Replacing a car’s alternator requires a willingness to get dirty and a free hour or two. If you have those two requirements then you can save yourself some decent money by doing this DIY car repair.
Before you get started, make sure you have a socket set, some wrenches and a replacement alternator. Once you’ve gathered those items you are ready to save yourself some money.
HOW TO REPLACE AN ALTERNATOR
Move your vehicle to a work area and turn it off and allow it to cool. Once the engine is cool, disconnect the negative cable of your battery.
Now remove the serpentine belt from the pulley on the alternator. A socket wrench is the tool you will use to turn the belt tensioner so there is slack in the belt. Once you have that slack simply slip the belt off of the pulley.
Now locate and disconnect all the bolts that hold the alternator in place, and then disconnect all the wires that are attached to the alternator. Once you have disconnected all the wires you can simply remove the alternator from your car. It might be helpful to take a picture of the alternator with the wires still attached so you know what it should look like when it comes time to attach the wires to the replacement alternator.
Now slide the new alternator in place; next replace the bolts that secure it and attach the wires.
Next replace the serpentine belt. Adjust the tensioner with your socket wrench so you can slip the belt on. Wrap the belt around the pulley and then remove the wrench from the tensioner to take up the slack.
Hook up the battery cable and you are all done with this DIY car repair job.
HOW MUCH MONEY DID YOU SAVE?
That’s the question, isn’t it? That’s the whole point in DIY car repair, saving money!
A car mechanic can do this job in about an hour, so you can count on saving about $70 in labor fees. Then the only expense you have is the cost of a replacement alternator.
You can buy a new alternator at any local auto parts store but be warned you will pay top dollar. A better solution, if money is an important factor, is to find a replacement alternator at your local salvage yard. Places like All Import Auto Parts will have used alternators at prices greatly discounted.
Buying a used alternator means you will probably save close to $100 by doing this job yourself.