Self wrenching or dealers - interesting statistics - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 12 Old Aug 7th, 2014, 11:53 pm Thread Starter
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Self wrenching or dealers - interesting statistics

We all know its cheaper to do things yourself if your capable, and much more informative and satisfying than having paid someone else to do it.
Having just completed a clutch change, new brake lines and other fun bits on the LT at home, I've gone back through all the dealers invoices I have since Day 1 of ownership (Sept 2005) and done a basic spreadsheet as reference on what was done and costs... and its quite interesting.
Most of these things you'll know either from experience or anecdotally anyway.... and I should have done this years ago.... but here's some initial thoughts from doing this.

1. Dealers overcharge horrendously for parts compared to what you can buy online from 3rd parties (duh)... never realised I was getting ripped off so badly in the early days on things like brake pads.
2. Dealers regular servicing up to and including the 80,000km over a full 6 year period to 2011 cost nearly AU$10,000, of which roughly 50% was parts and fluids (including tyres, pads etc), and 50% was labor, other "consumables", and govt taxes & levys.

I need to get all my self-purchased parts invoices together and add them to the mix as I've done several home services now, so that I get a full comparison.
I think it'll take a little while to ammortize some of the higher costs (eg bike lift) but eventually should show a massive saving in labor and parts costs over the next few years.
Definitely worth learning to DIY.

Chris
Sydney, NSW
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Last edited by cws; Aug 8th, 2014 at 1:25 am.
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post #2 of 12 Old Aug 8th, 2014, 1:47 am
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Re: Self wrenching or dealers - interesting statistics

Definitely !

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post #3 of 12 Old Aug 8th, 2014, 7:11 am
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Re: Self wrenching or dealers - interesting statistics

You are correct that the dealers especially BMW charge ridiculous money for their labor and parts. I have used the dealer for service because of my extended warranty. That ends in October. I will then do whatever the bike needs myself thanks to this group of knowledgeable guys who go out of their way to help. After my upcoming dealer financial raping to do a 24K servicing and QD, tank hoses, spiegler install, I should be good to go for a while. I decided I'd put the money into the LT rather than buy a new bike with all the add on farkles which would be the ultimate financial raping. I've test driven all the new touring bikes and nothing comes close to the LT for my style of two up touring.
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post #4 of 12 Old Aug 8th, 2014, 9:32 am
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Re: Self wrenching or dealers - interesting statistics

Definitely more cost effective to do your own wrenching. I've always wrenched on every bike that I've owned. I've done full engine rebuilds on my KTM's, so I'm a pretty capable wrench. The LT was the first bike I've ever taken to the dealer. The main reason for me is time. I work 50+ hours a week, do consulting on the side and have several other hobbies like mountain biking, competitive shooting and riding my dirt bikes. Add to that family obligations and I just don't have the time to spend in the garage wrenching. The cost/benefit of being able to drop the bike off on Tuesday and pick it up on Wednesday is worth it to me. That said, I still groan every time I'm handed the invoice.....

2003 KTM 525EXC
2006 KTM 300 XCW
2011 Suzuki 650 Vstrom
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post #5 of 12 Old Aug 8th, 2014, 8:18 pm
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Re: Self wrenching or dealers - interesting statistics

[QUOTE=cws;1048057

1. Dealers overcharge horrendously for parts compared to what you can buy online from 3rd parties (duh)... never realised I was getting ripped off so badly in the early days on things like brake pads.
Definitely worth learning to DIY.[/QUOTE]

I will NEVER EVER again pay my local DFW stealership for any parts or service. Especially the brake pad rape !! I'll continue to do my own service a and buy parts online or from a boneyard.
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post #6 of 12 Old Aug 8th, 2014, 9:11 pm
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Re: Self wrenching or dealers - interesting statistics

Dealers work on bikes???? Who knew??

John
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2009 R1200GS (Gone)
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2006 Bushtec Turbo+2 Spell
2004 330 Ci Convertable
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But lack DE, MA, RI and CT with the 2005 LT

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post #7 of 12 Old Aug 8th, 2014, 9:20 pm
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Re: Self wrenching or dealers - interesting statistics

If everyone quit buying from the dealers we wouldn't have any dealers. I buy about $10,000 worth of parts from my local dealer each year.

Dave Selvig
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post #8 of 12 Old Aug 8th, 2014, 9:22 pm
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Re: Self wrenching or dealers - interesting statistics

EXACTLY why I created so many DIY videos!!

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post #9 of 12 Old Aug 8th, 2014, 10:55 pm
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Re: Self wrenching or dealers - interesting statistics

Quote:
Originally Posted by jzeiler View Post
Dealers work on bikes???? Who knew??

He didn't say fix, he just said work on.

