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Workshop Service vs DIY

Discussion in 'Maintenance and Servicing' at netrider.net.au started by Tone2, Oct 15, 2011.

  1. The thread yin the past few days by Riderman (about what oil to use for DIY changes) poses a related question. If you're confident on the tools and aren't aware of any issues with your bike, are there compelling reasons to put your bike through a workshop for a scheduled service?

    Benefits of a workshop include having evidence of regular servicing by trained people for resale, plus trained folks may pick up issues a layman might miss. And you'd hope they'd do it right, reducing the chances of stuffing it up that might happen with DIY.

    But what if you know that most of the points on the checklist for your upcoming service are OK? And you're fine changing the oil and filters yourself? Is having a mechanic do the work worth the piece of mind? Or do you save the dollars and enjoy working on your bike yourself?

    Maybe there are specific service intervals that it makes sense using a workshop for - where more serious items are checked, rather than just the superficial stuff.

    My 6000km service is coming up in a couple of weeks, so I have a vested interest! I know my bike was serviced at a workshop 6 months ago (before I bought it). I'm pretty new to this (but a confident tinkerer and fair mechanically) so I'm interested in your perspectives.
  2. I'll do the simple stuff on mine - oil, filters, plugs is about the limit for me. Have rebuilt heaps of cars over ryegrass but when there's only 2 wheels I trust myself a bit less than 4.

    Certainly prefer to do my own minor services and spend $50 or less on parts than $200+ on the same result.

    Sent from somewhere using Tapatalk
  3. To me I don't really know if it's done properly unless I do it myself, or if I put it through a trusted workshop. I rather do it myself because I'm learning useful life skills that will save me money in the future, my aim is one day to have enough skills to be able to do ALL servicing on my bike myself, that includes inside the motor and top end rebuilds. Don't think I'll ever need to rebuild the bottom end on my DR650 but if the time comes then it'll go through the work shop.

    All you really need to do for the 6000km service is to change the filter, oil, clean the air filter and do an inspection of the muffler and main chassis bolts, making sure they're up to torque. Much like the first 1000KM service. Then after that I'd be changing the filter every 2nd oil change
  4. My logic is...do it yourself. If all goes well you save yourself some money. If it goes sour, you have to take it to the workshop. At least you gave yourself the chance of getting it right.
  5. It all depends on the situation.

    How are you with mechanical aptitude?
    Do you have all the tools you'll need?
    How much stuff will you be doing for the first time on this job?
    Do you have a way of getting it to the shop if you mess it up and it won't run?
    How old is it?
    How much is it worth?
    Does it currently have a regular (documented) maintenance record up until now?
    Is it under warranty?
    How much gift wrap is going to have to come off to get to the stuff you actually need to fix?
    If there's a problem half way through - are you going to be stuck for transport because the bike's off the road?

    You can save yourself an awful lot of money doing your own work - but you can also cost yourself a motsa.

    My bike is new, expensive, complicated, and under warranty. It has a full service history with the same service manager's signature next to each entry in the logbook, all from the shop where it was bought new. At some point I'm going to start doing the minor services myself - oil and filters, but when the valve clearance needs to be checked - it can go back to the shop. I've done some Google time, and it is an awkward and fiddly job. Meh ... I'm old and lazy.

    There is no simple answer to your question. A lot of basic maintenance is quite simple to do, and you can save a lot - but there are jobs that are a hundred times faster and easier and better done if you have the right equipment, and experience doing exactly this job on exactly this bike before.

    Can you find a puncture in a push bike tube and repair it? If you can do that, then you can probably do basic motorcycle maintenance.
  6. Thanks for the responses.

    lol...never a simple answer to anything, really...

    It's a 20 month old Yamaha XVS650, which I bought ten weeks ago. It's got 5200km on the clock, and I've added 1500km of that. The 1000km service wasn't done at a workshop, but a 12 month service was in March. It wasn't signed off. So if something breaks in the next 4 months, if it isn't clearly a manufacturing fault then warranty isn't likely to want to know.

