NYC car battery replacement?
October 24, 2007 10:59 AM   Subscribe

I have a 1995 Ford Thunderbird in NYC/upper Manhattan. I suspect my battery is dead. Where can I get it replaced?

Here's the full story: I have a 95 t-bird with an aftermarket alarm system. After moving it for street cleaning the other day, my friend tried to turn the car on and roll down the window. You have to press a green button on the keyfob to disengage the alarm system, and nothing was happening when I pressed the button. However, when we tried to just close the door, the alarm system would start up, but choppily, like it was on a battery that was dead. So we pop the hood and the terminals on the battery are all gunked up with what I assume is acid? I had to run to class, so to solve the problem I just disconnected the portion of the alarm system that makes noise (which is literally a small loudspeaker attached to some part of my engine), closed the door, whatever.

Today I went and cleaned off the negative terminal with some steel wool (although I couldn't get the damn thing off the actual battery). And now when I press the green alarm button, the lock/unlock on the door actually pops up and down, so I think that part is working, but the car still won't start or even turn over and the window won't roll up (it's like halfway). The battery was installed in March 2002 so I guess it's due for a new battery. Problem is, I can't move the car, and I don't really have the tools to get the terminal off so I can't replace the battery myself. Is there some service that will just come over to where I am (116th/Amsterdam) and install a new battery? Or can someone recommend a place nearby that can tow my car and pop a new battery in? Preferably inexpensively, but I'm more concerned about making sure my car works.

Second question: any idea how much it would cost to remove/disable the alarm system? It's really a pain in the ass with how temperamental is, and I'd rather just use the Club or something.

Thanks in advance.
posted by ofthestrait to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (5 answers total)
If you're a AAA member, they'll come out and replace your battery for you, and the battery is sold at a discount.
posted by The World Famous at 11:20 AM on October 24, 2007

many alarms have a valet switch under the dashboard or in some hiding place that will disable the alarm system. In my old car, I had to put the key into the ignition with the electronics but not the engine on, flip the switch, and that would disable the alarm.
posted by raconteur at 11:33 AM on October 24, 2007

No idea what this would be like in NYC, but for the rest of us it's a piece of cake - can you buy a battery and install it yourself? Google maps says there are a few AutoZones nearby. A battery should be about $50 and should take you like ten minutes to replace. No idea if you would want to drag the core back, though...
posted by cdmwebs at 12:52 PM on October 24, 2007

A 10 dollar wrench and ratchet set and a bottle of diet Coke to cut through the gunk should get the terminals off with no trouble. You can also try topping of the fluid level of the battery: if there are some small panels on the top that look they pop off, I would buy some distilled water and fill each the openings underneath the panel up a bit. I would bet that thenyou could jump the battery and at least drive it to a nearby Autozone, who will probably help you install a new one if you ask nicely.

Getting it towed for a battery replacement is going to cost you way more than it should, because they'll peg you as not knowing much about cars and willing to pay whatever to get it over with.
posted by Benjy at 2:32 PM on October 24, 2007

Clean the corrosion off the terminals, it's preventing the battery terminals from making good contact and transmitting the power to your electrical systems. Your battery might be perfectly fine.
posted by knave at 2:33 PM on October 24, 2007

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