I bought a refurbished 13" Macbook Pro (late 2013 model retina) from the Apple store website in Sept 2014. It worked great till last month, when I had some water leak out in backpack and get through the ports in the Macbook.

I believe it has affected the logic board which connects the power port to the battery. When the system is plugged into the power adaptor, it works normal. But, as soon as the power adaptor is unplugged, the laptop shuts down as battery charge can't get going. The diagnostics are showing that the battery should be replaced.

I took the laptop to the Genius Bar and was told that there is a flat fee for liquid damage repair - $795. I bought this refurbished laptop for $1300 and paying $795 seems quite expensive. I can continue to use it with the power plugged in, but it reduces its usability considerably. Also, once in a while the power cable gets disconnected shutting down the system unexpectedly.

I called my renters insurance as well, but they did not cover the claim. I may have to just bite the bullet and get it repaired, but I was wondering if anyone has any suggestions on if there are any other options that I have to fix this?


5 Answers 5


Considering you're likely out of warranty anyway, depending on where you live, you could use a third-party repair shop. I've had mixed results with repair shops, but I have found one where I live which I would now trust to repair my MBP.

In my case, this is a place that only deals in refurbished equipment. Unlike another 3rd party Mac shop whose main business is to sell new gear, which is fine, and has a totally incompetent repair department which is less fine.

Point is, a place that is competent (once you find one, look it up on Yelp or the like) to refurbish equipment should be pretty good at replacing what should be a fairly limited subset of your Mac's guts from your description. $795 seems very high in this case.

  • This is what actually worked for me eventually. A neighbourhood store which was excellent replaced the battery and got it working again.
    – vivekian2
    Oct 16, 2015 at 22:00

I would say that you would need to go ahead and use the Genius Bar option to repair your computer.

My reasoning is that water damage can cause errors in strange ways that, upon first glance, seem to be straight forward, but are in fact impossible to properly diagnose without professional diagnostic equipment. For example, in your case, I doubt that the problem actually lies in the battery. Rather, the water damage may have caused a part somewhere along the battery-charge monitoring path to fail rather than the entire battery, but that is simply conjecture.

For that $800, a trained technician will take apart the entire Mac and inspect each piece for corrosion and/or liquid damage. Each will be repaired and replaced and then the computer re-assembled and tested and a warranty will be issued for the work. Typically 90 days or the remainder of the existing warranty if any. Local regulations might extend these as well. The only reason this doesn't cost much more than the new Mac is that the parts are not all scrapped and some have repair / reuse value to Apple and they can pass the savings on to you.

Definitely not what you wanted to hear, but I hope this helps.

Caveat: if you can pinpoint that the battery - and only the battery - is the issue without a shadow of doubt, replace it yourself; it will be much, much cheaper.

  • 1
    I am also suspecting that the battery itself is not bad, but rather the monitoring path is itself broken, because the water seeped through the power and IO ports. It was not much, but I am sure even a few drops are enough to damage.
    – vivekian2
    Feb 24, 2015 at 21:30
  • Yep, you are absolutely right; it doesn't take much to damage the components. Whether it's the battery or something in the logic board, I hope you're able to get it repaired quickly! Feb 24, 2015 at 21:35

You're lucky to have gotten off so lightly. Apple will quote high prices for water damaged items as they can't predict the severity of the damage. Replace the battery and your MacBook should be fine. I did a battery replacement a couple of years back for a friend who'd spilled whiskey over his trackpad. The whiskey had penetrated the battery causing the same issue as yours. After a minor clean up and a battery swap all was fine again.

  • How easy is to replace the battery on a 13" MBP Oct 2013 model? I looked up ifixit and it appears that its non-trivial as the trackpad sticks to it. Also, where could I buy this battery?
    – vivekian2
    Feb 24, 2015 at 21:27
  • Batteries are available, even though the official line is Retina MacBook batteries aren't user replaceable. Here's an eBay link, I've no idea how long it will be available for but Google will have the answers once the link's died... ebay.co.uk/itm/… Feb 25, 2015 at 12:24

If you have any warranty from Apple on the MB you should know that once your computer is "marked" with water damage the warranty voids. They even have a white thingy inside all the MB's that gets yellow when it touches any liquid - if they open the laptop and it's yellow - there goes your warranty.

I would say the best way is to get a new battery and install it yourself/in a non-Apple lab, and while you get you MB open - try to gently clean that small thingy to get to be white again...

If you don't have a warranty - I would still go for the non-Apple lab just for the lower price...


I recently fixed a water damaged (actually it was baby saliva) smartphone that had stopped charging when plugged in. Just like you, I was quoted a significant fraction of the original purchase price to even look at it, so figured there had to be a better way. So a squirt of contact lubricant (WD40 in my case) went in the USB port. That was a few months ago and it's still working fine.

In the case of a MacBook I'd probably invest in some purpose-made contact lubricant, rather than use WD40. It shouldn't make things any worse, and it might fix the problem.

BTW, I live in New Zealand where people can fix most things with number 8 wire.

  • Interesting. This would work if the damage is limited to the charging port itself. But if the damage extends to the logic board inside, then I am not sure how effective this would be. Perhaps still worth a try.
    – vivekian2
    Feb 25, 2015 at 0:13

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