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post #10 of 12 Old Aug 9th, 2014, 12:25 am
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Re: Self wrenching or dealers - interesting statistics

I feel your pain!. Though I doubt most dealers are very sympathetic to this line of whine. I do all of my service and repairs and buy some parts on-line and 3rd party for the precise reasons cited. That's the only way I can afford the luxury of an LT. I'm a professional engineer and mechanic and small business owner. I am the first to argue that there are too many dealers that are technically incompetent in too many areas. Too many times customers have to pay dearly for problems not fixed. Now that's an industry-wide problem! However, I don't think there are many dealers purposely overcharging or consciously defrauding customers. They are just trying to cover expenses and make a living. As a small business owner selling engines (that cost more than BMWs), parts, and service in the marine trades (commercial, military, and recreational) with several employees I can tell you that it's tough! My customers regularly hint or outright accuse us of being pirates for what we charge for parts and repairs. I look at our labor rates and wonder, myself, how anyone can afford to pay us! My parts are sold at "retail" and combined with labor we just survive. The reality is we charge what we have to make a surprisingly meager profit after paying the governments, the insurance companies, the banks, our suppliers, and the damn lawyers for the privilege of assuming nightmare risks and liabilities. Most motorcycle dealers are in the same boat. If you're not in business, you really can't appreciate what it cost to be there! If you're not making a profit then you can't stay in business. Period! My accountant says we're not charging enough! My customers disagree! When a small businessman takes in a dollar it's then only worth about sixty cents after taxes, insurances, fees, and contingency savings to cover frivolous litigation. Our labor rates are comparable to BMW dealers and plumbers! I don't begrudge my customers for purchasing parts online or doing their own work. They buy for less from online sellers that don't have the financial baggage of running a face-to-face storefront business or maintaining the diagnostic software, equipment and technical training to do the job. I admire my customers with DIY skills and offer advice when asked. However, I really get my back up, as do most motorcycles dealers I'm sure, with the suggestion that we're taking advantage of anyone. If you want to know who's screwing you, look no farther than Washington, DC , the banks, and your state and local governments. And don't forget the damn lawyers. Best Regards to All!
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post #11 of 12 Old Aug 9th, 2014, 1:44 am Thread Starter
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Re: Self wrenching or dealers - interesting statistics

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Originally Posted by Voyager View Post
He didn't say fix, he just said work on.
+1..... what pushed me over the line to start doing it myself... it wasn't so much the cost as that I couldn't trust them to do it without doing other "unauthorised" stuff or being incomplete with their work. Loss of faith in the dealer = loss of income to them.

Kirk... love your work!

Chris
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post #12 of 12 Old Aug 9th, 2014, 8:33 am
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Re: Self wrenching or dealers - interesting statistics

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Originally Posted by cws View Post
+1..... what pushed me over the line to start doing it myself... it wasn't so much the cost as that I couldn't trust them to do it without doing other "unauthorised" stuff or being incomplete with their work. Loss of faith in the dealer = loss of income to them.

Kirk... love your work!
Same here. My dealer is 110 miles away. I took my bike back to them (takes an entire day, a LONG day in the case of the 12K), for every service and inspection up to the 24K. 600, 6,000, 12,000 and 18,000. I paid more than $800 for the 12K.

Two things finally drove me to do my own:

1. After the 12K, they forgot to put my reverse knob back on and had to mail that to me. They stripped two fairing screws and lost one screw entirely. They didn't get the short screw by the oddments box lock back into the right position, etc.

2. The final straw was when Jake (not of State Farm) gave me a hard time for installing my own CB. I tried to buy one at Country Rode, but the parts manager couldn't even order one anymore. He suggested I find one online so I did. The installation was tedious, but easy (I'm an EE). The only snag was the need to remove a power pin from the radio and install a new pin with a branch to control the CB power through the radio. Of course this pin was an odd size for which I had no extraction tool. I tried to order one and the dealer said they could not get one. So I called the service manager to make an appointment to bring my Stingray in so they could remove the pin. I fully expected to pay for that service. I was asked about the rest of the job and told him I was doing it myself, but needed this pin removed and didn't have an extraction tool. I was then basically told that if I wanted to do my own work, I should buy all of the special tools just as the dealer has to and do ALL of my own work.

Since I had not only bought a $22K new motorcycle from Country Rode, but had bought about $4K more in clothing, service, parts, etc., I wrote a letter to the owner expressing my dismay. I got no direct response from the owner. I did get a call from the service manager with a grudging apology, but lacking the most important part which is the "it won't happen again" statement.

So, I have been gradually acquiring the special tools I need and I haven't darkened the door of a BMW dealership since.

2017 KLR650 "Mule"
2007 K1200LT "Starship Enterprise", VOICE II, Navigator V, Motorrad Communicator
1987 Kawasaki Voyager XII
1976 Kawasaki KH400
1973 Kawasaki 100 G5
1970 Rockford Chibi (the orange one)

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