Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Big Trouble $$$-Battery Leaking

I need some thoughts on how others would handle this situation: A few weeks ago my 2008 Ford Fusion engine/transmission warning lights came on. I took my car to a local Ford dealer and they told me that my Bosch battery (made by Excide) leaked acid all over some electronic components. The leak came from the negative post terminal. There is spacing where the post goes into the battery. They first thought they could do the repairs under warranty, but since the battery caused the problem they could not get it approved. The cost of repairs is $4,500. I now have Excide involved. I took pictures of the battery and engine compartment to show them the damage. I put in a claim and now they are telling me that they want the battery shipped to them so that they can do some testing on it – which could take 3 weeks. I’m not sure if I should allow them to have the battery. Once it out of my possession, I have nothing to challenge them on. However, I do understand why they want to look at it. I might not have a choice. Any thoughts? I’d prefer they send one of their reps to the dealer to look at the battery and the damage it caused. The rep can then report his findings back to the corporate office. I just can’t believe the damage the acid caused. I never saw it coming. There were no signs. The car was sitting for 2 weeks in my garage while I was on vacation. Could that much damage occur in 2 weeks? I paid $20,000 for the car new. Repairs could cost $5,000. A good 2008 Fusion is worth about $9,000. Any advice on what you would do would be appeciated.

Take pictures, keep all documentation form the dealership. Make sure the dealer is putting everything in writing. Then send them the battery.

$4500 in damage? Are they serious? I can’t believe that.

BTW, who installed this battery? They may be responsible for the damage and not Excide. They could have broken the post while tightening down the terminal.

I call BS on $4500 of damages.
Find out EXACTLY what is supposedly wrong, and what they are doing about it.
Post that here.
Take the car to NOT a dealer!

Was this the original battery in your Fusion? If it is, then obviously something was defective with the battery or the way the worker installed it at the factory. If it is a replacement battery, then it must be determined whether the battery had a defect or the installer caused the problem.

Yeah, I would take lots of pics of the battery and then send it off. What do you really have to loose. WIth thsat said, I will bet they come back and say…“the car had a charging issue, and it over charged the battery, not our problem”…

I forgot to mention that the negative post is loose. This is not the original battery. It’s about 2 yrs old. It was installed by the retailer. How would I know if it was a charging issue? Can the alternator be tested for that?

I guess a loose post could eventually heat up because its resistance is higher than normal.
Not sure if a battery would start spewing because of it, though.

With the engine running, the voltage across the battery should be about 14.4V if it is charging correctly.

I would not be too quick to claim ripoff without knowing exactly what has been damaged. If acid has eaten up part of the main wire harness along with who knows what else then the price to repair something like this could be very high. Clarification of exactly how that 4500 is broken down by parts and labor might help.

The negative post could be loose due to a factory defect, possibly overcharging, damage during the installation, or possibly vibration due to the battery not being secured by the hold down tab.
After 2 years I think that you would have a very difficult time going against the battery retailer even if the problem was caused during the battery installation.

I would push for a rep to visit the battery; not ship it off to them. Just in case.

Here’s a breakdown of the cost of repair: module $676; wiring assy $435; motor mount $88, support $15; sensor $172; wiring harness $542; battery $110; labor $2,000. I’m assuming it will come in a little higher once they start work and find something else. The labor is a killer.

A crack or split in the battery case near one of the posts is something that I have seen many times during the last ten years. Normally batteries don’t leak the way they did 20 years ago so when I see a terminal caked with corrosion I expext to find a split in the case. Usually only the cable end is damaged and needs to be replaced because the acid level is two inches from the top.

Sealed batteries prevent people from overfilling batteries so less acid is spilled in cases like this but something is odd with the OPs car. This doesn’t happen in only two weeks in a parked car. I doubt the battery was ok before the vacation.

I have seen this years ago with some new Chryslers. The battery’s leaked during shipping. What a mess. It ate up the wiring on some of them. I had the fun job of repainting hoods, roofs,fenders and under the hoods. We went thru cases of baking soda. So I can see were this can cost a lot. With this much money on the line for repairs,I would recommend you do 2 things: First call your insurance company. Second call a lawyer for advice. If it was me I would want an independent third party to look at it.

First, contact your insurance company. The damage might be covered under a non-accident damage provision. If it is, ask how you should proceed with Exide and the retailer. With luck your insurance company will take over from there.

If the damage isn’t covered by your insurance, your only ally in this mess might be Exide. My guess is they want to disassemble the battery to determine if the problem was caused by a manufacturing defect or mishandling by a shipping company or installer, a determination that can’t be made by the Rep. just looking at it. Exide knows a lot of things about this battery you will never know. They may have had similar problems with batteries from a particular factory. If Exide determines the battery was defective you should expect them to pay for the damage. If they determine it was the installer’s fault you have creditable evidence to present to the retailer. Exide might even help with a claim against them.

If it turns out that shipping the battery to Exide is your only option, I would recommend you ask for the following in writing:
Why they want the battery, what they intend to do with it and a promised to send you their conclusions in writing. Also ask for instructions (to be given to the dealer) about removing the battery from the vehicle and how to ship it.

At least you will have photo evidence of the battery, the damage, and a paper trail of the battery’s trip to Exide. Best of luck.