Author Topic: Alternator died, dealership wanted $600+ You know what I did.  (Read 1353 times)

big_slacker

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Alternator died, dealership wanted $600+ You know what I did.
« on: November 02, 2018, 08:32:05 AM »
I just couldn't BELIEVE what the dealership quoted me to swap out my dead alternator. We're talking about a $150 part (after core return) and probably 30 minutes of work for a decent mechanic that has the right tools and has done this a few times. I felt like this is one of those principle things, so I hit the auto parts store, got my alternator and spent 1.5 hours (stuck bolt in the worst possible location) doing it myself. Then I bought some fancy beer and basked in the post successful DIY and money savings bliss. :D

Auldtriangle8

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Re: Alternator died, dealership wanted $600+ You know what I did.
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2018, 08:40:06 AM »
That's awesome! And now you have the added bonus of additional knowledge learned so that next time you encounter an auto (or any mechanical) problem you'll have even more confidence/skill to do it. Money win and life win.

Also, what fancy beer did you get (beer is one of my weaknesses).

GuitarStv

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Re: Alternator died, dealership wanted $600+ You know what I did.
« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2018, 08:46:56 AM »
Sold the car and bought a bike??

 . . . oh.  Well, fixing it yourself is pretty good too I suppose . . .


:P

big_slacker

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Re: Alternator died, dealership wanted $600+ You know what I did.
« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2018, 10:40:37 AM »
I've swapped alternators before unfortunately, and this one was probably the 2nd easiest aside from that one awfully placed and stuck bolt. Probably the next time I have to do this will be a LONG time, it's been like 12 years since the last one. The fancy beer was Elysian Dayglow IPA. I was actually looking for their Night Owl which is a perfect fall brew but sadly the store didn't have it. :(

RE bought a bike, I've got 4 already. One even has skinny tires. ;)

It is WAY not feasible for me to bike to work though, not if I want to live. It's rural 2 lane with 55 mph speed limit and small shoulders. A semi or distracted driver would take me out in the first month guaranteed. I do work from home 2-3 times a week and better still I keep 20k-30k people working from home and off the roads DAILY as a direct result of my work so I feel like my environmental impact is halfway decent.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2018, 10:42:43 AM by big_slacker »

Car Jack

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Re: Alternator died, dealership wanted $600+ You know what I did.
« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2018, 12:26:39 PM »
Even swapping alternators on some Hondas and Acuras, which the shop manual gives you the choice of removing the brake booster or the driver side control arms and axle could be changed with some puzzle like moves and removing nothing.  I've done several of these and while they are time consuming to position and remove and then position and replace the alternators, in an hour, I'm done, no matter what.  $600?  Pffffft.  Whata buncha clowns.

highplainsdrifter

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Re: Alternator died, dealership wanted $600+ You know what I did.
« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2018, 06:17:42 AM »
This is badass. I aspire to have enough tools and know how to fix my own car. Tools is the biggest hurdle for me currently, as I own only the basics.

AM43

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Re: Alternator died, dealership wanted $600+ You know what I did.
« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2018, 08:44:02 AM »
I've replaced an alternator on my wife's car recently. Like others have said if you are somewhat handy you should be able to handle it.
In my case I did not need any special tools, but I did watch YouTube video and it helped me great deal.
$150 part ,2 hours of my time= $600 saved
Worst part of this whole ordeal was that my wife's car has died right on the road and she was pretty scared with all the flashing lights on the dashboard and her car moving erratically. I knew right the way it was an alternator.
I did not want to pay towing company to have it towed to our location which would have been prob $200 bill.
Luckily she was not far from my folks house and I was able to just charge the battery multiple times to make it to their house where I performed repairs. I was her hero that day and one bad ass. :)
 

PrairieBeardstache

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Re: Alternator died, dealership wanted $600+ You know what I did.
« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2018, 01:37:07 PM »
I've come to the conclusion that the *average* person cannot afford the *average* car. It gets worse now as it gets older because there's a lot of deferred maintenance. When they bring it to the dealer for repair they receive bills they cannot afford. This is evidence by anecdote but it's made me so disgusted with the current state that I actively advocate for people to give up on cars entirely and if they absolutely must buy the cheapest well maintained Honda or Toyota and drive it until it's dead.

