How To Replace An Alternator

On higher mileage and older vehicles, electrical problems can pop up suddenly. Thankfully, replacing a battery is very easy, and replacing an alternator is not too much harder. You can learn more about alternator basics in this blog post. But basically, the battery in your car is essentially the blood, where an alternator acts like a heart.  

Before You Begin The Replacement Process

ford alternator

Image Credit: FocusFanatics

Before you start, make sure your alternator is the cause of the issue. If you’re experiencing electrical issues in your Ford, it could be from a variety of issues. For example, batteries often fail after they’re 3 or 4 years old. If you’re sure the alternator has failed you should first buy a replacement. You can find many of Blue Springs Ford Parts' alternator offerings here.

Once you have a replacement, you’ll need a few tools.

  • A metric 3/8” drive ratchet and socket set with extensions 8mm to 19mm will work for most Ford alternator repairs.
  • A serpentine belt tool
  • A set of metric wrenches (similar sizing as above)

While the procedure may vary a bit depending on your model of Ford, these basic steps should have you covered to replace your alternator:

  1. Loosen and disconnect the negative battery cable
  2. Remove any plastic covers that may obstruct access
  3. Remove any air deflectors or underbody panels that may obstruct access
  4. Find the location of the alternator
  5. Release the belt tensioner and remove the serpentine belt (it’s a good idea to take a photo to help you remember its routing)
  6. Disconnect the electrical connector from the alternator housing
  7. Loosen and disconnect the battery cable from the alternator
  8. Remove any bolts that attache the alternator to its mounting brackets.
  9. Carefully remove the alternator.

To install the new alternator, you should follow the steps above in reverse.

Verifying The New Alternator Works Correctly

ford charging system

Image Credit: F150Ecoboost

Once you’ve installed the new alternator you should make sure it’s working properly. The easiest way is to do a charging system test. This will make sure your battery is properly charging and your alternator is working correctly. If you have a Ford Focus and have ongoing alternator issues, you may want to check out this blog post on