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Battery Replacement Cost

A neighbor with an 2012 Journey had her car battery fail. $300 later she was back on the road. The outrageous cost is because a fender had to be removed to replace the battery. What in the world are Chrysler engineers thinking when they make such stupid designs for an item that needs to be replaced every 4-5 years?

The fender isn’t removed.

But the left tire has to be removed to gain access to the battery, by removing the access panel from the inner fender liner ahead of the front tire.


BUFF (Battery Under Front Fender), Chrysler has used this location for almost 25 years, batteries last much longer when located outside the engine compartment in hot climates.

It takes 5 minutes longer to replace a battery in this location. I have never heard of anyone removing a fender for this, sounds like a story to charge 2 hours labor.

NOTE: The battery is stored in a compartment that is
located behind the left front fender and is accessible
through the wheel well. The wheel and tire assemble do
not need to be removed to access the compartment.
Remote battery terminals are located in the engine compartment
for jump-starting. Refer to “Jump-Starting Procedures”
in “What To Do In Emergencies” for further
To access the battery, turn the steering wheel fully to the
right and remove the access panel from the inner fender

If consumers had just a BASIC understanding of their cars maintenance requirements they could save thousands of dollars over the life of their car…Few motorists today can even begin to remove a tire and wheel…This ignorance can end up costing them a lot of money…


I think some details are missing plus unclear communications. If there was a service call charge to jump car and the place had to get the battery from a supplier plus a charge for removal and install of battery it could easily hit $300.00

Not to mention battery prices are quite high, nowadays

The days of the $60 battery are long over, AFAIK

I suspect that Volvo is right. And I suspect that what was actually done that the OP has third-handedly passed on to us as “removed a fender” was actually removal the inner fender shield. I think the rest of Volvo’s post is probably accurate as well.

+1 (or does this make it +2?)
In addition to other possible–but unmentioned–factors that could have impacted the total cost, I suspect that either the OP or the vehicle owner didn’t understand the difference between “fender” and “fender liner”, or that something major was lost in the telling of the story.

I wonder what the McParts stores are telling owners of such cars when they ask for a new battery and expect it to be replaced free as their signs advertise.

And is the same design engineer who put access panels in the right fender liner on several models with Slant-6 engines still at Chrysler?

Jaguar used a Lucas electric cooling fan for the battery in the 1980’s. I’d much rather have the battery in the fender well. Batteries under the rear seat were a pain especially in 2 doors.

Rural King has Exide car batteries starting at $44.99 with a 60 month warranty and 1 year free replacement. That’s the lowest price I’ve seen in a long time.

Is that the good news or the bad news?

Lucas electrical products had an alarmingly high failure rate.

I’m not sure if the cost is outrageous. A decent quality battery will retail for $130-$140. The Mitchell labor guide shows a labor time of 1.1 hours. $140 for a battery, $110 to replace it, maybe a little extra for a jump start service call or an electrical system charging/starting/draw test, you’re right at $300. Nothing unusual.

Remember, Chrysler also made the 300 (and maybe other models) that require the front bumper cover to be removed to replace a burned out headlamp.

Space in an engine compartment is at a premium these days, batteries are often located in the trunk, under the back seat, in the fender, under the passenger floor, etc.

That only works if the car has not been upgraded to 20" or 22" custom wide wheels. That usually leaves no room to access the battery panel. I always pull the wheel anyway. Gives a little extra working room and takes 30 seconds.

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When I had to have the car jump started, it cost me $40 (reimbursed) and this is in a relatively small town. Its like $25 minimum show up charge and then the actual labor cost. He just used a battery pack and took less than 10 minutes including time to write the invoice and process the debit card. Same thing when I needed a tow in the metro area. Towed me about a mile but cost me $80 (reimbursed). People need to get paid.

I agree . . .

Sometimes, it makes sense to remove one more component, if it means the job will be that much easier to perform, because now you actually have room to work

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I don’t see $300 being that much out of line. It depends what all was involved. Maybe there was some diagnosis time before finally deciding the battery was the culprit for example. Add to that $100 for the battery and $100 for the hour it took to install it, $300. And new batteries can cost close to $200 depending on the make/model/ and year of car they are for, and where you buy them. At a dealership shop they’d be considerably more expensive I’d guess. Absent becoming a diy’er, this is a problem I think the OP is going to have to just grin and bear. Going forward, when buying another car OP can ask here the typical time to replace a battery. It varies car to car.

When you consider the time beginning when the mechanic picks up the keys and work order until the work is completed and the car parked ready for the customer $100+ doesn’t seem excessive. The car would require jumping off, a low voltage source would be connected to save all the memories, the cable ends would be cleaned and the tray cleaned and coated with corrosion proofinig. And yes, batteries prices have gone ballistic in the last few years. I believe the price a few months ago for a group 24 battery at a McParts store was $110 and it was the mid price model.

Most likely someone looking at a vehicle purchase is not wondering ( Gee, how long will it take me to put a battery in every 4 or 5 years?)


I don’t think 300 is too much, but depends on the brand of battery.

I tend to think that 300 dollars involves more than the cost of the battery.

As Rod Knox mentioned, battery prices over the past few years have soared. Not many years ago the core charge at Wal Mart was 2 dollars for a battery. Then it quickly jumped to 7 then 9 and I think the current tab is 12 dollars.

If the job was done a the dealer, it certainly could run $300.