I have a 2005 Ford Focus with 52,000 miles and the alternator has gone out. The repair is over $700! Is this normal?
Who gave you the estimate… the dealer?
Get a second opinion/estimate. A independent shop will probably be alot less.
Agree. These cars are common as dirt and there is a good supply of rebuilt after-market units. My guess would be $250 plus installation which does not take very long. Any good independent garage can do this. The last time I replaced an alternator (full size Chevy) I paid $330 installed for a Heavy Duty unit made by Bosch.
I’d suspect most of this estimate is labor. Small cars like yours car require the removal of lots of stuff to access what would ordinarilly be a simple repair. According to an online service manual I’m looking at, to change the alternator on the 2.0L engine (the most common one) you have to take out a lot of sensor connections and emissions hoses and you need to loosen the motor mounts and move the engine. It sounds like it could take a while and so the $700 might be about right, though as the other poster noted, you shouldn’t be going to the dealer if cost is a major issue.
It could be about right depending on the shop, where the alternator is procured, etc. You should be able to fish around and get this done cheaper.
Hopefully the bad alternator diagnosis is correct as there are several things that can cause a perfectly good alternator to be inoperative; dash light indicator bulb, wire connector, fusible link, etc.
Before you install another alternator, rebuilt should be fine, determine what failed in your original alternator. You may have a wiring or battery problem that needs to be repaired or it might ruin your new or rebuilt alternator. Your old alternator failure might help to find any such problem if that is what happened. Did the alternator have a failed diode set, regulator, shaft bearings, slip rings or slip ring followers, overheated copper windings, dielectric failure, loose connection or what else?