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Dealership replaced battery when an oil change was needed

My son has a 2016 Nissan Altima he went to the dealership to have his oil changed,they tested his battery and told him he had a bad/faulty cell. They replaced his battery for $175.00. This is February 2018 and I don’t believe the battery needed a replacement. I feel they lied. The car has about 45,000 miles. I’m hoping he could get a refund and his battery back.

I really hate to point this out, but. Do you think there will be any refund or anything base on

Especially when you were not even present to witness the alleged wrong doing. Battery cells go bad that is a known fact. But in my opinion there should have been some sort of warranty or pro-rated replacement. Best of luck on your endeavor.

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2016 Nissan could very well have been built in 2015, making this a 3 year old battery.

It is probable that a battery could fail in 3 years, depending on use and climate. Did your son authorize the battery replacement? Did he ask about it being under warranty? It may be possible to get some money back based on age of battery and warranty status, but I wouldn’t expect much.

Tell your son to call the service advisor and talk to them about it.

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I had something similar happen. They told me I wasn’t getting nearly enough power for the then upcoming winter. I went to Sears and got a Die Hard. It was nowhere near $175. It’ll be pretty hard to get a refund, but for a car less than 3 years old with normal mileage, that seems a tad early.

Does he have the results of the load test? How many CCAs did the battery currently have?

If your son authorized the replacement battery there is not much you can do. Perhaps go back and see if there was some pro rated warranty on the battery.

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Forget about it on a number of levels. They would have done an inspection sheet with the green. yellow, red boxes and the results of each item in the inspection. So you can clearly take a look at the inspection sheet to see what they said about the battery. However, they suggested the battery be replaced and you son said yes. Why do you think they lied? And why do you want to under-cut the decision your son made for a lousy $175 on a three year old battery?


Use this as a teaching moment for your son. I have no idea whether the battery was bad, but here are some questions you can use as part of your teaching moment.

Why did they test the battery in the first place?
Did you ask them to show you any test results about why they thought it needed replacement?
Why did you think it needed to be replaced RIGHT NOW?
Why didn’t you ask someone (like your father!) whether $175 was too much to pay? (By the way, that price would be high around here, but not an absolute rip-off)

My guess is that he authorized the replacement but didn’t think it through very well, as young men are prone to do.

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When I take my Volvo to the dealer for an oil change I get a work sheet that shows tire thread depth, battery check , air filter plus a sheet explaining what and why certain other items are recommended. The same thing for my Nissan Frontier . The last time they said the Frontier battery tested a little low but said it was Ok for now.

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That is part of the multi-point inspection that is included at no extra charge at dealerships nowadays when you bring a car in for service. When was the last time that you bought a new car and had it serviced at a dealership?

That is the same procedure that my Subaru dealership follows, and my friends who have Toyotas and Nissans get the same type of inspection work sheet when their cars are serviced at the dealership.

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10-4 on the battery check. I’ve had vehicles serviced at dealers a few times, but haven’t paid much attention to the report they give except for the items they say need attention. Every time I’ve replaced a battery, it’s because it failed, not because I had it tested before it failed :grin:.

Maybe the mechanic gets himself a good 2 year old battery for his car every year for free.

So… you would prefer to get stranded somewhere by a failed battery, rather than paying a fairly nominal sum to replace a weak battery?


Umm, I never said that. I just haven’t gotten a bad test result where I could replace it before it failed.

There is a wide area of varying levels of concern for preventative maintenance and while some are quite proud of all that they save staying ahead of every potential problem there are several who are just as proud of all they save under the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” plan. Part of my success in the auto repair business was my intuition regarding customers on that continuum. But when in doubt, as in the OP’s situation where someone other than the owner brought the car in, I would save the possibly questionable part that was replaced for inspection by the owner and note that on the invoice.

