I have had 4 alternators go out in 26,000 miles and am now on #5. I know nothing about cars but something (?) must be causing this. Mechanics shrug and say “alternators go out”. Is there anything I can get checked or do I sell the car? I have 96,000 miles on the car now and have regular service and maintenance and live in a mild climate.

Celeste, You Are Very Observant, A Little Slow To Catch On, But Observant, None The Less!
You should have caught on when # 2 went belly-up. I’m just joking with you.

There is something blowing the alternators. You need a competent mechanic to check it out.

Do you have an “Auto Electric Shop” in your area, one that’s been in business for a long time and has a good reputation? They specialize.

What is the model year of this Outback?


One does not go through 4 alternators in 26,000 miles unless something else is causing the failure. Your guy just has no idea how to diagnose the root cause.

I agree with CSA. In needs a better shop. Without being there to determine the mode of failure and to check out the rest of the charging system, it’s hard for us to guess from here.

Question: did he bench check any of the units after removing them?

CSA, Thank you. It is a 2001. I don’t know about an Auto Electeic Shop but can check it out. Any other suggestions about finding a shop that will help me?

Please explain bench check. Except for one, all of the failures have happened in isolated areas and require towing to an unknown shop in small towns. I have always felt at their mercy and just eager to get on the road.

Bench check means the alternator is removed from the vehicle and checked out for proper operation on a test bench.

The trouble you are having is most likely due to a wiring problem in the vehicle. There may be trouble with the sense line. It tells the alternator if the battery needs more charge or not. If that line has a problem it could make the alternator keep charging the battery when it dosen’t need to. That will work the alternator extra hard and most likely shorten the life of it.

This trouble should be pretty easy for a good shop to find and fix.