Motorcycle Forums banner

First service assistance

7040 Views 21 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  obandoj
If you can't do oil and valve clearance then you shouldn't own the darned thing. So easy.
1 - 20 of 22 Posts
Wouldn't that disqualify about 95% of the current crop?
You should tell that to all the V-Rod owners
My dealer charged me for the oil on my first service. I think it cost me $24.00. Why would I want to do it myself and chance the warranty?
I just spent $80 servicing my Magna, oil, filter, plugs, and I did it myself!! $36 plugs, $32 oil, $12 filter. I'd hate to imagine what the dealer would charge me. But that was it's 32,000 mile service anyway. Valves haven't needed any adjustment, but then I haven't checked because they haven't made any noise and it runs like the day I got it(only had 10k on it then).

Hmmm I was wondering, I know a guy that is selling a '99 Concours, Magna is '94, and he is asking about 5K for it. Does anyone here know what a '99 Concours, showroom condition, 18k miles, J&M audio pack, would go for?
So you have to do your own service in order to own a bike now? Damn, I missed that memo.
Thanks MOfo, I had already looked at KBB, but I know that NADA is quite a bit lower. I should have been more specific I spose. I'm looking more for market value, not book value.
I honestly have no idea where you guys came up with "Doing it yourself isn't hard, but likely will void your warranty..." It is purely fictional that doing the work yourself will void your warranty. Granted if you break a piece in the process or do something completely backwards causing something to break, that problem will most likely not be covered. However, if you actually read your warranty statement you won't see anywhere that you are required to have YamSuzKawHonH-D perform routine maintenance on your bike in order to keep your manufacturer's warranty. The reason for that is because it would be illegal for that requirement to be made. You guys might want to consider talking to someone who actually knows what they are talking about before spreading rumors. I think Motorcycle Consumer News is the best publication for factual information, that's where I got this information from.
See less See more
Do what you feel comfortable with yourself and specify what you want them to do

For example a full first service on my Triumph was $380. plus oil and filter, but all I wanted them to do was check the valves, I do everything else myself. It becomes a straight hourly rate job, 2 hours @ $80 p/h=$160.

With my failing short-range vision and clumsy hands it would take me all day, so it's not worth it to do that job myself. Everything else is cake so I do it myself and get to know my bike in the process.

Don't get talked into biting off more than you can chew.
Shoot, Vern, it used to leak oil...

Regardless of what you think you know or have read, the OEMs certainly can stipulate a very rigid series of maintenance operations and even usage -- for example, break-in and no racing are two that you're commonly aware of -- that voids the warranty. As it should be: abuse or misuse something and you shouldn't be able to bring it back. On top of that, warranties are also governed by State laws -- for instance, California has a lengthy "Lemon Law" process that requires dealer service/investigation. It doesn't work very well. We've had lengthy email discussions with many readers' experiences with warranty problems (in many instances, we've tried to mediate with the person and the OEM behind-the-scenes) -- one even culminating in the person driving to the OEM's headquarters and leaving the bike in front of the main doors, tossing the keys inside... literally "their" problem from then on!

While doing all your own maintenance, if you make one single error, poof! Warranty voided. And yes, if you can't prove regular scheduled maintenance, you lose your warranty. Do your own maintenance, drop a valve, it's a subjective call from the OEM's dealer and then possibly attourney whether your warranty is honored or not: If they believe you're a dimwit and screwed it up working on it yourself and you can't prove you have the (certification helps here) skills to do such work, you're out of luck. And if you are a newbie and messed up, rightfully so. It's not on their nickel you should be learning to wrench.

A simple example: Check your plugs and forget that anti-seize each and every time and strip a plug hole? No warranty, you shoulda read the fine print. Check your plugs a lot and use anti-seize and your head had a cooling problem that made the aluminum overheat and become brittle and you strip a plug because of that? (And here's the ringer...) The burden of proof is on you to prove you're qualified, did everything right, and there was an assembly problem or flaw from the factory that caused the breakage. Have the work done by the dealer, and it's their problem.

Thus, we maintain that, for a new bike that is under warranty, unless you're a truly good mechanic who is well organized, it's a good idea to take it to a qualified dealer and spend the service money and be carefull to keep all the service records -- dealers won't do it for you. Just in case.

