Without advanced mechanical skills, it's impossible to avoid paying to have your motorcycle repaired when it breaks down. Even if you know little about working on motorcycles, though, there are ways to keep your motorcycle repair costs as low as possible. If you have a broken-down bike, here are some tips to help you save on your repair expenses.
Check for Warranty Coverage
If your motorcycle is under a standard or extended warranty, the repair that your bike needs may be covered by the warranty. Check your warranty's paperwork to see whether it's still in effect and, assuming it is, if the repair you need is covered.
If the repair is covered by a warranty, you might have to take your bike to a specific place to have it fixed. Whether this is the cheapest repair place in town doesn't matter, though, since the repair is covered by your warranty.
Look for an Independent Motorcycle Repair Shop
If your motorcycle isn't under warranty, you might be able to get a better price by taking your bike to an independent repair shop.
While there may be a few exceptions, independent repair shops tend to charge less than dealerships. According to Car Talk, dealerships are, on average, 15 percent more expensive than independent shops. Although Car Talk's survey involved repairs on two different cars, the same generally holds true for motorcycle repair shops: independent shops are often less expensive.
Purchase Parts Yourself
Motorcycle repair bills are typically broken down into two types of expenses: parts costs and labor costs. The costs associated with parts cover the physical parts that are required for your bike's repair. The labor costs cover the time it takes a mechanic to actually fix your bike.
You might be able to reduce your parts costs by buying parts yourself. Most motorcycle parts (unless they're custom-built parts) can be found online, through a local auto parts supplier or at a junk yard. Mechanics, MechanicAdvisor says, typically mark parts up by 25 to 50 percent, so the prices you find at these three other places will often be less than a repair shop will charge.
If you purchase parts yourself, a repair shop might increase their labor rate. They do this to compensate for the lost revenue from marking up the parts. Even if a repair shop charges higher rates when you supply your own parts, you may still save money. If labor costs are only a small fraction of your total repair costs, a small increase in the labor rate may be much less than how much you save by sourcing parts yourself.
Have Work Performed During Winter
A repair shop may be willing to offer you a discount if you bring in a motorcycle to be fixed during the winter. Motorcycle shops like Monarch Honda sometimes slow down in winter, when most people have their bikes in storage and, therefore, don't experience breakdowns that require repair.
Not all repair shops will offer an off-season discount, and those that are willing to probably won't advertise it. Ask around, though, and you might find one that's eager for business during a slow time of year.
If you're an avid biker and can't stand to not use your motorcycle for a single day during motorcycling season, you'll want your bike repaired as quickly as possible. If you have another motorcycle you can ride or there are only a few days left in the biking season, however, you may want to wait and see if you can talk a shop into providing a discount—especially if your motorcycle needs a major, expensive repair. After all, even a small discount on a big repair can save you a lot.