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Alternator Pulley Replacement Cost Estimate

Worried you might overpay for your alternator pulley replacement? Use Jerry’s GarageGuard to get fair cost estimate for your alternator pulley replacement.
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John Davis
Expert Automotive Writer
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Reviewed by Kathleen Flear, Director of Content
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Edited by Jessica Barrett, Senior Car & Insurance Editor

How much does it cost to replace an alternator pulley?

The average alternator replacement cost is $105-$150. Keep in mind that luxury cars may have a higher price point. 
How long does it take to replace an alternator pulley? Generally, it takes 45 minutes to 1 hour to complete an alternator pulley replacement. If your alternator pulley is neglected for too long, the alternator belt, tensioner, and barings might need to be repaired also, which may also increase the overall price. 
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How did we estimate these prices?

Jerry's experts researched and collected data from 2500+ real repair shops in all 50 states in the US, including everything from the total cost of repair services to the hourly labor cost for mechanic labor in each shop. We combined that data with our expert database of hundreds of real repair jobs, thousands of real cars, millions of real car part prices in order to best estimate the cost of each repair service. Our labor cost estimate is calculated by taking the average hourly labor rate for a certified mechanic in the US, times the number of hours it takes on average to complete a repair. We recommend you compare your local shops with Jerry and contact those shops directly to get final pricing for your vehicle.

What parts do I need for my alternator pulley replacement and how much do those parts cost?

For an alternator pulley replacement, you will not need to service all of these parts, but it’s worth noting their price and function in the event they do need serviced:
  • Alternator pulley: The alternator pulley is a metal, circular component that helps move the tension belt. When worn or damaged, the alternator belt is unable to function. To replace an alternator pulley, you can expect to pay between $30-$125.
  • Tension belt: A tension belt is part of your alternator system that is loaded on a spring or pivot point mechanism, which helps to deliver enough tension to your vehicle. If your alternator pulley fails, it can cause tears in the tension belt. To replace a tension belt, it may cost you $30-$200.
You can buy alternator pulley parts for your car from auto parts stores like AutoZone, Advance Auto Parts, and O'Reilly Auto Parts, as well as online retailers such as Amazon and RockAuto. Three of our recommended brands for alternator pulley parts are Dayco, Gates, and Dorman. However, the best prices and brands for your alternator pulley replacement will vary depending on your vehicle’s year, make, and model.
Alternator pulleys can be purchased in-store and online from reliable auto parts shops, like AutoZone, Advance Auto Parts, and O'Reilly Auto Parts, or dealerships. Alternatively, parts are available to buy on retailer websites, such as Amazon. Refer to your owner’s manual before buying to ensure you select the right alternator pulley bearings for your vehicle.
For alternator pulley replacements, either OEM or aftermarket parts are preferable—and both have their own set of benefits. OEM parts come with warranty and are from the manufacturer, meaning you can be confident it’ll fit your car’s make and model. On the other hand, aftermarket products are typically cheaper and of a comparable quality.

Where can I get my alternator pulley replaced?

When looking to maintain your vehicle, repair cost is of the utmost importance. To make the car repair processes easier, Jerry's GarageGuard™ compares fair price repair estimates* using real hourly labor rates from over 2,500 certified auto body shops in the US. 
In addition to providing you with insight into potential diagnostic costs (and whether they’re included in the service fee), Jerry's GarageGuard™ also supplies real reviews from real customers to aid in your search for the best and most cost-efficient service. 
Take a look at some of our vetted shops below and get the app to compare car repair quotes in your area. 
142 Reviews
Havoline Xpress Lube - #1324
address
11988 W. Jewell Avenue, Lakewood, CO
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$137
149 Reviews
FastLubePlus
address
2992 Kildaire Farm Rd, Cary, NC
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$0
147 Reviews
Steve's Tire and Auto
address
1719 Poplar Ave, Memphis, TN
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$140
188 Reviews
Meineke Car Care Center 2004
address
4751 S Memorial Dr, Tulsa, OK
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$0
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How did we vet these shops?