Used bikes, well, they tend to run their very best right up until they blow up. Valves sure do work well with almost no clearance, but when it gets to zero and rides the cam journal all the way around, you're toast. Not checking valves is a really bad idea (someone above mentioned not needed to check valves on a Magna)!
See less See more
Buy the service manual and "special tools", do it yourself, save a bunch of money, know it's done right. Read "Zen and the art of Motorcycle maintenance". If you aren't confident in your mechanical abilities find a competent shop/mechanic (not always easy) and build a relationship with them. You can still ride but say hello to our little secret, to maintain a motorcycle in perfect condition ain't cheap or easy (fast). Welcome to the world of high performance (maintenance) vehicles. Time to put all those fuel savings dollars into normal and preventative maintenance. Despair not Grasshopper, it may not need to be as hard as it seems. For example some engines (shim over bucket) have special tools that enable you to depress the bucket allowing you to exchange shims without needing to remove the buckets and thus remove/reinstall/redegree the cams. Different engines have different ways of adjusting valve clearances, some quite easy and straightforward, others, I've heard, quite the opposite. Fortunately most Motorcycles are not equipped with hydraulically adjusted valvetrains as most cars are. You see, adjusting your valves is a kind of Holy Grail amoung Old Motorcycling Elitists (could you hear the sneer in some of "Their" replys?) a rite of passage. As noted, normal wear and tear will cause the valves to reclede into the head, eventually, possibly, causing a valve to "lift", not close completely. The consequences of this being multiple: This can cause the "burning" (ruining) of both the valve and valve seat, Very expensive and do you feel up to "pulling the Head"? More importantly the resultant change in valve timing and loss of compression Will cause a LOSS OF POWER. Anyway, do what you think you can handle yourself, that fine Kawasaki's Owners Manual should spell out those things that will be covered in your initial service. Make a list for the Shop/Mechanic to do/check of the things you're not ready to tackle yet. I'd be surprised if it called for a valve clearance check at initial service. It is my understanding that maintainance is "self certified" under Kawasaki's warranty program but I could be wrong (For the First time!). If in doubt have the dealer do it to protect your warranty. It's a good thing Kawasaki makes a fine product, you don't want to deal with their "Customer Service". Unfortunately you have chosen a motorcycle that unlike a certain unnamed brand may require more in the area of special tools than a Big hammer and a Big screwdriver (lol). Your initial "special tools" purchase should be limited to a feeler gauge, though I'm not familiar with that engine. I find that all special tools I purchase pay for themselves the first use, you can never have too many tools IMHO. Good luck, have fun, enjoy the ride.
See less See more
I can't remember the exact details Motorcycle Consumer News had on the warranty situation, but I can remember that a manufacturer cannot require you to have work done at it's own dealership. If you have work done at a certified independent mechanic shop, Kawasaki cannot void the warranty for just that reason. I have had initial service done for all 3 new bikes I bought at the dealership because I know the mechanic, and it's more than just changing oil and checking the valves--he checks for loose nuts, suspension issues, loose/rubbing wires, etc. He knows what is supposed to be where more than I do on a bike I've only had for 600 miles. After initial service, I take care of the small stuff and have him deal with anything I'm not comfortable tackling.
Re: Shoot, Vern, it used to leak oil...

Like you said, California's Lemon Law requires dealer service, not the manufacturer's warranty. I'm sure the experiences you have had indicate that the manufacturer can do whatever they want when it comes to honoring warranties. But look at it from their point of view. They know that it would cost more for a consumer to hire a lawyer to get what is his/hers under warranty than it would to pay for nearly any repair. So why should the big company do anything for individual consumers if they have any excuse not to. They have a tiny chance of being taken to court. However, none of this changes the fact that you are not required to have maintenance performed at the dealership in order to kep your warranty. Obviously, if you are 'all thumbs' you should go to a professional every time.

One situation that I think could be solved with the law is the 00-01 Bandit 1200 oil burning problem. This couldn't be done with individuals as it appears that some have been helped by Suzuki/dealerships, while others seem to be getting stonewalled as you mentioned. I think a class action lawsuit would be a good solution to this situation. That way individual owners don't have to shell out tons of money on a lawyer, while Suzuki will be made to admit the truth that there is a manufacturing defect. I don't care what silly standard was set up 50 years ago, if a bike burns a quart of oil in 700 miles these days, it is broken.
See less See more
Go buy the OEM service manual, which you will need in any case.

Read through the procedures for the maintenance actions required for whichever service interval. If you think you can do it, go for it! If it looks daunting/too much trouble/takes too many special tools/easy to f*ck up, take it to the dealer or to a certified wrench and let them do it. As stated above, you can have your scheduled service done ala carte. You change oil and filter and adjust stuff, let the pro do the tough stuff. Keep the receipt/service ticket for your records.
Re: Shoot, Vern, it used to leak oil...

No way, jap bikes never have any problems it must be a Harley you are talking about
Re: Shoot, Vern, it used to leak oil...

It's debatable whether class-action suits help anything but lawyers ;-)

A better solution would've been to fix the problem in advance, but yes, like you said, what we've seen is that some dealers rock, some really blow, and, in our opinion, warranty claims are always a battle and there's too many bum dealers out there. If you have a good dealer, they can really smooth it over for you: A dealer's recommentation to warranty something is rarely overturned.
I knew that would get all the manicured racer boy wannabees' panties in a bunch. I just don't have alot of respect for people that run their cars to Jiffylube and get talked into oil flush and air cleaners every 5k miles. If you are going to ride a bike you should learn a little about it mechanically. Longride, I'm not aiming this at you as you seem like you probably have grease lubing your finger joints.
1 - 20 of 22 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.