BOGUS? No alternator is new even from the OEM

I had the alternator changed by the service dept of my Nissan dealership. I have a '96 Altima. I was surprised that they told me it was a refurbished alternator. Thinking my husband would go into orbit hearing this, I thought I would get more info first. I was told by the service person and by the parts “manager” that no alternator is actually new. They are all refurbished. Is it because of the age of the car? No. When I asked them how about on new cars? Wouldn’t they get a new part? Why can’t I get one of those? There was a lot of handwaving and “I don’t know why” and “that’s how it is on all lines of cars”. I may be car-challenged but I’m no idiot and that is just too outlandish for me to believe. The service person told me that the parts inside the alternator are new but the casing (which she called “core”) is a refurbished one. Can someone shed light on this?

You had a remanufactured alternator installed in the vehicle.

A remanufactured component has all the wearable parts replaced. Now, if there are any updates to the component that makes it last longer or perform better, those updates are included in the remanufacturing process. So, you can end up with a replacement component that is built better than the original.

So it’s really no big deal. Remanufactured parts are probably installed in 95% of vehicles being repaired.


Agree; the price of a brand new alternator from the factory would certainly be much more. The last new alternator I installed on a Chev Caprice was from “Robert Bosch”, a reputable German firm, in whose factories no US alternator was ever built from scratch. These are qulity rebuilds with a good warranty, and manufacturer’s approved ISO 9000 proceses.

… but the price was not that low: I paid $200 for it (+$300 labor). Or should I be happy that’s all it was? And the other fellow (Tester) is correct: the part is a “reman” one.

An alternator costing $200.00 is nothing these days. I’ve installed some that cost $350.00. Depends on the application.

Your vehicle is fixed, life is good, and Christmas is just around the corner. Have a Happy Holiday!


Nothing to worry about if it was a quality rebuild from the dealer. All of the wear parts are replaced except for the castings and armature.

What bugs me is the level of ignorance and/or beligerance displayed by the parts people at the dealership. Of course they can offer a choice of new or remanufactured component for vehicles new enough that the OEM suppliers and/or aftermarket are still producing new components. Alternators are usually shared across a wide range of platforms and so are in production for many years. When a design change is made that obsoletes that model, suppliers may no longer continue to produce new ones and then your only choice is a reman (or used if frugal DIYer). The manager saying “no alternator is actually new” is obviously talking out his nether regions. Your questions were justified and your suspicions correct.

I checked your model on AutoZone and they only offer a reman for your car. It’s $135 retail in my zip code. So, you likely got a reasonable price for the reman with their typical markup on parts.

Most remanufactured parts will perform and be as durable as when new. However, I, as well as many of the people I know, have run across a bad one now and again. It’s possible to get a new one that’s bad too but in my experience, a reman is a higher risk albeit a small one. OTOH, sometimes you run into a string of bad ones. I went through 3 starters once to get a good one…

$200 is about right for a remanufactured alternator, I think I paid about $200-250 for the last one I bought. The labor cost has to do with the time required to do the work (probably about $80-100 per hour). A good quality “reman” will last just as long as a new one. I agree that the dealer should have been able to give you a clear explanation of what they were selling you, and why.

There’s nothing wrong with a reman alternator. Of course the alternators on all new cars are brand new. The dealer is probably going this route to save you a ton of money.
I don’t know what the current price is on a factory new OEM alternator for your car is but when I worked for Nissan all electrical items bordered on near obscene in price; 700 dollar alternators, 800 dollar distributors, etc. (and distributors without even a cap or rotor!)
Hitachi stuff has always been high priced.

200 dollars is just about the norm anymore and many alternators on late model and odd vehicles can’t even be touched for 200 bucks.
Call a Nissan dealer tomorrow, ask for the Parts Dept. and price a brand new alternator, not reman, for your car. Chances are you will appreciate that 200 dollars.

Thank you. You got to the core of what was bugging me about all this. If they are unclear or making stuff up for one thing, how can I trust them for anything else? It does make sense that if a car is older, then only remanufactured alternators should be expected to be available. But this blanket statement of “that’s how life […little girl, pat-pat on the head and trust us]” attitude is irritating, not to mention doing them no service: they lost a customer. I may not have enough experience or data to counter their statements but I can tell when someone is trying to pull the wool over my eyes.

AnnaSarah- I wish I could have been privy to your experience at the Nissan dealer. If they had a way of talking down to you, well, that’s just plain wrong. The term “core” they used actually just means the part that gets used over again when the alternator is remanufactured/refurbished. Years ago when alternators were of a different design and called generators, the part that got re-used was in the

center, so it was called the “core”; so this is just semantics. Sometimes parts clerks and service advisors literally cringe when they realize they have to tell a customer how much their estimate is- especially when no remanufactured part is available.

On some new Volvos a brand new alternator is $1000.00