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Home/Questions/Change belt on chevy hhr

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2010 Chevrolet HHR - Alternator

The alternator charges the battery and keeps the electrical accessories of the car working while it is running. When the alternator loses capacity or fails, the electrical systems will only stay on until the battery's reserve charge is depleted. Your car might die, but you may be able to restart it with a jump start. If you notice that your headlights dim or your battery won't stay fully charged, it may be time to replace your alternator or other related parts. This might include replacing the voltage regulator if it is separate from the alternator. Also, check the tension of your belts to make sure the alternator is spinning while the engine runs. If you need an alternator or other charging system parts, shop O’Reilly Auto Parts. We also carry jump starters, car batteries, and starters for most vehicles.

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Alternator Repair Service

How much does a Alternator Repair cost?

On average, the cost for a Chevrolet HHR Alternator Repair is $530 with $435 for parts and $95 for labor. Prices may vary depending on your location.

CarServiceEstimateShop/Dealer Price
2009 Chevrolet HHRL4-2.0L TurboService typeAlternator RepairEstimate$984.59Shop/Dealer Price$1211.99 - $1871.69
2010 Chevrolet HHRL4-2.0L TurboService typeAlternator RepairEstimate$964.59Shop/Dealer Price$1192.01 - $1851.72
2008 Chevrolet HHRL4-2.4LService typeAlternator RepairEstimate$1270.56Shop/Dealer Price$1566.24 - $2417.19
2006 Chevrolet HHRL4-2.4LService typeAlternator RepairEstimate$1274.82Shop/Dealer Price$1571.53 - $2425.65
2006 Chevrolet HHRL4-2.2LService typeAlternator RepairEstimate$1274.82Shop/Dealer Price$1571.59 - $2425.76
2010 Chevrolet HHRL4-2.4LService typeAlternator RepairEstimate$1270.56Shop/Dealer Price$1566.24 - $2417.19
2010 Chevrolet HHRL4-2.2LService typeAlternator RepairEstimate$1278.56Shop/Dealer Price$1574.02 - $2424.81
2008 Chevrolet HHRL4-2.2LService typeAlternator RepairEstimate$1278.56Shop/Dealer Price$1574.62 - $2425.86

Show example Chevrolet HHR Alternator Repair prices

How does an alternator help your car run?

The alternator is the component that charges the battery in your car. When you use electrical components in your car (stereo, lights, etc.), the battery loses power. The alternator recharges the battery, replenishing the lost battery power. The alternator is located in the engine compartment. If the alternator is not working properly, your car will only stay running for as long as the battery has power stored. Once the battery loses power, your car will not start. Normally, a malfunctioning alternator will turn on the battery warning light or will have a low volt gauge reading.


Before repairing the alternator:

The mechanic should check the entire charging system before installing a new alternator, including checking battery cables for corrosion and the condition of the battery.

Steps when replacing an alternator:

  • Inspect entire charging system (battery, cables, alternator).
  • Inspect the drive belts.
  • Test alternator output.
  • Remove and replace alternator if found to be faulty.
  • Re-test alternator output.

Our recommendation for alternator replacements:

Ask your mechanic to inspect the condition of the charging system during every major service. The mechanic should also clean and tighten the battery cables during every major service.

What common symptoms indicate you may need to replace the Alternator?

  • Dead battery or battery will not hold a charge.
  • Dim lights.
  • Battery warning light is on.

Why repairing your alternator is important:

Your alternator charges your battery, which powers the electronics in your vehicle, such as the radio and the air conditioning. The battery is also needed to turn on your vehicle. A malfunctioning alternator will not charge your car’s battery, and your vehicle will eventually run out of battery life and not be able to start.

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2009 hhr alternator replacment

A bad alternator can leave your Chevy HHR without power and unable to move.  Alternators don’t always go bad in the exact same way.  We’ll cover the symptoms of when an alternator goes bad, and how to diagnose a bad one (which is really pretty easy).

Signs of a Bad Alternator Chevy HHR


How Your HHR’s Alternator Works

The alternator’s job in your HHR is to provide electricity as it is running.  The battery stores enough voltage to be able to start the engine without the assistance of an alternator.  

It is turned by a serpentine belt.  It’s worth noting that a bad serpentine belt can cause the alternator to stop charging effectively.  It’s pretty easy to tell if one is bad.  It’ll look dry rotted. If it’s been slipping a lot it’ll have a glossy shine to it.  You’ll have probably heard it squeal when you start the engine.  They typically don’t fail quietly.


Symptoms of a Bad Alternator:  Chevy HHR

Most of the time, when replacing an alternator, the alternator itself is relatively affordable.  It’s the labor that makes the job expensive.  Here are the most common symptoms of a bad alternator in a Chevy HHR:

Chevy HHR Bad Alternator Symptoms

Battery Light

The battery light is designed to tell you that there is not enough voltage to properly charge the battery, or that the battery itself is not holding the proper voltage.

In rare occasions the service engine soon light may light up.  Also, some vehicles have an “alt” light that specifically tells you there is a problem with the charging system, and not the battery itself.


Dead Battery

Outside of the battery warning light, a dead battery is the most common symptom of a bad alternator.  As the alternator can no longer supply your HHR with an adequate power supply, it will begin to feed off of the reserve in the battery.  

Once this battery reserve hits a certain level, the vehicle will begin to run erratically and will no longer start when the key is turned.

Often, the battery light will come on, the alternator gets replaced, and then a few days later the vehicle dies.  That’s why it’s important to test the battery before you just replace it.  Nearly any auto parts store will test your battery for free to see if it holds a charge.  The process can sometimes take an hour or so, but it’s worth it to know before throwing money into a battery that you do not need.


