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Cover image for Slid on ice, body-slammed my new Macbook Air. What should I check for?

Slid on ice, body-slammed my new Macbook Air. What should I check for?

jenc profile image jen chan ・6 min read

I bought a refurbed mid-2017 Macbook Air last month without Apple Care. Yesterday as I was leaving my studio I slipped on ice and fell on my back. My computer was in my backpack. As far as I'm concerned it was painful, but I didn't black out from pain. I'm glad to be young and ok. But I'm unemployed now and this is my only asset, and I plan to start jobhunting in 4-6 months. It would be great to know how to give it a run-down before I run to the Apple store and maybe get charged a ton for what isn't wear and tear damage.

I have checked that all my ports are working. And the S.M.A.R.T. disk status is verified.

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As you can see there's a dent in the bottom and part of the casing has become unhinged. I'm worried this is going to expose the machine to possible spillages or humidity and dust. I've tried pressing it back down slightly. If I go to a third party repair service I've heard Apple apparently has installed some kind of sticker to show a non-Apple service opened the casing. Any suggestions on how to proceed?

Posted on Feb 8 '19 by:

jenc profile

jen chan

@jenc

New media artist, front end focused. I want to learn all the things πŸ‘»

Discussion

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Yikes, glad to hear you're okay. I remember I dented a MacBook Air rental from my college library because I had my headphones plugged in and walked too far away from it... Thankfully the librarians didn't seem to care too much.

Anyway, yeah Apple will know if you open the case. The thing is, you already don't have AppleCare, and I'm assuming it's not under warranty anymore. If it's not under warranty, Apple won't care if it's been serviced by someone else. So, feel free to do that!

Now, as someone who's fixed some MacBooks before, I guarantee you this would be a really easy fix. You can buy a replacement part on eBay, and they usually come with the screwdriver needed. If not, you'll need a tiny Philips head screwdriver (also found on eBay or a friend who likes hardware). A quick search on USA eBay for "MacBook Air bottom case" show the part ranges from $5 USD to $25 USD. Certainly not a hefty price, and most likely much cheaper than what you would pay at a third party or Apple. Plus very little downtime! The benefits are endless!

The hardest (not hard, just hardest) part will be figuring out which one is the right one for your MacBook Air. Once you get that info and the part shipped to your door, you can follow this awesome guide to replace your bottom case: ifixit.com/Guide/MacBook+Air+13-In... One thing to note: make sure you pick the right guide for your MacBook Air. You could probably get away with picking the "incorrect" guide. The MacBook Air construction has not really changed year to year, the exception being with the latest Air.

If you are feeling really lazy like I probably would, you could probably unscrew the case and bend it back with some pliers. πŸ™ƒ BUT I definitely am a believer in fixing it yourself because it's super empowering and totally worth the experience!

Let me know if you want help figuring out the right case or screwdriver to get.

 

I just want to second this. iFixIt and a solid screwdriver will get you into anything but the most recent Macbook lines.

iFixIt claims it's a "Medium" difficulty job, but the only hard part would be fighting with getting out that screw at the dent. Pentalobe screwdriver is worth buying to keep servicing macs yourself, too, since that era macbook had its own screw type. Good luck!

 

Yeah, not sure why they said "Medium." πŸ€”

Maybe it's a lot of screws to not lose haha

That feel when you tear down your computer, put it back together, and have a dozen screws left over.

It's better. It's lighter, sleeker, faster... mainly about 3g of metal lighter.

 

THANK YOU for the comprehensive response. I must have shitposted on five platforms today to be met with silence and lolzy likes haha. I didn't buy applecare because after two macbooks that surpassed their 2 year coverage, 1 cracked screen and 1 spillage and a logic board usb port replacement... I have found that they don't cover much due to my clumsiness and more often suggest I buy a new device. I'm definitely still within the period (the first year i think) of purchasing AppleCare so I was considering my options (running to the genius bar or going to a third party for a repair). After my first macbook I bought refurbed models ever since. Re: learning myself is def a fun part but I have always been hesitant when it comes to hardware. I did enjoy logging into my router to change the wifi login last night. I know it is probably doable since a long time ago an old roommate opened up his own imac to replace a cracked screen. Lol the lazy duct-tape coverage might cover it for the time being. Will do some research on that correct bottom piece :D I especially bought this Macbook Air because it's the last of its kind with more than 1 port (2 usb and a thunderbolt and a charging cable outlet)... oh how i wish it had an ethernet one too

 

Haha yes!!! I wish my MacBook Air had an ethernet port too. Too many times have I watched 1080p videos on WiFi and had to buffer ugh.

