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Yesterday I went to the 7-Eleven to pick up a few things. When I went to leave I put in the key, turned, <click>.. and nothin'. Engine wouldn't even turn. Battery was almost stone dead.

This was yet again another instance why I love having an AAA membership. It is totally worth it to have and I've used it several times since living in Florida. In fact I think I use it at least once a year - including the last time the battery went dead.

Speaking of the last time the battery went ka-put, here's what happened. My battery was dead and I agreed to buy a new one on the spot from the AAA guy. Problem is he didn't have one that fit my truck, so I had to go to a local shop to get it done. You'll understand why I told you that in a minute.

Anyway, it was really fortunate my battery went dead where I was, because it was during the day in a nice wide open space (the fuel island) where the AAA dude could park and do his thing unobstructed.

When the guy started working on my truck, whoever put the last battery in was a complete idiot. There was corrosion all over the negative terminal and the positive terminal wasn't in much better shape. The guy did an awesome job and used tools I'd never seen before to remove every bit of corrosion on both the terminals and the battery itself - however it was pretty obvious the battery wasn't going to last much longer.

The guy says he has a battery with him and can put one in, but it will cost $126. I ask if that's the total price, he says it was. That was a no-brainer and I said yes, do it. Why? Because it's on record with AAA, including all the warranty paperwork. That new battery is warranted for three full years, and if any other AAA guy has to service my truck for that battery within those three years, guess what? New battery on the spot under warranty without having to go to a shop.

My old battery, had it been installed by an AAA guy originally, would have been replaced for free but wasn't because I had it installed by that dopey shop - but only because the AAA dude didn't have one in his service truck. This time around however it was installed by AAA and has the full warranty along with it.

Just for grins I looked up what I would have paid elsewhere for a similar battery.

Advance Auto Parts: $124.99 - before tax.
Autozone: $131.99 - also before tax.

AAA was in fact the cheapest and best option. Sure, I probably could have bought a battery out of Wal-Mart for around $110 or slightly less, but it wouldn't have fit correctly in the battery bay and the hassle wouldn't have been worth it. The one from AAA is installed right and a perfect fit. The guy even sprayed silicone sealant on the terminals (which the other guy should have done for the previous battery) to prevent corrosion and ran a free diagnostic to see how well or not well the draw was at idle, with fans on/off, etc. - which fortunately all reported an A-OK.

There was a moment of hesitation when I thought about whether to buy the battery on-site or not, but only for a moment because the 3-year full on-site coverage was the seller for me. Any time I can get something fixed on-site without the requirement of going to a garage, much less needing a tow to get there, is just plain good. That and AAA doesn't use crap parts, or at least they never have on my vehicle.

In the end, I consider it $126 well spent.

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