DIY vrs Dealership service
For a long time I have followed the discussions on who should do the maintenance on your bike. Some say that its better to have the dealer do it for resale value. Others say they do it themselves as the dealer is so costly.
I have an issue with this “better resale value” argument. First, as I read what some were paying for services I cringed. As I looked at the total cost over the years of having the dealer do the maintenance I realized that the small increase in resale value was far more than offset by the the high prices charge for the services.
But the thing that really bothers me about the whole thing is the quality of service issue. Now, understand that I am not a factory trained BMW tech, far from it. However I do have some background in things mechanical after over 40 years of owning and servicing motorcycles and cars. Oh, and yes, I am a master certified Technician and I make my living training technicians at the college level. ( I previously was a technical trainer with two of the biggest automotive manufactures in the world. ) And, yes, I did own a motorcycle shop for some years and have spent more hours inside engines, fuel systems, transmissions, etc. than I care to admit. But NONE of this makes me anything special when it comes to my K bike.
What does concern me is the level of service I have received from the dealer. For example, after a simple oil change I notice a strange new buzz in the bike on the way home. Oh, four or five of the fasteners on the belly pan were left out! Gee, I wonder what else they left loose or missing! Then the front tire change. I get the bike back and have another strange buzz in the front. Sounds like a wheel bearing. After a few rides I finally check the tire pressure. (I should have done this first but the tire was installed by professionals.) WOW! 20 PSI!. I mean, this was a change done on the bike by “Factory Trained technicians”. If I can't trust these guys to get the tire pressure right, who can I trust?
Well, ME, that is who. I know there are some great BMW techs out there, somewhere. I am sure they do the very best work they can. Problem is, I haven't run into them yet. Fact is, the ones that worked on my new K the few times it went in were pretty sad. Before that I had similar experience with my K100RS. They couldn't even figure out the battery had a dead cell. (After a repeated no-start and numerous ABS codes). A simple voltmeter check was all that was needed to see the problem. (12V batteries do not check at 11.2V when they are good) Then there was the rear brakes with the faulty master cylinder. They said it was fine, but when I pulled back the dust boot fluid ran out of the seals. And the transmission work. Spring in the shifter broke. It was a busy time at work so I had them fix it. Got the bike back and the clutch was terrible. It pulsed or shuttered when it engaged. I have seen this before when a clutch disk was bent from forcing it or letting the weight of the transmission hang on it and bending it. After that it engages unevenly. Yulp, they screwed that up big time too. Even told me there was “Nothing wrong” with it, that was normal. Normal my butt! I road that bike long enough to know what was normal. That was the last straw on that bike. My lovely K100RS-SE with only 24,000 miles and I had had enough. Traded it in on a new K12GT.
So, should the day ever come and I am selling my lovely K12GT and you offer me less for it because the dealer didn't do the services, well, think again. I serviced it myself so that it would get done properly. I took the time and trouble to do the job correctly. After all, its my bike and who else cares more for it? Why would I give dealers thousands of dollars to service it when their work has been so sloppy and flawed?
OK, I am venting, but damn if I will bank roll people who do such sloppy amateur work. I plan on hanging on to my K for a long time. I think it will last much longer and give me better service if I get someone I can trust to take care of it. Oh, that would be ME!