And I feel sure that somewhere in the archives here I have mentioned that a large fleet expected me to treat vehicles differently based on use. If young girls drove vehicles with handicapped passengers on hours long drives preventative maintenance costs were never questioned while trucks used my the various 40 + year old plant maintenance men were allowed to go without a tune up until some particular issue was noted on a trip sheet. Likewise the young ladies batteries were replaced at 24 months as I recall and the old ones installed on one of the service vehicles as needed or even put in the security vehicle for jumping cars in the parking lots.

I would continue to drive on a questionable battery for quite some time while replacing my daughters at the first hint of a problem. But then wouldn’t everyone?


Just for kicks and giggles . . .

I just looked up batteries for a 2016 Altima, on the O’Reillys website.

Even the cheapest store-brand battery costs $123.99 without tax

So that $175 for a dealer battery doesn’t sound like a rip-off.

And we don’t even know if that $175 includes tax and/or installation

And remember that a dealer will always charge more for their parts and labor

Yup agree. When you have your car serviced at a dealer, every time they are going to run it through the inspection process including wiper blades and batteries. Here’s how it works, you’re having a cup of coffee watching the TV or computer and the girl comes over with the inspection report. Those wiper blades are getting a little worn, would you like us to replace them? It’ll only take a few minutes. You say yes or no and that’s all there is to it. I’ve even asked them to check the battery for one reason or another and they said it was OK. At any rate they do this for two reasons: Some of us or our wives would never ever check this stuff otherwise, and of course the other reason is a possible sale.

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If your son wanted the battery back he’d have to said so at the time. Very unlikely to still be there, or even if it is they wont be able to find it. I expect the battery replacement was probably needed or they wouldn’t have recommended it. A dead cell is something very easy to test for, and if all the other cells were ok the car might still start and run ok, but that’s won’t continue to be the case for long with a dead cell. It sounds like the shop discovered a dead cell and replaced the battery is all that happened.

It’s a good opportunity to chat w/your son about what’s the best strategy when dealing with auto repair shops. B/c he’ll run into that problem many times in the future. And the problem is the same when dealing with any vendor, so getting it right for auto repair shops going forward is where to focus I think.

  • Make sure the shop provides a written estimate of what they intend to do, and and estimate how much it will cost.

  • Make sure the shop understands that no other work is authorized unless they contact your son first.

  • If your son is contacted by the shop about needing add’l work and doesn’t know what to do, your son should then phone you for a consultation. Don’t authorize any add’l work before talking w/you in other words.

In the meantime suggest your son be on the lookout for an inde auto repair shop for when out of warranty service is needed. He should be asking his friends, co-workers etc who they use to repair their cars. Stop by some of those shops and take a look, ask some questions, tell them what he’s doing there. If the shop owner is around he might be willing to sit down and talk w/your son about what they recommend, and that could be the start of a good shop/owner future relationship. You want the shop owner to look forward to you driving into their shop b/c they know you and know your car.

Stating that they found a faulty cell is pretty specific and could only be known from measurement. Assuming it was true, and batteries can fail early, they may have done you a favor because when an alternator tries to charge a battery with a bad cell it may either overload the alternator and overcharge the remaining cells (if the bad cell was shorted) or if the cell had developed high internal resistance the battery would fail to snub high voltage spikes from the alternator output placing computer modules and semiconductor device in the electrical system in jeopardy - compared to that $175 is a bargain.

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To have a battery require replacement in three years on a regular basis would have me looking closely at the charging system and parasitic loads, possibly from aftermarket add ons draining down the battery along with long intervals of sitting idle, not being driven daily.
It certainly could have been an defective battery, but since all the trails for confirmation is likely lost, and he approved the replacement in a blind fashion, maybe just consider a learning lesson for him to be a more suspicious and cynical customer.
Proactive maintenance is more of a requirement for those who have no resources for handling issues; if they have trouble finding the hood release, then they need to adopt the “replace it before it’s broke”.
Weak batteries will generally show some symptoms before outright failure; a $25 load tester may be worthwhile for screening, but again, it has to be someone that knows how to open a hood.