Alternator repair

Recently my son traveled to New York City from Indianapolis, IN in his 2007 Focus with 78,000 miles. When they reached New York City, the car simply died and had very little elec power. Battery light did come on for a short time prior to car dying. The car was towed to repair shop where they replaced the alternator, battery, and wiring harness. Mechanic said there was some burned area on the wires. Total cost was over 1500 dollars which is outrageous for midwest standards. Does this seem possible? I think he just got taken advantage of by the repair shop.

That is outrageous, even by NYC standards!

Your description matches with an alternator failure. Once the alternator failed and the battery was run down to nothing, it was damaged. If the battery was more than a year or two old, then replacement was called for. (Even it younger, it could still need to be replaced).

Since I can’t see the wiring from here, I have no way of knowing if it was burned and needed to be replaced or not. You have given me no reason to suspect that you were cheated.

They have to pay for the high rent in NYC. At $250 per hour for labor, the charge is just a little high but not by that much.

NYC prices can be extremely high…$250/hr is NOT unusual.

I can understand alternator failure causing the elec system to discharge the battery. But from my son’s description, he did not have enough time to get off of Broadway before the car died. My only other explaination is that mice could have chewed on the wiring. He had been parking the car outside for several days while Indianapolis received several snow storms.

Yes, mice happen.

Nothing sounds too out of bounds, honestly.


If your son pared the car in a wooded area, rodents could have nibbled on the wires. The rodents, however, were more likely to have been chipmonks(ground squirrels). I live 50 miles northeast of Indianapolis and I have had chipmonks chew through the flexible neoprene fuel line on the suction side of the fuel pump. The little critters also nibbled through the low voltage thermostat wire under the house that went to the heat pump.

Our previous dog, a terrier mix, was very good at keeping the chipmonk population down. Our present dog, also a terrier mix, let us know that chasing chimpmonks isn’t in his job description.