Help me help my mother; Advice on fixing a 2013 MBA with liquid damage

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by triple-tap, Feb 27, 2016.

  1. triple-tap macrumors 6502

    Feb 18, 2013
    Hello all,

    Around the holidays, my toddler niece spilled a cup of coffee on my mother's 2013 13" MBA. The MBA initially did not power on after the spill. (Please relax... I wasn't present to prevent these attempts anyway).

    A week ago, my mother turned the machine on and discovered that it will now power on when connected to the charger. The battery will not charge, however. If the charging cable is unplugged, the machine shuts down instantly.

    Also, the keys are somewhat sticky and hard to use.

    The computer was a gift from myself to my mother, and she didn't tell me about the incident until recently.

    I now have the computer in my possession. The computer does have a few months of Applecare left, but I think that is pretty much useless at this point.

    I have a pentalobe screwdriver, spudgers, and other tools needed to tear down the MBA. I am just not sure where to start or on what problem(s) to focus?

    I know that ifixit has a guide to disassembly the MBA. However, does anyone here have advise they could offer before I begin?

    I am trying to get the machine back to my mother as quickly as possible. I also do not have $755 for apple to replace the logic board.

    Thanks in advance to anyone who can offer helpful advice.
  2. pedrom Suspended

    Jan 30, 2016
    Why would they replace the logic board if the computer actually works? As far as you say, there's nothing wrong with it.

    The problem is that the battery is dead. You need to buy a new one and change it. You can't "cheap" on the battery: You must use an Apple-branded battery. That's 120$ for your MBAir.

    About the keys, you need to take them out (no need to open the computer, just put "how to clean macbook air keyboard" on Google/Youtube.

    If I was on your shoes, I wouldn't do it myself, only because you get warranty on the battery when it is changed by "official" sources, and they will clean your keyboard without breaking any key/scissor mechanism. Also, the difference between a certified 3rd party technician doing it, and you doing it, is like 30 to 40 $.

    Those 30 to 40$ will get you better sleep and a 1 year warranty on the battery.
  3. triple-tap thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 18, 2013
    Thank you for the reply.

    My concern about not tearing down the computer is the fact that this was tea (with sugar, presumably). I'm concerned that the liquid contact will corrode various parts of the computer as it is used. I do not believe that the Apple store will adequately clean the entire computer (inside and out) to avoid future issues. Am I wrong in having this concern?
  4. Shirasaki macrumors 604


    May 16, 2015
    Apple repair is more like replacement, whether for components like motherboard, or the entire produce like damaged iPhone. Problem in here, I think, is we customer have no idea why they say "we have found defect on your (components)", and why they charge that high.

    You say you still have months of Applecare left. But I am afraid, as being spilled by liquid is more like an outside accident, not product internal defect, default Applecare does not cover such incident. So, your concern is reasonable.

    I don't know much about how apple repair Macbook. Maybe you could try to just ask them for battery replacement.

    No matter what, I hope you don't need to pay that super high motherboard replacement fee. :)
  5. triple-tap thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 18, 2013

    Thank you for the well wishes, but I'd never pay that amount for a repair through Apple. I'd buy a refurb machine for $89 and part out the damages MBA.

    Applecare is not going to cover this, as all the liquid sensors are tripped. Furthermore, I definitely wouldn't use unethical tactics to get a free replacement.

    I am going to begin the teardown tonight and see what I can accomplish.
  6. Scepticalscribe Contributor


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    Why do the tear-down yourself (and possibly run the risk of screwing it up completely as you don't really know what you are doing) rather than paying a qualified and competent professional to do it for you?

    Then, you would have peace of mind, and - possibly - a repaired and fully functional computer.

    Meanwhile, I'd take the precaution of looking into refurb computers as a replacement.
  7. Shirasaki macrumors 604


    May 16, 2015
    Then proceed with care. Try your best to not disable your machine, because I had disabled mine 3 years ago, and spent around $50 to repair potentially damaged motherboard. The main reason I wanted to tear down myself is to do an internal clean of fan and some other parts. :(
  8. jbachandouris macrumors 601


    Aug 18, 2009
    Upstate NY
    If it were my one Mac, I'd fix it myself...probably. Since it is your mother's Mac, I would definitely give her either a refurbished one and part out the defective one.

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