New Alternator Costs & Installation?

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  #1  
Old 07-13-06, 11:19 AM
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Question New Alternator Costs & Installation?

Hello all,

this is sort of a followup to a previous post of mine regarding replacing my battery.

As it turns out, the folks I took it to are telling me this: The cost of a new alternator for my car would be $119, but the cost of installation is almost double that: $220.

I'm wondering if this is the norm?

I'll be happy to get this done...I just don't like being taken, you know?

So I've told them to just put in the new battery and I'll return tomorrow or next week to get the rest done (that is, if I don't find someone else to take care of this for me.)
 
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  #2  
Old 07-13-06, 12:18 PM
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Shop charges these days are roughly in the $70-$80 per hour range. You can figure on a minimum of one hour to change out the alternator. Your quote may be a tad high. Call a few other reputable shops in your area and see what they quote.
 
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Old 07-13-06, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by cyberfyber
The cost of a new alternator for my car would be $119, but the cost of installation is almost double that: $220.

I'm wondering if this is the norm?
The alt price sounds OK for a factory replacement, or a quality non-factory
It depends on the car/make
So does installation
It can literally take 20 minutes on some vehicles
I'd be surprised if the book time was 1 1/2 hours on any cars, but it's possible I guess

What's the vehicle (make/model/yr), the alt (factory/aftermarket/new/rebuilt), and where's it getting replaced (dealer/ind.)?
 
  #4  
Old 07-13-06, 06:39 PM
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Unhappy

Right before I answer your questions, I'm hoping someone can also answer my question at the bottom of my post.

Well I asked them the length of time it'd take then they quoted 2.6 hours (though maybe they included the amount of time as well for a coupla belt replacements...even though they're claiming not to be charging me for that labor,

'and yes, the alternator will be a remanufactured one over at PepBoys.

I've a Suzuki Sidekick 95.

Is it possible for an alternator to get so very screwed up virtually overnight? I feel as if I might've had trouble with it for some long time, but is it really possible for it to get so screwed up overnite? Reason I ask is that my car was nowhere near in as bad a shape a week ago as it is today. They replaced the battery today and off I went expecting to return in the morning. WELL, I literally got stuck on the middle of the road tonite with only two passing joggers to help me push the car to the side onto a parking space. Even my portable recharging battery couldn't help me....although I already had to jumpstart the car earlier.

Sooo, there my car sits on the other side of town until I make my major decision by morning (most likely a tow).
 
  #5  
Old 07-13-06, 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by cyberfyber
Well I asked them the length of time it'd take then they quoted 2.6 hours (though maybe they included the amount of time as well for a coupla belt replacements...even though they're claiming not to be charging me for that labor.
WARNING: DO NOT GO BACK TO THIS SHOP

The labor time from Suzuki on the alternator is 1 hour. You have to remove the belt to replace the alternator. They are double-dipping in other words. Heck, even if you add all of the labor time together for each belt separately and the alternator...I STILL don't see how they came up to 2.6 hours. Run...don't walk...run away from these guys as quick as possible. Your total labor time for this repair should be no more than one hour...PERIOD!

I cannot tell you whom to use for your alternator...but I suggest you rethink your decision. Any further comment would probably violate the rules of this forum. Call around to a few of your local shops and ask them who they use for QUALITY alternators. You may get several different answers..but eventually you'll run across a reoccurring name. Spend a few extra bucks for a quality alternator...you'll SAVE money in the long run.


Originally Posted by cyberfyber
Is it possible for an alternator to get so very screwed up virtually overnight?
Yes, that is usually how they fail...they die a quick and painful death. You have to remember...your car run exclusively off your alternator once it is started. It starts off the battery. When your alternator fails, you usually can only go a few miles before you run your battery dead because now the car is running exclusively off your battery. (BTW, that's a good way to kill the battery permanently.)
 