Jerry experts researched 2500+ real repair shops across the US. We talked to real shop customers, and analyzed both real shop pricing data and thousands of real customer reviews from each shop to verify them individually. We do not partner with the shops listed above, and our analysis is always unbiased.

How will a mechanic replace my alternator pulley?

While it’s not required for you to take your vehicle to a mechanic for an alternator pulley replacement, it is recommended. In the event that you do, these are the steps your mechanic take to ensure your alternator pulley replacement is successfully completed: 
  1. Disconnect the car battery: Before starting any work, your mechanic will disconnect your car battery to prevent potential electric shock from the charging system while operating on your vehicle. 
  2. Loosen and remove the tension belt: Using an impact wrench, your mechanic will loosen the tension belt before removing it from your car. As the alternator pulley and pulley bearings are located underneath the tension belt, this allows them easy access.
  3. Remove pulley bolts: Next, your mechanic will begin to remove the bolts securing the alternator pulley in place. If required, they may use a lubricant, like WD-40, to loosen the tension. 
  4. Remove and replace: Once the old alternator pulley is removed from your car, your mechanic will add in the new pulley and tighten each bolt. Then, they will reinstall the tension belt and hook the negative battery cables up to your vehicle. 
  5. Test run: Finally, to make sure the alternator is putting out the right voltage and everything is in place, your mechanic will complete a test run. At this point, your mechanic can also ensure there are no further battery draining problems. 

What happens if I don’t replace my alternator pulley?

If you miss your regular maintenance inspection or don’t have it replaced at the recommended mileage, this can impact your alternator’s operation. The following are results of a failed alternator pulley: 
  • Stalled car/car engine failure 
  • Increased stress on tension belt
  • Additional damage to alternator system
  • Battery draining problems

What is an alternator pulley?

Alternator pulleys are a crucial part of the alternator system, as it streamlines the movement of the tension belt alongside the drive belt. Without the alternator pulley (or serpentine belt), the tension belt and alternator are unable to spin and generate the electricity required to run your vehicle’s electrical system. 
There are three types of alternator pulleys:
  1. Solid pulley: This is the standard version of the alternator pulley. Its function is to drive the alternators and is only required to be replaced if it’s damaged, rusted, or worn.
  2. Overrunning alternator pulley (OAP): The one-way clutch mechanism of this alternator pulley is incorporated into the design to help the pulley rotate in the overrun direction. It eliminates belt noises during engine shutdown and transmission shifting.
  3. Overrunning alternator decoupler (OAD): The OAD is made up of special steel torsion springs to absorb engine vibration and operates similar to the OAP. 

When should I replace the alternator pulley on my car?

The most common alternator pulley replacement symptoms are:
  1. Damaged timing belt: This is a very obvious sign that your alternator pulley needs replaced. If your alternator pulley has to be removed, you will most likely see fraying and tears on your timing belt, as the alternator pulley isn't turning as required. 
  2. Damaged alternator: This one might be a little more difficult to spot, however, it’s very much the same. Since an ineffective alternator pulley is unable to turn and the alternator belt is unable to operate, the belt will eventually slip, causing damage to your car’s alternator.
  3. Check engine light: When anything is wrong with your vehicle, a common symptom is a flashing or constant check engine or warning light. With a deteriorating alternator pulley, this particular light may resemble a car battery, or the words ‘GEN’ and ‘ALT’. 
  4. Unusual sounds: Chirping, squeaking or squealing noises are typical with an alternator pulley in need of replacement. This signals that the pulley is either out of alignment with the alternator belt or angled differently, resulting in unusual sounds.
  5. Burning smells: There are two different smells that indicate a defective alternator pulley. The first is burnt wires, meaning that the pulley is making the alternator overheat. The second is burnt rubber, which tells you that the alternator belt might be ruptured or experiencing high heat volumes.
  6. Inconsistent exterior lights: Since the alternator pulley helps produce the electricity required to run your vehicle, an alternator pulley in need of replacement can also affect your exterior lights and other car electronics.
  7. Dead vehicle: Finally, a dead vehicle is a clear sign that something is wrong with your alternator. If this occurs, inspect the alternator pulley and belt before calling a mechanic. 

