Chevrolet Uplander Alternator Replacement Cost

Know what price you should pay to get your vehicle fixed.

Alternator Replacement
The average cost for a Chevrolet Uplander alternator replacement is between $421 and $736. Labor costs are estimated between $167 and $300 while parts are priced between $254 and $436. Estimate does not include taxes and fees.

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Alternator Replacement

What is an alternator?

The battery gives your car the charge it needs to get started, but it has a finite amount of storage. This creates the need for a built-in battery charger — that's where the alternator comes in.

The alternator charges the battery and powers the vehicle's electrical system when the engine is running. It provides power to the starter motor, lights, stereo and more.

How does the alternator work?

The alternator is mounted on the engine, and creates power when it's turned by the serpentine belt or drive belt. As it spins, it creates electricity, and the built-in voltage regulator and rectifier are responsible for ensuring the current is correct for the vehicle.

The alternator produces an alternating current (AC), which is changed to usable direct current (DC) by the rectifier diodes within the alternator. 

What are the symptoms related to a bad alternator?

Alternator failure while driving will cause the battery light to illuminate on the dashboard. Soon after, all electrical components will being to lose power, the vehicle will stall, and jump-starting will not be effective. The alternator can also fail due to the bearing that holds the internal rotating assembly, causing a grinding noise that changes with engine speed.

More symptoms of a bad alternator

Can I drive with an alternator problem?

A vehicle with a weak alternator can be driven to a repair shop, but if the alternator has completely failed, the car will need to be towed.

How often do alternators need to be replaced?

Alternator failure is fairly common, but an alternator can last well over 100,000 miles without incident. Harsh driving conditions and custom power accessories can shorten the life of an alternator.

How are alternator issues diagnosed?

When there is any failure in the starting and charging system, the entire system must be tested. Repair shops use professional test equipment that checks every component simultaneously and definitively. If the alternator is the problem, it will be identified.

How is an alternator replaced?

When replacing the alternator, the technician must remove the battery cables to prevent electric shock. Afterwards, the accessory drive belts or serpentine belts must be removed from the alternator, along with electrical connectors, and several bolts. Once the bolts are removed, the alternator is free from the alternator brackets, and can be removed. Replacement is in reverse order, and proper torque must be applied to prevent damage. The vehicle will then be retested in the same manner to ensure the repair is complete.

RepairPal Recommendations for alternator issues

Since the alternator requires the removal of the serpentine belt, replacing the serpentine belt is recommended if the belt is worn, or the service interval has been reached. If the battery cables were identified as having physical damage or extensive corrosion, they should be replaced as well.

What to look out for when dealing with alternator issues

On most modern vehicle's, the amount of room to work can be extremely limited, and that can play a significant role in repair cost. In some cases suspension components, drive axles, cooling fans, and bumpers must be removed to access the alternator. The manufacturer supplies an alternator with the vehicle that produces appropriate amperage for the original components. If additional electrical components are installed, the new alternator should be of a sufficient grade to handle additional power demands.

To prevent damage to the alternator, proper procedures must be followed when jump-starting the vehicle or when using a battery charger to charge the battery. Never disconnect the battery from the vehicle when the engine is running. The battery absorbs excess voltage from the alternator and without it, the higher voltage may destroy the vehicle's electrical and electronic components.

Since the alternator is designed to maintain a charged battery, charging a dead battery by driving the vehicle places a strain on the alternator. Charging a dead battery requires a sustained and substantial flow of current, which is not what the alternator is designed for. Repeatedly jump-starting and then driving a vehicle to charge the battery can lead to alternator failure.

Can I replace the alternator myself?

As mentioned before, the alternator can be placed in a location that is inaccessible without extensive deconstruction. In these cases, the replacement should be left to a professional technician to prevent damage, or improper installation of sensitive components. If the location of the alternator is accessible, a good understanding of starting and charging system diagnostics and repair can make this job a cost-saving DIY.