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Old 07-13-06, 07:34 PM
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I thought that was rather long for book time that is not one of the vehicle that I recall an alternator to be a SOB on. I don't have a labor book. But by double dipping he means they are not looking at over lapping labor. they are billing it as seperate jobs. Over lapping labor means you already paid the labor to take the belts off swapping them with new ones would only mean you have to pay the price of the new belts. by not overlapping (double dipping) they are charging you twice to take the belts off. you should get quotes else where
 
  #7  
Old 07-13-06, 07:51 PM
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Thanks to you both very much.

Yup, even to a someone like myself who knows not much about cars, that quoted time seemed like a bit much.

'don't know what to do yet since first I've got to get my car home. But hey! I just looked into my AAA membership for the first time. 'and not only will they bring me a coupla gallons of gas (for which I'll pay the going rate) but also almost tow me all the way home for free!
 

Last edited by cyberfyber; 07-13-06 at 08:22 PM.
  #8  
Old 07-13-06, 08:04 PM
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I had a friend a couple years ago he worked for Pepboys at the shop, advice from him : avoid taking your car there.
 
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Old 07-13-06, 08:07 PM
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I don't know what pepboys your talking about, the mechanics where I worked for a bit were no different then any other. You just have to question parts quality. But then if the shop you go to gets parts from pepboys its not different than just going to pepboys in the first place
 
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Old 07-13-06, 08:21 PM
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Hmmm...the parts angle aside, I think there's a potential for big differences in quality/skills of mechanics anywhere you go. I've seen great mechanics working at little one-bay hole-in-the-wall garages, independent shops, national chains, and dealerships. I've also seen complete idiots working at the same places.

I think one of the keys to an overall well run shop is the quality of the service manager (or owner in some of the smaller shops). That's the guy who is ultimately responsible for ensuring that the work that goes out the door is of a quality nature.

Which is why it is so important to find a shop you can trust and that does good honest work at a fair price. Once you find a place like that...take ALL of your work there and recommend your friends and family to them. That helps keep them in business and allows them to do a better job.

I think it's tougher now than it used to be to get good quality service from large national chains and dealerships. Their only concern seems to be what the shareholder's stock price is. They are cost cutting maniacs which translates into lower pay (lesser quality mechanics), cheaper parts (lesser quality parts), and lower book time (quick jobs with no attention to detail or quality). That was one of the reasons I left working for a national chain to open up my own shop...I couldn't stand the working environment. Everyone from the employees to the customers were at the mercy of corporate greed.
 
  #11  
Old 07-13-06, 08:31 PM
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Funny you should mention it davzack,

There's this guy with a tiny garage down the block from my house. I like him alot because he's straight to the point, seemingly honest and gets the job done. Problem is, I think everyone else also know how good and trustworthy he is SINCE he's so darn busy all the time!

That's why I went to the big shop since I was pressed for time. That'll teach me!

PS, it wouldn't be the first time I've had a problem with this big shop. 'guess feeling desperate doesn't help matters any. Will I ever learn?
 
  #12  
Old 07-13-06, 08:47 PM
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Originally Posted by davzack
Hmmm...the parts angle aside, I think there's a potential for big differences in quality/skills of mechanics anywhere you go. I've seen great mechanics working at little one-bay hole-in-the-wall garages, independent shops, national chains, and dealerships. I've also seen complete idiots working at the same places.

I think one of the keys to an overall well run shop is the quality of the service manager (or owner in some of the smaller shops). That's the guy who is ultimately responsible for ensuring that the work that goes out the door is of a quality nature.
You know that reminds me of a story about my wife's Chevy that was having front end problems, mostly with handling. We took to one of those big, chain brake shops and waited two hours for an estimate. The estimate came up to around $800.00 and included everything up front except new brakes and tires! We told the manager we were going to a second opinion and he had the guys there put the tires back on and pull it out.

Later on the way home the wife was complaining she was hearing a noise coming from her side of the car. We pulled into a major chain gas station that had a mechanic on duty and asked him to take a look at it after we explained what happened at the first shop. As he was backing up the car to test drive it, I could see the right front wheel looked like it was actually coming off the car. I stopped him and he pulled the car onto the lift in the bay. After removing the hubcab, he found all the lugnuts were still tight, however the rim was cracked almost all the way around the wheel between the bolt holes!

