$35 for battery installation? What gives?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Mar 01, 2000

Dear Tom and Ray:

I have a 1995 Chrysler Cirrus. I went to the dealer to have a new battery
installed. The price was $69 plus $35 for installation. According to the
owner's manual, this is a very easy job. Is such an installation fee common
practice. Or, as you so often say, did the guy just have a boat payment
coming due? -- Merl

TOM: It sounds like it's on the up and up to me, Merl. And I'll tell you
why. Even though putting in a new battery is a five minute job, the
"installation" fee is more likely the labor for testing the charging system.

RAY: Right. You wouldn't want to install a new battery without checking the
charging system first. If the battery died because your alternator is
fried, your belt is loose or because there's a current drain somewhere,
you'll just kill the brand-new battery, too. So it's important to charge up
the old battery and run the tests before slapping the new one in there.

TOM: So I don't think this is a BPD (boat payment due) case, Merl. What
they probably charged you for was "testing and installation," not just

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