    Changing the oil and filters on this bike isn't hard, and access is easy. I haven't done it on a bike before (but have on cars many times), but YouTube shows it to be straightforward with simple tools. Plus I can get the bike onto a trailer if I stuff it up, and won't be stranded without it.

    I'm not afraid of mechanical work on the bike - I grew up on a farm. I've done a few simple mods on the bike in the 10 weeks I've had it - added a windshield and freeway bars. Put new risers on the bars and changed seats. I changed over the baffles in the pipes and made my own carb synch tool, which I then used to fine-tune the synchronisation. I've bought all the bits to add in some power outlets for a GPS and a USB slot, which I'll fit when I get a chance.

    I'm not thinking of cracking the engine casing in a hurry, but this level of stuff doesn't worry me. Main thing was, I didn't want to overlook the obvious, do it myself, and have everyone saying "You did WHAT...?".
  7. You'll be fine. (y)
  8. As I recall, K, the last time a workshop did anything to your bike, the oil filler cap came off and spat half the oil out over your foot... In other words, even the "professionals" can stuff it up...

    Edit: Just one thing... Why not change the filter every time you change the oil? It's only an extra $25 and 2 minutes, and it gives extra peace of mind.
  9. Exactly what I was about to say, my GS500F's is only like $16, I really dont understand why people change the oil and not the filter, be it a car or a bike!


    As for workshop vs DIY, I was quoted around $250 for a general check over and service, so instead I bought a Haynes manual and will DIY my maintenance!
  10. Pretty much every time I have entrusted any task to a "professional" (not just bike related stuff), they have stuffed it up worse than I could. Repeatedly in some cases, given that the modern means of problem resolution pretty much compels one to give the idiot who caused the problem in the first place the opportunity to turn it into a major disaster.

    I have seen at least as many and at least as bad bodges perpetrated by pros as by amateurs, the difference being that the pros should know better.

    My life depends on my bike working properly or, at the very least, my being aware of any problems it might have. I will never put it in the hands of anyone else for any work to be performed. If that stuffs my resale value or invalidates my warranty, that's just tough.

    There are only two exceptions here.

    One is tyre fitting. I hate the job and so will entrust a loose wheel to a trusted tyre shop. Emphasis on trusted. I tried going to a new joint that was nearer home. They stuffed up twice, lied to me about it and lost my business for ever. My regular supplier fixed the issues for a nominal sum and regained a loyal customer. I just wish they'd stop nicking my metal valve caps.

    The other would be engine machining work should I need any. I have machining facilities at home but haven't the skills to work to the tolerances necessary in a modernish bike engine. Again, I'll perform any necessary mechanical work required in order to present the machinist with a bare cylinder barrel/crankcase/cylinder head/whatever. Not only that, although I do not posess sufficient skill to perform the work, I can read a micrometer, make gauges etc. for checking work by others so I have the means of doing basic QA before trying to assemble an engine around faulty work.

    At least I don't have to pay myself $100 an hour to stuff up my own bike.
  11. Just another way it's hard for someone new to biking.
    Growing up if we did not fix it. It did not go.
    But we had cheap old junkers to learn our way around a motor.
    Basic services, chain tightening or replacing and a general knowledge of your bike is essential. If for nothing else but your own peace of mind.
    I like Pat find it very rare that someone has done the job I would do.
    And why do I have to pay $100 or more an hour for someones work that I have to check after anyway.
    A good service manual will pay for itself tenfold if you read it and learn it.
    Your mates are not going to like hanging around and waiting for you to fix your bike when they are on their Sunday run up the hills.
  12. Buy the cheapest bike you can get your hands on that has a service manual in clear English, and go through the whole bike, covering everything that's written in the service manual. If you stuff anything up it doesn't matter because it's your cheap-arse learn-mechanics-on bike. The skills you learn will translate to your main bike and you are less likely to stuff something up on your main, more important bike. If you can find such a bike that is the same brand as your main bike there is likely to be more skills transfer.