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MacMedics Frequently Asked Macintosh Service Questions: Is It Worth Repairing A Macbook Pro With $1200.00 In Liquid Damage?

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Update 7/20/12: We’ve changed our pricing on MacBook and MacBook Pro liquid evaluations, cleanings, and repairs. This new pricing structure is a better value and is easier to understand.

We now charge $199 (same as our data recovery fee) on all incoming liquid spill cases.

If we can bring your computer back from the dead without using any parts (which we do often), the only fee is the initial $199.

If your unit CANNOT be repaired, we will refund $100, and keep $99 for our diagnostic fee.

If your unit does need a part to complete the repair, you only pay the flat $199 plus whatever part or parts your MacBook Pro needs.

Also, we also accept liquid damaged MacBooks and MacBook Pro as trade-ins on new or used Macs. MacMedics is an Apple Authorized Value Added Reseller.

Update 6/25/10 If you have just arrived from Dwight Silverman’s Houston Chronicle’s TechBlog regarding this topic, please see my response to that post. This is a delicate subject, and my comments were deemed too long (and maybe too self serving) to be posted. Seriously, please call us to at least chat about your issue, and $99 is a small price to pay to have ALL of the facts regarding your liquid spill case. If you don’t click this link or fully read this Blog post, don’t fall into the trap of thinking you’re out of the woods if your MacBook or MacBook Pro (or any other laptop) is working after you wiped it off, and dried it out. We see lots of cases where the computer will FRY it’s self after what’s left of the liquid inside starts to corrode and grows what we call creeping crud.

MacMedics Frequently Asked Macintosh Service Questions: Is It Worth Repairing A Macbook Pro With $1200.00 In Liquid Damage? This dollar amount is a pretty common price quote from the Apple Store. Before you accept a quote for an “advanced” Macintosh repair of any kind (from anybody), be sure to get a second opinion from the experts at MacMedics. We’ve been fixing Macs since before the Apple Store and since 1989 in the Baltimore-Annapolis-Columbia and Washington DC/NOVA areas.

It is best to see the unit, but there’s no harm in calling us to go over the options and details. Give us a shout anytime at 1-866-MAC-MEDICS!

First off, this is a far too common of an issue. We just successfully repaired a MacBook that had a “Blueberry Smoothie” spilled into it. Folks, please keep liquids at least an arm’s length away from your Apple laptop.

Being in a situation where liquid is in play brings up lots of questions. I’ll try to touch base on a few of the major ones here. If you find yourself in this situation, just call us at 1-866-MAC-MEDICS or send us an e-mail. We’re happy to talk shop about your Apple repair or service problems at anytime.

The first order of business is get the the MacBook or MacBook Pro right into us. Even if it appears that the unit is working after the spill, don’t assume you’ve dodged a bullet. Once there’s moisture inside the unit, it can grow into what we call the “creeping crud” which is really just corrosion that grows kind of like mold inside your computer. If this grows to a point where it’s touching two points that carry current, then zap! and you get a short and could end with with a fried logic board. Don’t forget that the metals used in the construction of your logic board are not normal metals that react in the manner that you would expect. They also react differently depending on what type of liquid gets spilled into your MacBook.

What to do if you have a spill: Turn off the computer, upplug the power adapter, and if possible remove the battery. It’s pretty much pot luck on what to do next. If liquid went in the keyboard, then turn the unit upside down with the screen open. Use a stack of books to place the unit on it’s keyboard, with the screen open. Depending on the situation hitting it with a hair dryer might help too.

How to get started: For $199 we’ll open the unit up take a look around inside. If we see surface damage we can clean, we’ll attack it. If we have to go deeper with the unit we’ll let you know and as in the case of the “Blueberry Smoothie” unit we just wrapped up, it ended up being just $199 in labor to fix the unit. If the unit is beyond repair, we’ll refund you $100 and the $99 still buys you some rudimentary liquid removal, and we’ll give you all the facts on what’s going on as well as a written report you can submit to your insurance company.

This is far better then just signing the death certificate yourself, and even if the news is bad, $99 is a small price to really know what’s really going on. Moving forward you can know that if you need to buy a new unit, your old unit at least had the best chance possible, plus we take liquid damaged units as trade-in on new or used Macs.

Is it worth fixing? If very well might be. In cases of liquid spills (coffee is the most common) the Apple Store is likely to quote you $1200.00 for your repair. Even if you have minor damage (that might seem major) it’s usually the same price. Here at MacMedics, we’ll just fix what’s damaged, and accurately diagnose the problem you have. A common issue after a liquid spill is a bad keyboard, that might be $200 to fix. Another issue we see frequently is a unit that can’t charge the battery or can’t run off the battery. Again, a repair like this at MacMedics is generally going to be $200 to $300.

Don’t try to fool Apple. There are liquid spill indicators inside of your MacBook or MacBook Pro (also iPods, iPads, and iPhones), so if your unit suffered a spill, Apple is going to find out very quickly. They also might charge you to look at it and then do nothing but return it to you.

Even if you do need a new logic board, it’s quite likely that our price will be lower then the Apple Store, and unlike Apple, MacMedics puts a full 1-year warranty on our repairs. (Apple is only 90 days). The other factor is turn around time. At Apple, almost all liquid spills get shipped out for depot service. This can work against you as the unit is out of your control, and you could end up with a repair that is far more than what was quoted. As an Apple Authorized Service Provider, Apple frequently sends clients to us for major repairs because they know our prices are likely going to be better than theirs. Liquid Spills, major case damage, and MacBook and MacBook Pro LCD and glass repair referrals from the Apple store are a daily occurrence at both of our MacMedics repair centers.

There’s not much good news when you spill something into you MacBook Pro. If the unit is a total loss, and you do end up buying new, MacMedics will take the old unit as a trade in (in most cases). As an Apple Authorized Value Added Reseller, we carry the full line of Macintosh MacBooks. We can also help with removing the hard drive from a damaged unit, and if needed cleaning it. If the hard drive is a loss too, and we can’t do anything with it, we can put you in touch with one of our clean room data recovery partners.

One thing that many people forget to check is your home owners or renters insurance. If you laptop suffers major damage, in many cases your insurance will cover it. The deducible is usually pretty high ($250 to $500), but that’s better than getting nothing. Also, American Express offers 90 of accidental damage or loss/theft protection when you buy with your AMEX card. Also, many other “high-end” credit cards also offer various protection levels from 90 days to 1-year. (I have a Capital One VISA and it offers 90 days of damage protection.)

There’s also a company called SafeWare that will insure your Apple laptop or iPhone against damage. It’s also possible to buy an extra insurance rider that can help protect your laptop if it get lost, stolen, or damaged.