Charges associated with Battery Replacement

Recently I bought a new battery for my 2001 PT Cruiser and was charged for the battery ($72) plus $40 for a battery check. If I correctly understood the explanation for the $40 charge, it was that the state vehicle inspection, done immediately after the battery installation, could not be done because the computer was not working properly due to the battery change. I think I am to understand that they “drove the car around” to get the computer re-programmed and that the $40 charge was due to that. Recognizing that I may simply misunderstand all this, isn’t there a way that batteries can be changed w/o disrupting computer function? Is it reasonable to incur a charge to restore computer function after a battery is replaced?

Thanks for any suggestions…

…from Raleigh, NC

Yes! The battery can be replaced without interupting the computer memory and losing the presets on the stereo.

A small device called MEMOR-EZE has a nine volt battery attached to it, and then this is plugged into the cigarette lighter. Now the battery can be replaced without disrupting either the computer or stereo.

Here’s what this looks like.


My portable battery pack (for jump starting cars) also has a lighter attachment that can be used to maintain power while the battery is disconnected. Note that some cars will also arm the factory alarm system if you disconnect the battery. The battery recently died in my old POS jeep (winter beater) and set the alarm. Of course I haven’t seen the alarm remote in years. I finally found the “secret” switch to disarm the silly thing.

Incredible! I’ve never heard of this. If you purchased your battery at the inspection station, they merely had to inspect first and replace the battery afterwards. No computer problems. Or they can replace the battery first and ask you to drive around yourself for a half hour and return for your inspection. If the check engine light comes on they know how to turn it off.

No, what they did, as you tell it, was not reasonable. But I would need to hear their version before I can pass fair judgement.

i think you were given an obfuscation! i went to sears while back. i needed a new battery, ( i know i should have replaced it, but i just never got around to it.) and we were all dressed up to go on a night out on the town, and i had no tools. i went to sears, and asked them how long, how much and if they could put in a new battery right now. they said sure, 60 for the battery, 40 to test the electrical system, and installed for free. i said, how about just 60 for the battery, and install it? the run around i got was amazing, you need this, that, and battery terminal insulators, felt battery post pads, etc etc etc.

i went to the parts dept, bought a nifty set of wrenches, and installed it myself. i saved 20 bucks over their charges.

as steve mentioned: they could have given the car an inspection, then changed the battery, or told you to come back after an hour or two of driving.

BUT then they would have made 40 bucks less.

just curious when you took the car into the garage was it for a new battery, or for an inspection? was there a check engine light on?

if there was no check engine light on, then they are really good at padding the bill.

sorry for the rant about sears, but i HATE to get gyped out of cash just to make a sleazy shop some extra $$ i.e. dont go to sears! AND find a new inspection station!

How do you use the cigarette lighter thingy if the lighter is not “hot” with the ignition off?

We had a lengthy thread on this a few weeks ago. Cars used to have the lighter circuit hot at all times. Nowadays they are ignition switched, some sort of safety thing I guess. We discussed how to rewire your car’s lighter circuit so it is always hot. Start a new thread if you want more information.

I like to think that Sears is a reputable place to do business with. I hope that you will report any sleazy or ignorant practices by a Sears outlet to the headquarters. It should be easy to do with the Internet.

Simplify. To maintain battery voltage to the car’s circuits, use any jumper battery (in another car, “emergency” type, etc.), and jumper cables to attach to the cars battery cables while the cables are disconnected for the battery change.

Everyone is looking for the BEST DEAL. Businesses must play the game to make a profit. High overhead, high profile retailers must coax in customers with great bargains with little or no profit and then tack on high profit incidentals as critically needed. The quick oil changers must sell a lot of overpriced air filters and tire rotations to turn a profit because they would go broke changing oil at the advertised bargain price. It’s just how the market place operates today. From the time a vehicle enters the work area until it exits requires about $1.50 per minute plus parts market up about 50% to be profitable. Most just won’t accept that STRAIGHT UP and OUT FRONT, so big corporations have found FAST FOOD marketing solutions. CAN WE SUPER SIZE THAT FOR YOU?

I think it’s bogus and here’s why- it takes more than a little driving around to get those computer “monitors” to become ready. It’s a combination of driving conditions and ignition cycles. Simply driving around for a half hour is not going to set all of the monitors. Until they ALL become ready, you won’t pass the emissions testing.

Second, they should already know that swapping out a battery will reset the monitors and they can easily avoid having that happen. This is especially true of a place that does OBDII inspections on a regular basis. I think they tacked that charge on and probably do on a regular basis to pad their profit margin. I’d be ticked off too if I saw that charge and I’d be fighting to have it removed or reduced.