I bought my car four years ago, it was 2 years old, had 56,000k and I paid about 50% of the price of new. Since then I've had a few problems, more than I would have expected but nothing I can't handle. I've stopped asking the dealer for a quote because for the non-regular maintenance I've had to do (blower motor and HID Ballast) it's cost me $120 and about 8 hours to do it myself (the blower motor turned out to be very annoying). The dealer, however, wanted to charge me $4000 for the same work!!!  $4K!! I thought they misunderstood what I was talking about. It really got me when they suggested a $500 price for an oil change made sense, or $5k just for brake pads and rotors. I kid you not, you could buy a used Honda for what some people pay to get their brakes replaced. That's just crazy.

/rant

sol

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Re: Alternator died, dealership wanted $600+ You know what I did.
« Reply #8 on: November 09, 2018, 01:43:33 PM »
It really got me when they suggested a $500 price for an oil change made sense, or $5k just for brake pads and rotors.

For $5k, I could replace your brake pads, rotors, wheels, and tires and still make $2k in profit for my day's work.

MilesTeg

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Re: Alternator died, dealership wanted $600+ You know what I did.
« Reply #9 on: November 09, 2018, 01:51:54 PM »
I've come to the conclusion that the *average* person cannot afford the *average* car. It gets worse now as it gets older because there's a lot of deferred maintenance. When they bring it to the dealer for repair they receive bills they cannot afford. This is evidence by anecdote but it's made me so disgusted with the current state that I actively advocate for people to give up on cars entirely and if they absolutely must buy the cheapest well maintained Honda or Toyota and drive it until it's dead.

I bought my car four years ago, it was 2 years old, had 56,000k and I paid about 50% of the price of new. Since then I've had a few problems, more than I would have expected but nothing I can't handle. I've stopped asking the dealer for a quote because for the non-regular maintenance I've had to do (blower motor and HID Ballast) it's cost me $120 and about 8 hours to do it myself (the blower motor turned out to be very annoying). The dealer, however, wanted to charge me $4000 for the same work!!!  $4K!! I thought they misunderstood what I was talking about. It really got me when they suggested a $500 price for an oil change made sense, or $5k just for brake pads and rotors. I kid you not, you could buy a used Honda for what some people pay to get their brakes replaced. That's just crazy.

/rant

Where the heck are you that anyone can even dare to quote $500 for a oil change? I can almost undestand the gouging on the other things: people with no experience or understanding of how something works can easily be fooled. But "everyone" who owns a car knows the basic price range...

Brother Esau

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Re: Alternator died, dealership wanted $600+ You know what I did.
« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2018, 01:54:34 PM »

RE bought a bike, I've got 4 already. One even has skinny tires. ;)


Even one bike with skinny tires is too many. All 4 of my steeds are phat! Congrats on the DIY repair.

PrairieBeardstache

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Re: Alternator died, dealership wanted $600+ You know what I did.
« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2018, 03:03:56 PM »
I've come to the conclusion that the *average* person cannot afford the *average* car. It gets worse now as it gets older because there's a lot of deferred maintenance. When they bring it to the dealer for repair they receive bills they cannot afford. This is evidence by anecdote but it's made me so disgusted with the current state that I actively advocate for people to give up on cars entirely and if they absolutely must buy the cheapest well maintained Honda or Toyota and drive it until it's dead.

