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Did I pay too much for a new battery?

kozakidkozakid Posts: 16
edited March 15 in Toyota
I have a 2004 Sienna, which I bought brand-new, with 60,000 miles. The original battery (84-month) died last week, and, needing a replacement quickly, I bought a new Interstate battery (65-month) from a garage-owner/mechanic in my small town.

The battery cost $58.95, but I ended up paying a grand total of $134.47, which I feel is too high. Or am I wrong?

Anyhow, when I dropped off my van I told the mechanic that I wanted him to test my battery first to see if I really needed a new one. About 45 minutes later I received a call from his employee telling me that, yes, I had needed a battery and that one had been put in. I've dealt with this dealer for several years, so I felt comfortable with him him being both reliable and honest. When I went to pick up my van I was given the bill for $134.47, an amount two and one-third times the price of the battery.

The charges are as follows:

$58.95 Battery

10.00 Shop Supplies

22.50 Battery - Testing -[Includes: Hydrometer and load test.]

37.50 Battery - Remove & Replace - [Includes: Test.]

5.52 Tax

For what it's worth, my car was in the shop less than 30 minutes. Of course, I'm more concerned about what it cost rather than how long it took. Does the amount I paid sound reasonable these days? It's been a number of years since I bought a new battery, so maybe things are simply done more expensively nowadays. One thing I noticed is the $22.50 charge was for testing, yet the $37.50 charge "includes test." I'm not sure what that means. Maybe I was accidentally charged twice for "testing." Apparently the "testing" charges cost more than the battery itself! And that's before the addition of "shop supplies" and sales tax! I haven't yet discussed any of this with the mechanic, but will certainly talk to him early this week.

Another thing. I found out from Toyota that the remaining months on my 84-month Toyota battery can be pro-rated, meaning I should be due a refund of nearly $50.00. Does that apply even if I bought the new replacement battery from an outside dealer? I believe it should. I'll carry the old battery to my Toyota dealer on Tuesday and see what they can do for me.

I would greatly appreciate hearing from anyone who can answer my questions. Thank you.

Comments

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I think you are eligible for reimbursement, but the question is does Toyota or does the battery manufacturer owe that to you. Ask at the dealer.
  • kozakidkozakid Posts: 16
    I hadn't thought of that possibility. I will definitely ask the dealer.

    Thanks.
  • jipsterjipster Posts: 5,345
    My Buick dealership wanted $170 to put in a new GM 84 month battery (2 year free replacement). They did the battery inspection free, as part of the 21 point inspection for a $31 oil change. No way I'm going to pay $170 for a battery.

    I ended up buying my 84 month ( 2 year free replacement) Exide Nascar battery from Goodyear for around $114 installed. I suppose if I bought the battery and put it in myself if would be around an $79- $89 battery. My battery was a little tricky getting out though.

    The $59 price for a battery is pretty good. Though I don't know where the $10 shop supplies fee would come from.. maybe your mechanic sent out for a pizza.

    Looks like they double billed you for the testing though.

    Next time have your battery tested for free (Autozone, most any place that sells batteries). If it's an easy install, do it yourself and save big $$$
  • kozakidkozakid Posts: 16
    Thanks for the advice!

    You're right. I should've gone to a place like AutoZone for a free test. And although I know virtually nothing about automobiles, I feel sure I could easily have replaced the battery myself. I learned a hard lesson this time, but it certainly won't happen again. Incidentally, I plan to discuss the "testing" charges with the mechanic soon.
  • jipsterjipster Posts: 5,345
    Just an FYI, the previous battery I had in my Buick cost about $105 installed. This was at an independent mechanics shop. The battery lasted less than 2 years. :cry: I suppose the total price included everything that was on your list.

    But, I've been in the same boat. You have something that needs repaired... you want it fixed right away. Your price really wasn't that bad. You could have saved around $20- $30 by taking it somewhere else, or having it tested yourself. Though, a lot of places(dealerships) probably would have charged more.
  • kozakidkozakid Posts: 16
    Thanks again for your help.

    Today I asked the mechanic if I had been charged twice for testing. He said no, then went on to offer an explanation which I was unable to understand. I believe he said it was necessary to test one thing and then another, ergo the separate testing charges. He mentioned that I was paying for their "know-how" and "a $100,000 piece of equipment." He went on to say that he was expensive because he was thorough, or words to that effect. I have to admit he is a well-schooled and extremely hard-working fellow who has a very faithful customer base. His success tells me that he's a good businessman, although I've heard from many that he can really be a jerk. Oh, well, I guess that sounds like a lot of people.

    Perhaps I should've asked him what I would've been charged if I had told him simply to take out the old battery and install a new one -- no testing involved. (Incidentally, I forgot ask him about the $10.00 shop supplies.)

    You may very well be right in saying that your previous $105 charge may have included the same items on my list. I figure that if Toyota, indeed, does send me a check for $45.00 or so, then things might not've turned out so bad after all.

    Once again, many thanks for your input :)
  • jipsterjipster Posts: 5,345
    Just another FYI for the 4 or 5 years down the road when you'll need another battery. Autozone will test and install your battery for free. Though they will only install if it is a simple pull out. When I went to Autozone a few months ago over my Buick Regal battery problem, they said they couldn't install my battery as there involved some removal of a few parts to get the old battery out. Autozone carries the Duralast brand which is highly rated.

    My 2004 Mazda MPV still has the factory battery in it at 43,000 miles. I'm guessing it may last another year.

    Good luck with your Sienna. They are very nice vans. We ordered one back in 2004, but it didn't work out with the crummy dealership we were working with. We've been very happy with our MPV though, so it worked out well. :)
  • kozakidkozakid Posts: 16
    Well, at least I've learned a lesson from this experience and will certainly be more careful the next time I have to buy a battery. I have to admit that I never even considered a place like AutoZone, which quite possibly would've been my best bet this time around.

    While I really love my Sienna, which is remarkably comfortable and quiet for a minivan, I am not at all surprised that you had a less than satisfactory experience at a Toyota dealership. I've bought several new Toyotas in the past, and every single time I've dealt with them I've had to hold my nose. My experience has always been that their cars are great, but their dealerships are lousy.

    I'm glad you've been enjoying your MPV. I may look beyond Toyota the next time I buy -- probably another minivan. I would most likely consider MPV, Nissan, Honda, and possibly Kia.

    Best of luck to you and thanks again! :)
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