It was getting close to closing time and I expected to be bussing overselves home, instead the mechanic called the manager at the brake shop and spent the next half hour asking him how they managed to turn a cracked rim into an $800.00 front end job.


We didn't have a lot of money but I had $40.00 bucks on me. The spare was flat, so the mechanic used the tire machine to put the front tire on that rim and balanced it. Then he made sure all the other rims were drivable and proceeded to go over all the points the Brake shop had said was wrong with the car. In fact, he pointed out that a lot did need work, but it could've gone another 6 months to a year and would run about $300.00 to do. After that he pulled out the car and told us to call him when we were ready to do the work. He ended up NOT charging us a single dime!!!

I made it a point to use that station anytime I needed gas or anything else. I also made it a point to carry around their business cards and leave them on various places for people to find. I also made it a point to tell my friends about the station and ask them to do business there.

Christopher
 
  #13  
Old 07-13-06, 09:00 PM
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Originally Posted by davzack
That was one of the reasons I left working for a national chain to open up my own shop...I couldn't stand the working environment. Everyone from the employees to the customers were at the mercy of corporate greed.
I spent a year working for one of those X-Mart auto centers, and finally left because of that reason alone. Always worried about your "retails" (extra stuff you try to sell the owner of the cars) and not a thing said when the boss has a car towed out of the bays after he worked on them once a week! I started doing LOFs and ended doing brakes and state safety inspections. Now I do shadetree stuff for friends and relatives.

Christopher
 
  #14  
Old 07-14-06, 02:06 AM
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avoid chain store parts

I try to avoid chain store parts like starters and alternators and if they claim to be remanafactued that is even worse.
Many just get a clean and paint job on the other side of the border were they are shipped to by the hundreds.
Napa sells good parts maybe a little more but failure rate is almost nothing.
There is nothing worse then replacing the same part two times even if it does have a warranty.
 
  #15  
Old 07-14-06, 03:43 AM
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Let's see, since I'm waiting for Rush Hour to just pass so's to easen the pain of towing my car I thought to post this little extra.

'spoke with another little shop nearby and they quoted me 1.5 hours of total work for the alternator and belts with a much more reasonable hourly labor rate. Although the alternator (again remanufactured) would be double what that big shop quoted, he made it clear that he'd have no problem with me getting the part myself and bringing it to him.

Soooo, I CAN go to the big shop and be assured of less of a hassle, BUT not getting taken is my priority right now.

I thank everyone for their input and insights.
 

Last edited by cyberfyber; 07-14-06 at 04:16 AM.
  #16  
Old 07-14-06, 02:10 PM
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Whoo hoo another shops bites the dust. Hope that didn't almost turn into a fist fight having it towed else where. Almost had that happen one time.

Big chain stores and parts, ya they get defects like mad, they will have a pallet in the back for defects and it will always be full. number one battery to see on it to is an optima. other wise water pumps, starters, especially alternators will be a dime a dozen on the defect pallet.

As for mechanical skills, thats a shot in the dark no matter where you go. dealer, big repair shop, small repair shop, etc. those mechanics float around so much trying to find higher pay you only hope to not bring a not to difficult electrical problem to the wrong guy.
 
  #17  
Old 07-15-06, 04:03 PM
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Unfortunately, I'm not out of the woods yet! There are now more questions than answers due to failing while starting and even when slowing down now.

This new guy charged me for only an hour since all he did was install new battery terminals (the old ones were ugly, dirty and corroded) along with new belts. According to him the car NEVER needed a new alternator.

Well, I've had no problems at all since then with the battery. But now as I said, there are other problems which may or may not be related. But I can't help feel that it's got something to do with the extreme heat here.

I'll be seeing him again on Monday since it stinks not knowing whom to trust!

Hell, the geniouses at the big shop didn't even bother cleaning the terminals for me after installing the new battery. 'and lord knows if maybe it's because of them that the car failed to rev up the battery and such.
 
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