For the past few months, my 2010 13-inch MacBook Pro has been exhibiting horrible battery life. For a model that was originally claimed to achieve up to 10 hours per charge, the four hours that has been my average over those months is truly unbearable. I’ve tried everything to fix it: calibration (which did help a bit), installing an SSD that runs cooler (for less fan use) and draws less power (no moving parts), to completely reinstalling OS X. And, while some of it helped a bit, I’m not even getting half of what I did when the machine was brand-new.

I suspected that something was wrong with the battery, but I don’t really use my laptop as much as I used to; therefore, I decided not to worry about it until the machine simply died whenever I took it off the charger – tat is, until I got this message today after waking the Mac up from sleep. According to my Mac, its battery “isn’t functioning normally,” and I have to take it “in for service.”

Since my Mac turned two years old last month, I should be worried about a computer repair. After all, Apple’s original warranty only covers the Mac for non-accidental repairs for a year . This means that, if I didn’t pay the $250 for AppleCare, I would have to pay a rather horrifying $129 to replace the thing, and that’s before taxes!

Thankfully, I did choose to buy AppleCare (which extends the original one-year warranty by an extra two years) before my warranty was up, which means that I’m covered for the replacement.

After this repair goes through, I will have used half of what I paid for AppleCare. In other words, that means that if I have one more major repair done to the machine, I will have saved myself a few dollars by purchasing AppleCare when I was still covered. And, if I have one repair done after the second, Apple will foot the bill for a brand-new MacBook Pro – something that has happened to me two times in the past.

Since electronics, unfortunately, can be unpredictable, I have recommended to everyone who owns a MacBook a purchase of AppleCare. The price varies by model, but everyone always comes to the same conclusion: the price you pay to get the extra two years of service will likely save you a chunk of money in the future, especially since more and more of Apple’s products are not user-friendly, and therefore not easily repairable.

If you own a Mac that’s still covered under its warranty, I suggest you look into purchasing AppleCare for it. Since I assume that you plan to keep your Mac as long as possible – as you should with a $1000 plus machine – the extra couple hundred dollars that AppleCare costs is really worth it in the long run, especially given how expensive Apple’s replacement parts and services can be.

[Apple Support | AppleCare]