In order to run my van's power inverter (to power accessories like power tools or electric cooktops for camping), I needed to upgrade my vehicle's alternator. Instead of paying $265 for a complete unit, I opted to purchase the necessary component parts for $180. I thought the process would be as easy as, say, swapping out a blue Lego for a red one. Nope. Some of the pieces not supplied in the kit, pieces I was supposed to reuse from my original alternator, were worn. Replacement parts are on the way at the expense of $25 and one week's downtime for the van.
Even so, I can't regret my choice too greatly. I have a much deeper understanding of how my alternator works, now that I have taken one apart. And I live in Bardstown, where the entire city exists within biking distance from my house. It is good, in a way, to be without a vehicle for a while. It’s too bad that things didn’t work out more smoothly for me, and I should have done more research ahead of time to anticipate the possibility of worn parts, but I can’t say I would approach the same problem any differently in the future. It’s my way to (a) try to save a buck and (b) learn a whole lot about my world in the process.