If your vehicle’s battery warning light is illuminated, it is an indication the alternator might require replacement. Thankfully, you can perform this replacement on your own in an hour or less. Seize the opportunity to perform DIY alternator repair, and you won’t have to pay a single penny for overpriced service that takes up a lot of your time. Here’s a quick look at how to replace your vehicle’s alternator.

Set the Stage for Success

Alternator replacement starts with the proper positioning of your vehicle. Park your automobile on flat ground. Turn off the engine. Apply the emergency brake. Don gloves and eye protection for optimal safety. Pop the hood and locate the alternator, positioned toward the front of the engine. If necessary, use a floor jack to raise the vehicle. Be sure to jot down your radio station presets so you can re-enter them after replacing the alternator.

Remove the Old Alternator

The next step is to loosen and take off the negative cable connected to the battery. Move the cable far away from the terminal so you do not mistakenly form a connection. Find the belt tensioner. Apply reverse tension against this tensioner with a wrench, breaker bar, or socket, ensuring the belt can be properly disconnected from the alternator pulley. Take a look at the belt for any cracking or glazing. If such wear and tear is present, replace the belt.

Take off the dust boot from the primary power terminal to access the main power wire. A socket/wrench will be necessary to remove the nut. Lift the primary power cable from the alternator charging terminal. Pull the dust boot back to reach the connector safety clip. Pull the connector outward as you release the safety clip in order to remove the wire harness. Take off the upper mounting bracket and bolt with a wrench/socket. Take off the lower mounting bolt, grab the unit, and rock it back and forth while pulling it up to release the lower mounting bracket that holds the alternator in position. Gently remove the old unit.

Connecting the New Alternator

It will be difficult to install the new alternator unless you force the lower mounting bracket and press fit sleeve out for proper accommodation. Hammer the sleeve out in order to install the new alternator. Carefully lower the new unit down into the bay of the engine without contacting the radiator or other nearby components. The next step is to reinstall the lower mounting bolt. Add the upper mounting bolt, ensuring it is secured tightly into position. Tighten up the lower bolt. Reposition the computer’s wiring harness to ensure the voltage is properly monitored and adjusted.

Wipe away all grease, dirt, and other particles before reinstalling the primary charge cable along with the mounting nut. Tighten the cable into position, attach the weather boot to guard against moisture, and reconnect any remaining brackets/hoses removed when taking out the original alternator. Finally, reconnect the negative battery cable. However, if you notice a large spark forms when installing the end of the cable to the terminal, the alternator charge cable must be grounded and subsequently re-checked. The last step is the easiest: start the vehicle’s engine to see if the battery warning indicator is no longer illuminated. If everything goes according to plan, this light will not illuminate, providing you with the reassurance necessary to drive your vehicle with full confidence.