mechanic or auto parts store, they will most likely check it for free.

What is a good alternator brand?

Replacement Alternator Information. Choose from top brands including: Pure Energy, Bosch, Remy, Denso, Replacement, TYC, WAI Global, AC Delco, Valeo, API, SKP, Powermaster, Auto 7 and Motorcraft. Car electrical systems have become more and more complex over the years.

Is it cheaper to rebuild an alternator?

If replacement is necessary, using a rebuilt or used alternator will be much cheaper than a new one. Replacing the entire alternator will be more expensive. If you are using a new alternator and having a professional do the work, expect a bill between $200 and $500.

Is remanufactured the same as refurbished?

A remanufactured or refurbished product is one which is not new but has been tested, often repackaged and sold with a "remanufactured" or "refurbished" label. A remanufactured or refurbished product may not look new, but it will show only limited wear and it should perform as new.

Is a refurbished alternator good?


A properly remanufactured alternator should be just as good as a new one, so as shdesigns already mentioned -- look at the warranties. Remans often have a core charge that you get back after they receive the old part.

What is a refurbished alternator?

Remanufacturing alternators is an industry standard practice that involves disassembly of existing units, and replacing components that are most prone to wear with new components. Damaged and obsolete parts are replaced and are end of line tested to ensure they perform to ACDelco specifications.

Why is there a core charge?

The core charge is an amount that can cover what it would cost for them to buy an old, broken part like yours. This way, they dont lose out on the opportunity to remanufacture another part and sell it again. Essentially, youre replenishing their stock, so that they can keep offering remanufactured parts.

Can AutoZone replace an alternator?

Luckily, store associates at a store near you can test your battery and alternator to make sure you get the parts you need to do the job right. AutoZone carries an array of 100% new and remanufactured alternators that are built to deliver the amp output needed to power your vehicle. They're built to last too.

How much is an alternator at a junkyard?

This is especially true if you buy an alternator from a junk yard, which is one of the main sources for used parts. Expect to pay upwards of $50 for a used alternator.

How long will a car run with a bad alternator?


25 miles should be fine. Theoretically, on an older car, you can drive forever once the engine is running, you'll just be without any electrical amenities in the vehicle. Newer cars are much more reliant on the battery/charging system, and many won't even stay running with a dead battery.

What causes an alternator to fail?

Bad diodes are a common cause of alternator failure. The diodes are part of the rectifier assembly that converts the alternator's AC output to DC. A leaky diode also can allow current to drain out of the battery through the alternator when the vehicle is not being driven.

What are the signs of a bad alternator?

Symptoms of a Damaged or Failing Alternator
  • Difficulty Starting/Runs Rough.
  • Degrading Performance of Electrical Components.
  • Growling or Whining Noise.
  • Smell of Burning Rubber.
  • Warning Light.

How much does it cost to rebuild an alternator?

Waits says the average price to replace an alternator with a remanufactured one is $400, while Gunning adds that a remanufactured alternator on a typical, domestic car, costs about $300 to $500, including parts and labor. The price of a new alternator can run from $500 to $1,000.

What happens when an alternator goes out while driving?

If the problem is a bad alternator, your car will slowly lose power. You'll be driving down the road, your lights will dim, and you'll lose power and die. Once the alternator stops working, so do all of the electrical systems required to keep a car going. Other problems can also cause a car to not start.

How does alternator die?


An alternator produces power by rotating three plates across a winding of copper wires. These plates can fail one at a time and reduce, but not stop, the power output. As more plates fail, the power drops to levels that will eventually cause the battery to die and the ignition system to fail.

How do I know if I need a new alternator?

Six Alternator Warning Signs:
  1. Dim lights. The alternator is part of the electrical system of your vehicle.
  2. Warning light. Most modern cars have a dashboard warning light that alerts you when the alternator is on the fritz.
  3. Weak or dead battery.
  4. Weird smells.
  5. Odd sounds.
  6. Visual cues.

How can I test my alternator?

Check the battery first.
  1. Turn off the car.
  2. Open the hood.
  3. Connect the voltmeter to the battery.
  4. Read the voltmeter.
  5. If the battery doesn't have enough voltage, either get the battery charged and re-test or try a different method for checking the alternator.