Stalling Engine

As described above, a bad alternator will drain your HHR’s battery fast.  When the battery gets so dead it will no longer be able to power your HHR’s ignition system.  As the ignition system is no longer able to produce a full powered spark, the engine will begin to sputter and stall.

If you find yourself in a position where you suspect that your voltage is dropping, but you need to safely get off the highway, turn off everything that you possibly can.  Kill the radio, daytime running lights, air conditioning, heated seats, EVERYTHING.  That will allow all of the limited voltage in the battery to go to the ignition system.


Bearing Noises

If your HHR’s alternator starts to have bearings that fail, it’ll begin to make some very obnoxious noises.  If the serpentine belt has gone bad, it can make some noises too, but it won’t sound metallic like the bearings going bad would.


Dim headlights

Dimming headlights are one of the most common signs of a bad alternator in the Chevy HHR.  Dim headlights indicate that the alternator can’t keep up with the energy request for the lights.  As your HHR begins to eat through the voltage stored in the battery, the headlights will begin to fade.


Electric Accessory Issues

Many accessories in a vehicle require quite a bit of voltage.  Heated seats, the blower motor, power windows, and even the radio will work erratically or not work at all when the alternator is bad.



Chevy HHR Bad Alternator Diagnosis

Some alternators go bad right away, and some slowly lose their ability to charge under heavy loads.  The ones that fail completely are easy to diagnose.  The battery drains and you are stuck with a vehicle that goes nowhere.  

The challenge is diagnosing an alternator that is just not quite charging like it needs to be.  You can easily diagnose it with almost any multimeter.  Here’s what to do.

Chevy HHR Bad Alternator Diagnosis
  1. Get a multimeter.  They are cheap (you can get a decent one for $10), and you can get them almost anywhere.  
  2. Set it to read voltage. Specifically, you’ll need to set it to 20V DC.
  3. With your HHR turned off, you’ll connect the negative side of the meter to the negative battery post or wire.  You’ll then touch the positive side of the voltmeter to the positive battery wire.  With the engine off, you should get a reading somewhere between 12.0 volts and 12.6 volts.
  4. Now that you have this baseline, it’s time to turn the engine on.  Let’s go ahead and leave the air conditioner off, as well as the headlights and any other accessories.
  5. With the engine just fired up,  you should get over 14.2 volts.  If you got 14.2 or more volts, the alternator is charging fine.  If it’s still showing in the 12’s, it’s time to replace the alternator.  If it’s producing a voltage level in the 13’s, go ahead and take it into a parts store and have it tested.  It’s probably bad.
  6. Now, assuming that the alternator was producing over 14 volts, go ahead and turn on the headlights, air conditioner, radio, and any other accessory you can think of, and run the same test all over again.  If the voltage dropped back into the 12’s, it’s a very strong indication that the alternator is bad.  It’s still worth having it tested, but be prepared to replace it.

Another test you can do that’s not nearly as scientific is to turn the headlights on and then start the engine.  They should get brighter after the engine starts, since the voltage is increasing by almost 2 volts.  

Now with the engine idling, rev it up a little bit.  Did the headlights get brighter as you increase the RPM?  This is a very strong indication that the alternator has in fact gone bad.

This test depends a lot on you to notice very subtle differences in lighting.  It should not be used in substitute for checking the voltage as described directly above.



Over the life of any vehicle, the alternator is going to go bad.  Good luck diagnosing the alternator in your HHR.  If there is anything that you would like to add, please leave a comment below.

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Alternator replace hhr

Chevrolet HHR Alternator Replacement

An alternator generates electric power in a car and is a major component of the car's charging system. Replacement costs depend on the year, make, and model of the car.

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RepairSmith offers upfront and competitive pricing. The average cost for Chevrolet HHR Alternator Replacement is $386. Drop it off at our shop and pick it up a few hours later, or save time and have our Delivery mechanics come to you.

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What is an Alternator?

The alternator is responsible for two things. First, it powers the electrical units when your car is running. The radio, lights, window switches, USB ports, etc., are all powered by the alternator. And second, it recharges the car’s battery, which is the source of electricity when the car is turned off. Your car’s alternator gains power from the engine. It’s connected to the engine via a drive belt, and it converts that energy into usable electricity. It’s a pretty simple system. However, the alternator does need to be regulated, to make sure that nothing is overcharged or undercharged. In older cars, that’s the job of the voltage regulator. In newer cars, the engine control module (ECM) is responsible for those duties.

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Symptoms of a failing Alternator

Car won’t start

When your car is running, the alternator uses energy from the engine to recharge the battery. When the car is off, it needs that electricity from the battery in order to turn back on. If the car won’t turn on, it may be because the alternator isn’t recharging the battery.

Hard starting

Similarly, if the alternator isn’t charging the battery sufficiently, you’ll likely have trouble starting the car, also known as a hard start.


You might think that these issues only arise when starting the vehicle, but a malfunctioning alternator can actually result in stalling when your car is turned on.

Lights that are too bright or too dim

If the alternator is sending too much electricity to the electrical units, your car’s lights will likely be brighter than they’re supposed to be. Conversely, if the alternator isn’t sending enough electricity, then the lights will be too dim.

Whining noise

A busted alternator will often make an annoying whining noise when the engine is running.

Warning lights

A malfunctioning alternator will usually result in a warning light or two illuminating on your dashboard. The check engine warning light and a charging system warning light are most common.

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How urgent is an Alternator replacement?

Usually a faulty alternator won’t cause further damage to the vehicle. However, if it is overcharging or undercharging certain electrical units, it is possible for some damage to occur. A malfunctioning alternator does make your car less reliable, however, due to the potential issues with stalling and starting, so it’s best to get it replaced immediately if you’re starting to notice the above symptoms.

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