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Your Service Provider and You

Work Restrictions: Parts Availability and Servicing Information

Let's start this new year explaining what we don't work on and why - it's a pretty short list but there are logical reasons for why we do and don't work on certain bikes.

Sometimes, parts availability is a stumbling block - and if we do find parts for trickier bikes, they can be more expensive than a customer wants to pay. Generally, if parts are available, we can do it, a philosophy which applies to older vehicles as well as newer ones. Harley Davidson parts are becoming much more difficult to aquire, as they have recently instituted a policy intended to "control the aftermarket shop activity in a dealer's area" by restricting which dealers are allowed to sell to which businesses, and restricting the amount of product that can be purchased.

The motorcycle industry does not offer the same requirements to release service information and data collection as the automotive industry, data that is especially important for their newer bikes with computerized systems. BMW and Harley Davidson are the most restrictive, withholding vital service information that we need in order to perform the full range of services to your bike - in particular the newer models with a high level of digital components.


The "Right to Repair" bill that was recently passed in Massachusetts represents a tremendous step forward in supporting independent repair facilities, ensuring that "consumers, dealers, and independent repairers have total access to original equipment manufacturer (OEM) tools and repair information" (statement from the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, Association of Global Automakers, Massachusetts State Automobile Dealers Association, and the Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition, August 2012). This bill ensures that all repair facilities are fully equipped with the information to make all necessary repairs, especially since nearly all newer vehicles have such a high degree of computerized technology with specialized repair requirements.

Write to your elected representative about extending this legislation to Wisconsin, and including motorcycles in the wording of the bill so that all motorized vehicles can be regarded equally under the Right to Repair.


Additionally, we don't work on vehicles that are produced in China because the metallurgy of the components and the engineering of the vehicles are poor quality. There are so few exceptions to this generalization that it is not worth trying to find one. These vehicles are cheap for a reason - they break early and often. It's like buying a paper umbrella, then getting angry at your umbrella repair person for choosing not to waterproof it... because if they do then you'll come back after a rainstorm and yell at the repair person for doing "crappy" work.

So if you call a service provider and they say "We don't work on those," you can put together a coherent argument in your favor, and then we can have an intelligent dialogue about what can be done.


© Bill Whisenant 2013


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