If your Honda Accord’s alternator is going out, it probably seems like a battery issue.
However, the alternator keeps the battery charged and your electronics running by converting mechanical power from the engine to electrical energy.
When it goes out, you’ll have trouble keeping the lights on, the dash on, and even the sensors running. Therefore, you’ll have to replace it if you want to keep driving.
The average cost of replacing a Honda Accord alternator is $250-$900. This includes $135-$800 in costs for parts and up to $300 in labor.
However, if you live in areas with high costs of labor, you’ll pay up to double that. Otherwise, your alternator replacement should cost within the above range.
The table below shows a quick price comparison of Honda Accord alternator replacement cost estimates from reputable suppliers:
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Honda Accord Alternator Replacement Cost Estimates*
Your Honda Accord alternator replacement will vary in cost depending on where you get the alternator and what your technician charges for labor. Here, the age of your Accord will have a small impact on the total job, but it shouldn’t matter too much.
For example, the following chart details the cost to replace an alternator in 10 different years of the Honda Accord.
|Vehicle||Alternator Cost||Labor Cost|
|2018 Honda Accord||$344-$780||$120-$270|
|2012 Honda Accord||$133-$760||$100-$260|
|2016 Honda Accord||$129-$620||$110-$158|
|2007 Honda Accord||$185-$790||$94-$170|
|2013 Honda Accord||$140-$565||$85-$170|
|2010 Honda Accord||$129-$620||$99-$154|
|2004 Honda Accord||$134-$612||$95-$234|
|1999 Honda Accord||$137-$590||$65-$198|
|2008 Honda Accord||$147-$563||$99-$145|
|2014 Honda Accord||$130-$629||$92-$127|
*Note: Prices are estimates and we’re correct at the time of writing June 2023. Cost estimates may have changed since, our figures should be used as a starting point for your own research.
What Is An Alternator?
The car’s alternator functions to turn mechanical power from the engine into electrical power. You use this electrical power to charge the battery, power the fans, power the lights, the sensors, the onboard computer, etc.
Essentially, the alternator is necessary to power all of your onboard electronics. That includes necessary things like the lights, the anti-brake locking system, and the system computer.
If it goes out, you might find you lose power. That could start out with simple signs like the battery going dead or dimming lights and headlights. But, once it goes out, you’ll have to replace or rebuild the alternator, and replacement is always cheaper.
That’s especially true in a Honda Accord where the alternator is relatively easy to access. It’s mounted just behind the driver-side headlight, and you can take it out with minimum work.
Honda Accord Alternator Replacement Price Factors
The most important cost factor in replacing your Honda Accord’s alternator is the local cost of labor. However, other factors like where you source the alternator will also be important.
Alternators vary in cost quite a bit. If you buy an OEM Honda alternator, it will almost always cost around $350-$650. You can also choose a premium brand, like Duracell which can cost up to $780.
The cheapest aftermarket alternators will run around $130 – and these are available for almost any year of Honda Accord you might have.
Therefore, you can expect costs to start at $130 in parts. But, if you go to the dealer, want the original part, or want a premium alternator, you can more than quadruple that cost.
Condition of the Alternator
It’s also an option to go to a junkyard, your mechanic, or even the internet to purchase a secondhand or a remanufactured alternator. These will typically cost about 40-60% less than a new alternator.
However, it’s not unlikely that you could buy a secondhand alternator for about $20 and then bring it to your technician to put into your car.
Of course, you might not be able to trust that alternator, but it is significantly cheaper.
Mechanic’s Hourly Rate
Replacing the alternator in a Honda Accord should take about an hour of work. If you’re unlucky, it might take up to two hours.
However, this means that you can get away with paying about $100 at most chain shops for the job. On the other hand, if it takes longer, that could go up to $200 or even $250.
In addition, you’ll have to check the local cost of labor in your area.
If you’re in a big city, it’s probably around $200, which means your alternator replacement will take $200-$400 in labor. A Honda dealer is also likely to charge you around $150 per hour or up to $350 for the job.
Other Replacement Parts
The Honda alternator belt might also need replacing. That should cost you another $100 on top of the alternator replacement fee.
5 Signs Of A Bad Honda Alternator
If your Accord’s alternator is going out, you’ll notice the following 5 signs.
1. Dimming and Flaring Lights
The alternator powers the lights, so if it is providing inconsistent power, the lights will flare up and dim. That can seem like a battery issue but it’s usually not.
Of course, you’ll get similar issues from loose lights, so always check the bulbs first.
2. Dead Battery
If your battery keeps dying or not charging, it’s likely an alternator issue. Here, your battery should charge while driving. If it doesn’t or if you keep having a dead battery without doing things like leaving lights on or the key in the ignition, you might have an alternator issue.
Still, you can also get the battery checked, and often for free, at a local mechanic or auto parts store.
3. Electronics Issues
If you’re noticing performance gaps or issues across the electronics, it might be the alternator. For example, do the windows take longer than usual to start moving? Does the radio skip or go quiet? Does the air conditioning or the fan dim?
If you notice things slowing down or going off while driving, it’s usually a power issue. That’s generally about the alternator.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that if this issue is central to a single thing like the radio, it might just be a faulty wiring harness.
4. Difficulty Starting
If your alternator isn’t charging the battery, your car will struggle to start. If your engine stalls shortly after starting, it means it’s not getting enough power from the engine to stay running. This is very likely to be an alternator issue.
Again, this could be a battery problem, although the stalling issue is almost always the alternator.
If you’re hearing growling, whining, creaking, or similar noises from the front of the car, especially by the headlights, it’s usually the alternator belt.
That can be the alternator, the belt, or the pulleys experiencing problems, but all three will contribute to a lack of power in your car.
How Do You Replace A Honda Accord Alternator?
Replacing the alternator in your Honda Accord is a relatively quick and simple job and you should be able to do it yourself.
However, you may want to ensure you have the service manual on hand so that you can reference it as you work.
Things you’ll need
- 10mm socket
- 12mm deep socket
- 14mm wrench
- Breaker bar
- Torque wrench
- Needle-nose pliers
- Optional but recommended: Serpentine belt
- Disposable gloves
- New alternator (105 amp)
- Fully charged battery
- Park your car on a flat surface, set the parking brake, and remove the key from the ignition.
- Take the battery out of the car. You’ll want to ensure it’s fully charged or replace it with a new battery so you don’t burn out the new alternator.
- Locate the alternator on the driver’s side of the vehicle, usually just behind the headlight.
- Disconnect the wire clip by pinching the harness together.
- Slip the fan belt off.
- Use the ratchet and deep socket to loosen the tensioner on the serpentine belt and then remove it. You may want to use chalk to mark the position of the tensioner before doing so.
- Loosen the alternator bolts. You may need a breaker bar.
- Compare the new and old alternators.
- Put the new alternator in place.
- Tighten the bolts.
- Slip the fan belt back on.
- Adjust it until the fan belt is snug.
- Replace the serpentine belt and put the tensioner back where it was.
- Reconnect the wiring harness.
- Replace the battery.
You’ll want to turn the vehicle on and idle it to see how it runs.
If you hear noises, the belt slaps, or the lights don’t turn on, you’ll want to double-check your work.
If your alternator is going out, you’ll have to take steps to fix it quickly. A bad alternator can result in losing braking power and onboard electronics while driving. Fixing the issue in a Honda Accord usually costs $250-$500 but can be over $1,500 depending on where you live. And, you can always go for DIY repair and replace the alternator yourself.
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