I bought my car four years ago, it was 2 years old, had 56,000k and I paid about 50% of the price of new. Since then I've had a few problems, more than I would have expected but nothing I can't handle. I've stopped asking the dealer for a quote because for the non-regular maintenance I've had to do (blower motor and HID Ballast) it's cost me $120 and about 8 hours to do it myself (the blower motor turned out to be very annoying). The dealer, however, wanted to charge me $4000 for the same work!!!  $4K!! I thought they misunderstood what I was talking about. It really got me when they suggested a $500 price for an oil change made sense, or $5k just for brake pads and rotors. I kid you not, you could buy a used Honda for what some people pay to get their brakes replaced. That's just crazy.

/rant

Where the heck are you that anyone can even dare to quote $500 for a oil change? I can almost undestand the gouging on the other things: people with no experience or understanding of how something works can easily be fooled. But "everyone" who owns a car knows the basic price range...

Nowhere special, I can assure you. A cold Canadian city.

On the oil change front I was actually ready to pay a premium knowing the dealer likes to charge more than average and just not wanting to do it myself. I was ok to pay up to $250. I made the appointment and realized I didn't ask how much they charge, and to be clear, it was actually north of $500. $540 or something like that. When he told me I said: "Oh, sorry, I just want an oil change, how much for that?" His reply: "yes, sir, that's an oil change and an inspection." When I was a bit incredulous about it he went on to try and sell me on how it makes sense because it's a performance vehicle. HA! It's a family sedan with a truck engine. I told him to cancel my appointment and hung up.

verfrugal

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Re: Alternator died, dealership wanted $600+ You know what I did.
« Reply #12 on: November 09, 2018, 03:50:43 PM »
I did the same on my 2008 Toyota Tacoma a few days ago.  Battery light came on, got out the multi-meter and determined it was a bad alternator.  I had to order a new alternator, and then by the time it arrived it was non-stop rain for a week.  Eventually I found an hour to take it out, and a few days later found a few relatively dry hours to put it in and re-assemble.

Cost me $130 or so, and made me rather proud. 8^)

Syonyk

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Re: Alternator died, dealership wanted $600+ You know what I did.
« Reply #13 on: November 11, 2018, 08:23:10 PM »
This is badass. I aspire to have enough tools and know how to fix my own car. Tools is the biggest hurdle for me currently, as I own only the basics.

A comprehensive toolkit of DIY-grade tools runs you less than what you save in a single repair.  If you can't get a good metric set and multimeter for under $100, go look somewhere else.  You don't need Snap-On, because you're not a mechanic doing it every day.

The "weird" stuff is generally available for rent from your local parts store - fan clutch tools, ball joint pullers, gear pullers, slide hammers, etc.  For free.

I've come to the conclusion that the *average* person cannot afford the *average* car. It gets worse now as it gets older because there's a lot of deferred maintenance. When they bring it to the dealer for repair they receive bills they cannot afford.

Problem: Taking it to the dealer.  You'll pay 2-3x as much as you will for a local independent shop to do the work, typically, though sometimes it's worse.

But, yes, a lot of people buy a lot more car than they can afford, and then don't learn that the optimum solution is to do the work themselves.  It's a bit more clear when you stretch to buy a total beater that you sort of can't take it to a shop and still afford to drive it...

Where the heck are you that anyone can even dare to quote $500 for a oil change? I can almost undestand the gouging on the other things: people with no experience or understanding of how something works can easily be fooled. But "everyone" who owns a car knows the basic price range...

A luxury car with specialized oil change procedures and a large sump of synthetic, likely.  Or a newer truck.  I took a truck to a Jiffy Lube for an oil change when I lived somewhere less compatible with doing my own work, and it was over $200, without any exotic oil.  Last time I ever did that... their estimate and their actual price were quite a bit apart, and I was not entertained.  But I can see a $500 oil change on a newer BMW or Mercedes being in the realm of "High, but not unreasonable for a dealership doing the work with full synthetic."  See previous comments on dealerships.

big_slacker

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Re: Alternator died, dealership wanted $600+ You know what I did.
« Reply #14 on: November 12, 2018, 03:30:50 PM »

Problem: Taking it to the dealer.  You'll pay 2-3x as much as you will for a local independent shop to do the work, typically, though sometimes it's worse.

