The alternator is the main component of the car’s power generation and charging system. The alternator is technically an alternating current electrical device. It is driven by the engine heat via the accessory belt. Depending on the electronic systems in the equipment of a car, the maximum electricity consumption can reach values of 1.7 – 2 kW. The alternator must be able to produce this energy and in addition, charge the battery.
When the engine is started, the battery powers both the electric consumers of the car and the electric motor (starter). Once the engine becomes self-contained, the alternator takes over as a supplier of electricity to consumers, while also charging the battery pack.
The alternator is a key component of the Honda Accord that makes it run. It provides the spark to ignite the fuel and recharges your battery after you start up the engine, so without one this car won’t be able to do anything.
How much does the Honda Accord alternator replacement cost?
The alternator replacement cost is influenced by many factors including the make and model of the car, the age of the car, where you purchase the parts from, and the mechanic’s location.
On average, you will have to pay anywhere between $770 and $1,100 for the parts and labor in order to replace a Honda Accord alternator. However, for the newer models, you will have to pay anywhere between $650 and $900 just for the parts. You can get a much lower price for older car models.
In the table below you will find the alternator replacement costs for some of the most common Honda Accord models.
|2020||$800 to $1,100|
|2015||$550 to $1,050|
|2008 – 2012||$186 to $296|
|2005 – 2007||$127 to $233|
|1999 – 2000||$68 to $230|
An alternator is an electromechanical device that converts mechanical energy into electricity in the form of alternating current. Most alternators use a rotating magnetic field, but there are also linear AC alternators, which are rarely used. In principle, any AC generator can be called an alternator, but usually, the word refers to small rotary devices driven by car engines and other internal combustion engines.
Important things to consider
Unnatural operation of the alternator is usually closely related to another defective car part, such as the bearings, rotor, fan, voltage regulator, or serpentine belt that connects the engine to the alternator. If you do not follow all the indicators that the car is giving you, you risk going to the mechanic with more serious failures than the alternator failure.
The most common sign that a faulty alternator can give is a difficult start on the spot, especially in the cold season, when low temperatures can cause major problems to the car’s electrical system.
Which are the symptoms of a bad working alternator?
The most common way for the alternator to notify you that it will need to be replaced soon is to keep the onboard battery indicator light on, even after you have started the car’s engine. Normally, this warning light should only be on when you switch on the ignition. Otherwise, it means that you have a serious problem with the car’s charging system. To get a correct diagnosis of the car malfunction, contact a car electrician.
The burnt smell from the engine should have you worried because this is most likely a sign that the alternator isn’t working properly. The odor is caused by too much pressure on the transmission belts or by a malfunction of the drive wheel.
Strange sounds coming from the engine can be another sign that the alternator gives you. Instead of the specific “purr”, the engine of your car may start making noises that will alarm you. Most likely, they are caused by a faulty alternator.
Another symptom of a faulty alternator that needs replacement is power fluctuations in the headlights or dashboard lights when the car is idling. If you notice this, go to the nearest car service and seek the advice of a specialist in problems with the electrical part of the car.
How to test an alternator?
Before choosing one of the car’s alternator repair solutions, it is important to use a multimeter to make sure that the problem is electrical. Improper voltage output is the first sign. So, before making any repairs or spending any money, use the multimeter. The proper voltage is 13.5 volts minimum to 14.5 volts maximum.
In case of mechanical damage to the alternator (bearings, pulleys, or others) you will not need a multimeter. These types of problems will be manifested through sound (grinding, squeaking). However, if you have this tool, it doesn’t hurt to use it to do a voltage check at the end of the repair. This will ensure that the alternator works properly.
How to protect the alternator?
You already know that in winter you have to take more care of your car than in any other season. The alternator is one of the car components that require special attention at low temperatures, and a first step you can take to prolong its life is not to use the car only for short distances, but to allow the car battery to fully charge, using the car for longer journeys as well. Otherwise, the car battery will put pressure on the alternator, and the alternator may malfunction faster.
It is a good idea to make sure that the battery terminals are clean to facilitate perfect contact and allow the battery to be recharged safely.
If you do not use the car for more than two weeks, it is recommended to disconnect the battery, properly insulate the ignition terminals, to protect the battery and extend the life of the alternator.
What are the extra costs?
If your alternator is not working properly, don’t just replace it with another one from the auto parts store. You should also consider checking some other things before getting a new alternator installed.
The entire battery can be discharged by a bad working alternator and this may cause much more trouble if the Honda Accord’s battery is in a marginal state.
The battery can completely fail if it is recharged constantly and stressed to its death and this is not solved once your install a new alternator. You will have to replace the battery with a new one as well. However, if you can not afford this at the same time with the replacement of the alternator, you must, at the very least, fully recharge the battery before installing the new alternator.
Connections and Wiring
When an alternator fails, it’s usually because there has been some sort of loose or damaged connection. The most common issues with wiring are frayed wires and bad solders that can lead to short circuits in the system which will eventually cause overheating and damage done beyond repair.
Your usual mechanic will need around an hour or two to check your car’s wires, although it is hard for them to approximate how long this job will take. The best way would be going straight into a dealership, but expect higher rates as well.
The alternator connects to the engine through a serpentine belt. You have to remove the belt in order to reach it, so you may have to replace this part as well if needed. A visual check can tell you if this additional job is necessary. For instance, the rubber might be cracking or hard and brittle due to too many years without maintenance.
How can I save money?
You might be able to save on your alternator replacement costs if you find a cheaper service shop. In general, though, the only way that most people can get their money back is by shopping around for an off-brand or preowned parts store and buying them there instead of paying for a new part at a dealer.
When you need a replacement part for your car, truck, or other vehicle that has been in use and is subject to wear and tear, remanufactured ones are the perfect choice to save money. They have already undergone repairs at an earlier stage, but they will work as new without any issues. For example, you will have to pay almost $420 for a remastered Accord alternator replacement, with the labor and parts included.
Even though the remanufactured alternators offer many advantages, if you have the money, it is recommended to purchase a new one because it would last longer and often comes with a warranty.