Outside of your kitchen staff, your alternator is one of the hardest working parts in your food truck. It’s a common misconception that the battery in your truck is what supplies your power while the vehicle is running. In truth, the alternator not only supplies all of your electrical power while the vehicle is running, it is also recharging your battery at the same time.
Every time you use your headlights, radio, air conditioner, heater, defroster or turn signal, it’s your alternator that’s making it all work. Needless to say, when it dies, so does your food truck. That makes its replacement a pretty big priority.
Here’s a look at what it costs to replace your food truck’s alternator:
Other Items Replaced
Your alternator is run by your serpentine belt, and this must be removed in order to remove the alternator. If the belt hasn’t been replaced in some time, or is showing signs of wear, now is the perfect time to replace it.
It will already be part of the labor to remove the alternator, so the only added cost is the price of the belt. The last item which may require replacement along with your alternator is your battery. Starting your vehicle takes up a lot of your battery’s juice. If it didn’t have something recharging it constantly, it would only last for a couple of starts.
If your alternator fails, your food truck will still look for power to operate. It will find this power in your battery. Unfortunately, without your alternator working to recharge it, this could do damage.
So How Much Will It Cost?
The average time for most alternator replacement is two-to-three hours. That gives you roughly $120- $200 in labor to start. The rest is going to depend on the price of your alternator. Most alternators can be purchased from auto parts stores for much less than a dealership, but beware.
Certain discount auto parts stores carry a couple lines of electrical parts that have reputations for being of poor quality. Buying an alternator aftermarket is not inadvisable, tons of money can be saved that way; but, make sure you’re using a quality part. Alternators can average anywhere from $100 to $350 depending on make and model of your food truck’s engine.
Most vehicles will fall into the $350-400 range for the total job of alternator replacement with no other parts replaced. If the serpentine belt gets tacked on, add another $20 to $50 to your bill. If you decide to go with dealership parts and labor, expect the bill to climb over $500 in many cases.
Don’t do it!!! When it comes to electrical parts on any vehicle, let alone the platform for your mobile food business, you truly do get what you pay for. Any used electrical part is going to be a risk, and will probably come without a warranty. This is also the case for rebuilt alternators.
Be advised: Rebuilt and remanufactured are two different things. A rebuilt alternator is an alternator that has failed and then had the internal parts which failed replaced; everything else inside it stays. A remanufactured alternator is usually all new internal parts surrounded by a used casing. Everything gets replaced inside, no matter what failed. If you need to save a few bucks, go with remanufactured over brand new, but steer clear of rebuilt and used.