Depends on the area. I'm in a HCOL area and even the indy shops are close to the dealers in cost. Have to hit the ones in the smaller towns not populated by rich techies who don't care about $500 oil changes. :D

Syonyk

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Re: Alternator died, dealership wanted $600+ You know what I did.
« Reply #15 on: November 12, 2018, 04:36:50 PM »
Have to hit the ones in the smaller towns not populated by rich techies who don't care about $500 oil changes. :D

Or just refuse to own vehicles that make a KTM's oil change process look simple, and do it yourself, at a "DIY Shop" (such things exist in some areas), or at a friend's driveway. ;)

I mean, my truck's oil change isn't cheap, but at this point, I've got a Fumoto valve under there (I don't off-road much with my truck, so I'm not that worried about taking a rock to the valve), and I literally just slide a 5 gallon bucket under, pop the valve open, and go do something else for a while.

Alternate, more-badass option: Learn to do $500 oil changes on-site and offer that as a mobile tech service. ;)

big_slacker

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Re: Alternator died, dealership wanted $600+ You know what I did.
« Reply #16 on: November 18, 2018, 12:11:19 PM »
Have to hit the ones in the smaller towns not populated by rich techies who don't care about $500 oil changes. :D

Or just refuse to own vehicles that make a KTM's oil change process look simple, and do it yourself, at a "DIY Shop" (such things exist in some areas), or at a friend's driveway. ;)

I mean, my truck's oil change isn't cheap, but at this point, I've got a Fumoto valve under there (I don't off-road much with my truck, so I'm not that worried about taking a rock to the valve), and I literally just slide a 5 gallon bucket under, pop the valve open, and go do something else for a while.

Alternate, more-badass option: Learn to do $500 oil changes on-site and offer that as a mobile tech service. ;)

I have zero issues doing an oil change, that was more advice than an excuse for myself.

OTOH I've got some stuff coming up that I don't think I want to attempt with my DD on a weekend. Axle shaft seals, CV boots, rear diff pinion seal and transfer case seal. Happy to pay someone to do that stuff, but not the $2500 a stealership or indy shop in the $$ areas wants.

Syonyk

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Re: Alternator died, dealership wanted $600+ You know what I did.
« Reply #17 on: November 18, 2018, 01:43:48 PM »
Differential work is one thing I will definitely let someone else do.  Hundredths or thousandths of an inch are the difference between a 10k mile differential and a 200k mile differential.

sequoia

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Re: Alternator died, dealership wanted $600+ You know what I did.
« Reply #18 on: November 18, 2018, 10:10:49 PM »
Sold the car and bought a bike??

 . . . oh.  Well, fixing it yourself is pretty good too I suppose . . .


:P

I've swapped alternators before unfortunately, and this one was probably the 2nd easiest aside from that one awfully placed and stuck bolt. Probably the next time I have to do this will be a LONG time, it's been like 12 years since the last one. The fancy beer was Elysian Dayglow IPA. I was actually looking for their Night Owl which is a perfect fall brew but sadly the store didn't have it. :(

RE bought a bike, I've got 4 already. One even has skinny tires. ;)

It is WAY not feasible for me to bike to work though, not if I want to live. It's rural 2 lane with 55 mph speed limit and small shoulders. A semi or distracted driver would take me out in the first month guaranteed. I do work from home 2-3 times a week and better still I keep 20k-30k people working from home and off the roads DAILY as a direct result of my work so I feel like my environmental impact is halfway decent.

imo you absolutely do not have to justify having a bike or not. I thought the post about selling the car and buy a bike was a waste of internet bandwidth. It really has nothing to do with your accomplishment.

From a guy who also have replaced alternators to save some money, I think it is awesome you did that! Now I am going to have to find that fancy beer of yours...