2001 Hyundai Santa Fe eats alternators. New one every year

I’ve had my 2001 Santa Fe for 6 years now. I’ve almost replaced the alternator every year, due to a bearing failure. Lucky most were under warranty. One had bearing failure within 6 months. I replace them with a new/rebuilt alternator. I know they don’t make things like they used to. What can be causing my Santa Fe to eat alternators ?

Drive belt off center or excessive wobble, excessive belt tension, cheap parts…


Where are you getting these alternators from?
There’s a reason an OEM unit from a dealer, in person or online, costs twice as much as aftermarket junk.
When it comes to electrical parts (and many others) I only buy OEM for a car I plan to keep.
I had a friend who did the same yearly thing with water pumps on his Honda.

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A bad belt tensioner can damage an alternator bearing.


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If one factor is poor components or workmanship on the alternator itself, take it to a local auto electric shop. They have the parts and expertise to test and analyze your alternator (starter motor, etc.) and if it can be fixed, they’ll probably do it well. But underlying factors mentioned above need to attention, too.

Actually, lucky you still owned the car and had the receipt!

There are cheap rebuilds and there are good rebuilds. Good ones aren’t cheap. The cheap ones are for car’s you want to fix and dump. As @circuitsmith points out, you buy the best for keepers.