Life of an alternator?



How long should an alternator last in a 1996 Mazda 323 protege? Also, approx cost?


How long should it last? Forever!

How long does one typically last? Some alternators die by 90k miles, some last for the entire life of a car. It really does vary.

Depending on where you live in the US, the price–with installation–will vary.
However, I think that $300-350 is about what you should expect to pay unless you live in NYC, Boston, San Francisco, and some other high-priced locations.


How long is a piece of string?? Japanese alternators are exremely well made, and usually outlast US ones. Having said that, the electrical load influences the life, since frequent starts, extensive use of a rear window defroster and other accessories causes more wear.

The alternator on my Nissan Sentra at 125,000 miles is still the original, although the starter was replaced at 97,000 miles. On a US car, 60,000 miles+ is a good figure.

If replacement is necessary, budget $350 or so installed for a good rebuilt unit.


I can’t say for your specific vehicle…but all the vehicles I’ve owned since the mid 80’s (except my GMC S-15)…the alternators lasted the life of vehicle (well past 250k miles).


As usual, I agree totally with VDC.

What was the failure mode? Was it electrical or mechanical (failed bearing)? Post back, as the answer might suggest other thins to look into.


A failed bearing ususally means the mechanic tightened the belt too much if the car did not have a belt tensioner.

On my 1965 Dodge dart, the alternator went with a scream at 52,000 miles


Thanks! The information is what I needed!


Alternators can fail two ways. Mechanically (one of the two sealed bearings fails) or electronically (output drops to zero or develops A/C ripple when a diode fails)

For replacement, you can buy a factory new one (expensive) or a “Rebuilt” one (much cheaper) from a parts store. You can ask AutoZone online how much YOURS costs and what choices in quality they offer.


That’s why i asked.

A '65 Dart? Did you have the pushbutton-on-the-dash automatic? Those were so cool, Ii wish they’d put pushbutton automatics on the dashboards of modern cars. Push D and go! They could add more cupholders to the consoles!


U R Welcome…:slight_smile:


The push button shift was used till 1964, I believe; mine had a floor shift automatic between the bucket seats (2 door hardtop only). All this was extra, unless you bought the top line model, complete with the “Ben Hur” fake wheel spinners.

Current safety regs would forbid all those sharp objects.


Sounds cool.


Cost of replacement is mostly driven on location in relation to motor.