Refurbed models are definitely the way to go. MacBooks have been fairly repairable until the newest ones with those awful flat keyboards. And if you've ever used a screwdriver you can 100% do this repair. TBH I'm 100% confident that it's literally unscrewing the case with the screwdriver and replacing it. You got this, trust. You can DM me on Connect if you have questions about the right case. πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

Andy, if you live in New York City you have to visit this dude's repair shop:

He seems to be awesome (and quite angry at Apple :D)

This is the shop's website: rossmanngroup.com/

Yes! He has great repair advice. I sometimes think that if I didn't get into a bootcamp and never learned programming, I would probably be at his shop learning how to fix stuff.

 

Hey!
Good to hear you're ok.

I used to fix computers for a living, so I can tell you a couple of things.

1) Apple has no way of knowing you opened (or not) your Macbook Air, although in this case, it wouldn't matter as they can use that physical damage to deny a warranty claim, even for another component.

2) Regarding the actual damage, if the screen didn't crack, and it still boots normally, you're ok! Macbook Airs have a solid state drive, so it's unlikely you'll damage it. The only "easy" part to damage is the display.

3) If you want to work with your computer, I recommend you buy a kit from Amazon, there are really good and cheap options! Cheapest or most complete
I have the second one.

Now, with your computer open, you can try your best to work with the aluminum to try and bend it back to its original form. It won't be easy and it'll look terrible, but at least it'll sit on a table better.
There are two options basically. Try and bend the keyboard back (hard, and you may need to remove the charging port to try), or just try and bend the bottom case, which is the easiest and doesn't require further disassembly.

If you have further questions please do ask! Happy to help.

 

Thanks for responding! Yeah after a look through iFixit it does seem that unscrewing the bottom, and giving it a bend this way and that with pliers (maybe even a hammering, though I do recognize I could alter the shape of the screw hole) would make it less dented. It's been like, 4 days and it seems by sheer gravity of using my macbook bottom-down on the table, the gap has narrowed. @andy

I'm glad to be reassured that SSD means no/less damage. I feel like I escaped death.

I just ordered: amazon.ca/dp/B06XHWL4SK/ref=pe_303...
I assume the Pentalobe ones are what I need.

Figured I will give replacing my partner's phone screen a try. After all he doesn't need it, and I want to use it.

 

No worries!

Glad it is working out for you!
The easiest way to hammer it without damaging it at all, is to try to get some wood with the correct shape (sand it down if needed) and put that at the bottom, then get a strong piece of thick plastic that's big enough and put it on top and hammer there.
That way the force is distributed evenly and you won't damage the aluminum that much, if at all.

And yes! These will work for both the phone and the MBA!

Good luck!

 

Not a fan of Apple anything, glad you're ok though. I hear ThinkPad is a good machine, cheap and durable too (owner of an x250).

 

It makes sense to use a PC, I'm just terrible at maintaining antivirus software and sadly I'm locked into the insanity of Apple UI, keychain, terminal commands... It would be a good endeavour in the future to switch to a linux but I'm just not mentally there yet :/

 

Hopefully you can fix your Mac! Sorry to hear about the damage, but glad you are OK!

You might check out Linux! Especially for development work, a lot of the distro's are really good - check out Ubuntu and Elementary. I can also super recommend ThinkPads - I have a x230 ($284 on Ebay), with 8g ram and a 256g SSD. I have Archlinux installed on that, but it would run with anything.

 

Personally I've never used antivirus. If I must go sniff out a fishy internet site I'll fire up virtual box and surf around in a vm. All command prompts definitely have their similarities but I can understand the affinity.

 
 

shit happens! :laughwithtears:

 

There's a one year warranty for refurbished Apple products. I believe you can also purchase Apple Care within the 90 days period. Compare the repair costs with and without Apple Care. All the best!