Battery Change in the rain

Auto parts store would not do free installation to replace battery bc it was drizzling. As the guy ate his food at the counter he said he could get electrocuted so I didn’t push it. Then they charged me $20 extra bc I wasn’t letting them install it. Was he lying and lazy, or telling the truth?

That extra $20.00 was most likely a deposit which will be returned when you take the old battery to them. Look at your paper work.

No, you can’t get electrocuted changing a battery in the rain.

The additional $20 was probably what’s called a core charge. Often times when you buy an auto part the old part has value as either a rebuildable piece or recycle value. In fact many states are required to charge this core charge on a battery to help encourage the return of the battery for recycling rather than throwing it in the dumpster. My battery supplier charges me $16 for each unreturned battery. I assume you got the $20 back when you turned in your old battery.

Maybe it was the guy’s lunch break and he didn’t want to work on your car in the middle of his sandwich. Maybe he really does think that changing a battery in the rain is dangerous. Maybe he’s just a slacker. Either way, you can’t really be complaining about the quality or availability of a service that’s free.

I suspect that with all the electronics under the hood and what might be called a drizzle by some is rain to others they might be told not to expose anything might cause problems by getting wet. It appears the OP did not understand the core charge so there is a communication problem here.

Either way, you can't really be complaining about the quality or availability of a service that's free.

It’s not free. It’s included in the price of the battery.

There are a great many potential problems with electronics and I wouldn’t take a chance on the counter help at a parts store to replace a battery on any late model vehicle. I’m surprised that the McParts stores don’t post a long list of cars excluded from the free installation offer.

Maybe the guys mascarra would run!!! Who knows.

I also think the $20 was a core charge.


It’s not free. It’s included in the price of the battery.

If that was the case then the battery price would have been lower for a carry-out.

@asemaster Our local whatever zone is the same price off the shelf for home install or they install. Would your battery last till a sunny day? Only the shadow knows what evil lurks in the heart of free battery replacement men, or corporate policy.

I know with my daughters battery replacement I asked if they used memory minders, yes he said ever since they had a giant bill for a honda brains that failed.

Those McParts stores may have all they can handle replacing wiper blades when it’s raining. Funny how people will drive with a wiper blade flopping in the breeze for weeks, passing one or another parts store by without a thought. Then when it rains they suddenly have a terrible emergency.

Our local whatever zone is the same price off the shelf for home install or they install. Would your battery last till a sunny day? Only the shadow knows what evil lurks in the heart of free battery replacement men, or corporate policy.

And I’m sure there’s a disclaimer somewhere indicating subject to available staff, models excluded, when conditions allow, etc. I wonder if you went in with a Buick that requires rear seat removal, or a Dodge that requires wheel and fender liner removal, or a BMW that requires the battery to be registered to the car, what would they say?

If you’re not paying for it separately it’s free. And a free service is worth what you pay for it.

If you buy a battery from me it will cost $24 to install it. For that we will attach an outside power source so you don’t lose clock/radio/ecm memory, clean your battery cable ends, and check the system running voltage when we’re done. Unless it costs more, like the cars mentioned above.

I think he didn’t want to get wet replacing your battery.

If the parts store guy understood electricity he’d have a better job than standing behind a cash register.
No way 12V can electrocute unless the skin is pierced.

I think the battery-install guy, he just didn’t want to go outside and get wet installing a battery is all. I can see his point. I don’t work on my cars in the rain. If a shop offers some “free” service when you buy the item there, I don’t think they are required to offer a discount in lieu of the “free” service. If OP believes the customer treatment was shabby, the best recourse is to not do business there again; either that or talk to the manager about what happened.

I remember a van, the battery was under the passenger seat . . . in a hole

But it gets better . . .

You couldn’t tell, by looking under the seat, because the factory procedure was to cut the carpet at a predisclosed location, which allowed you to peel up the carpet and access to the battery

How on earth would you expect autozone guy to know that?

And why should anybody do that for free?

By the time he’s done he’ll have a hernia . . . for free

Had my wifes windstar done, not trying to disrespect the work you do, the terminals were corroded and he brushed and cleaned the terminals like nobody’s business. Talked to advance auto, no issues with bmw as long as memory saver is used, rear seat removal by customer is needed if applicable, Dodge and fender liner not []-

Actually, I’ve developed a healthy respect for the power of an auto battery. It isn’t volts, rather it is amps (or the amount of current) that gives you a good shock. Perhaps the auto parts guy was lazy, but If the ground he is standing on is wet that is a condition that can set up a pretty good zap.

I wouldn’t ask anybody to go out in the rain and change a battery. If I were in a hurry, I would change it myself. Otherwise, I would just wait until the rain subsided. I once purchased a battery from Advanced Auto and they offered to change the battery and I took them up on the offer. I’ve also bought wiper blades and tai light bulbs and they changed them for me. However, I would not have the store clerk go out in the rain.

@UncleTurbo: It takes typically about 35-40 volts to feel an electric shock, maybe a little less with wet or sweaty skin. Certainly less if the skin is pierced. A 12V battery with any amount of current available will not even shock a person under most circumstances, even if you lick your fingers and firmly press them on the terminals. Wet ground will not matter unless the voltage is higher than 12V and the person is barefoot. And a car battery is ‘isolated’, requiring a complete circuit across both terminals, so I doubt it it would matter even then.

Beyond a few 10s of milliamps of current, the extra amperage is just “overkill”, no pun intended. Saying the extra current gives you a good shock is like saying that your headlights would light brighter if you had 10,000 amps of current available instead of the hundreds available from a car battery. It is the resistance of the circuit (whether it’s a light or a human body) that determines and limits current flow. This is why a direct short will pop a fuse like a firecracker but a headlamp or whatever will run forever without overtaxing the circuit if it is properly designed. Otherwise you’d have to change your car’s fuses to accommodate batteries of different current delivery capacity.

When you think about it…I suppose he shouldn’t be cut down about not going out in the rain to change a battery.

It may have been just a sprinkle, but that’s the time he’d run into a problem. I stripped battery hold down that won’t loosen, a cable terminal fall off, or dud for a replacement battery.
Then he’s stuck having to finish the job and the sprinkle turns into a downpour.

He can’t be expected to try getting a saw blade in there to pull the hold down out, or replace the entire positive battery cable because it was corroded enough that the terminal fell right off.