How often should an alternator pulley be replaced?

Alternator pulleys should be inspected every 60,000 miles and replaced every 120,000 miles to prevent further damage to your car’s alternator. You can test your alternator for damage by
simply disconnecting your battery
Faulty alternator belts and tensioners can also shorten the lifespan of your alternator pulley bearing, so it’s critical to perform regular maintenance of your vehicle and note any signs of significant wear. 

Can I replace my alternator pulley myself?

Yes, you can complete an
alternator pulley replacement yourself
, if you’re sure of your DIY skills. This process does have a number of steps and does require some knowledge of car repairs. If you’re not confident in your automotive abilities, take your vehicle to a licensed mechanic to have your alternator pulley replaced.

FAQs

No. A damaged pulley can cause your alternator belt to dislodge or come loose, stopping all electricity from flowing through your vehicle. It’s recommended that you don’t drive your car as it can easily stall in traffic—and potentially lead to increased car insurance rates if an accident does occur. 
If your tensioner pulley or ASD pulley breaks while driving, pull over immediately and call for roadside assistance work.
Numerous things can lead to a malfunctioning alternator pulley from high belt tension to auxiliary equipment damage. When removing the alternator pulley, you will be able to see abrasions and from there, determine the cause of failure. Ensure to conduct routine inspections every 60,000 miles to prevent further complications.
Noisy alternator pulleys can be frustrating—but they also can be hinting at a larger problem under your vehicle’s hood. That being said, there are multiple reasons an alternator pulley might be loud, ranging from incorrect sizing to design. 
Make sure to consult your owner’s manual before purchasing a new alternator pulley to confirm you have the correct piece for your car’s model. If the problem persists, take your car to a professional mechanic for further examination and repair.

Meet Our Experts

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John Davis
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Car Expert
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Certified mechanic with 10+ years of experience
John Davis is an expert automotive writer and former automotive mechanic. John's work spans multiple categories, and he relishes the opportunity to research a new subject and expand his area of expertise and industry knowledge. To date, John has written more than 200 articles covering car maintenance and care, car advice, how-to guides, and more.
Prior to joining Jerry’s editorial team, John worked as a mechanic and freelance writer, creating content for clients including HotCars and SetPower.
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Jessica Barrett
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Car Expert
Jessica Barrett is a senior insurance writer and editor with 10 years of experience in the automotive and travel industries. A specialist in car insurance, car loans, and car ownership, Jessica’s mission is to create comprehensive content that car owners can use to manage their costs and improve their lives. As a managing editor for a team of writers and insurance specialists, Jessica has edited over 2,000 articles for Jerry on topics ranging from local insurance shopping tips to refinancing car loans with bad credit.
Before joining Jerry as a senior content editor in 2021, Jessica created visual content for clients such as Expedia, Vivid Seats, Budget Direct Car Insurance, Angie’s List, and HomeAdvisor. Her content was published in Business Insider, Forbes, Apartment Therapy, and the BBC.
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Kathleen Flear
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Car Expert
Kathleen Flear is an expert insurance writer and editor who heads up Jerry’s editorial team as director of content. Kathleen empowers drivers to make smart car ownership decisions through  best-in-class articles on insurance, loans, and maintenance. Prior to joining Jerry in 2021, Kathleen served as managing editor for a team of SEO content marketing professionals at Article-Writing.co and worked as a freelance writer and editor for a range of digital publications, including Chicago Literati magazine and Golden Words. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English language and literature from Queen’s University, and a master’s degree in creative writing and fiction from Sierra Nevada University.
*The price information provided on our car repair webpages is intended for general informational purposes only. Actual prices for car repair services may vary based on various factors, including but not limited to the make and model of your vehicle, the extent of repair required, and the prevailing market conditions. All prices for real repair shops are estimations based on our research only. Therefore, the prices listed on our webpages should not be considered as final quotes or binding offers.