Bama Rides Forum

Open House => Tech Talk => Topic started by: bblass on November 16, 2015, 10:48:55 PM

Title: $350 for an Oil Change!?!
Post by: bblass on November 16, 2015, 10:48:55 PM
Went to take my Harley in for the 5k service today and when I was handing the tech the keys saw on the board "Big twin 5k service synthetic - $327.95" I asked the tech what all was included in that and he pointed me to the 25 point inspection on the board behind me. This included such gems as "check tire pressure" and "inspect air filter". This may be nothing new to many of you since this is my first Harley and only second new bike. I promptly declined the service and went to the parts department to buy a manual and a filter for $80 out the door. Add in 3 quarts of oil for another $25 and I feel like I really came out ahead. So far I love the bike but have been very unimpressed with the rest of the motor company's efforts. I know many of you on the board ride HDs and for all the hate they get I really do believe they're a great motorcycle for crushing and enjoyment. But I'm curious what your experiences have been after the purchase and living with the bike long term? Are warranty claims and the like going to be as strenuous as this sets the tone for? I seriously wonder how many poor souls got grifted for $350 because they didn't know any better or did I seriously foul up by not bowing to my corporate overlord?
Title: Re: $350 for an Oil Change!?!
Post by: jrobinson on November 16, 2015, 11:38:31 PM
I spend about $70 for filter plus full syn oil, motor, primary and trans. Takes about 40 mins without a lift. I run it 7-10k miles.

Read the service manual, and ask questions here.
Title: Re: $350 for an Oil Change!?!
Post by: Nice Goat on November 17, 2015, 05:39:45 AM
Change my own oil, tires, chains, sprockets, air filters, valve checks, etc.  Someday I'd like to learn how to change pistons, rings, clutches, etc.

Support your dealer by showing up for cookouts, not by paying outrageous service fees.
Title: Re: $350 for an Oil Change!?!
Post by: Chitza on November 17, 2015, 06:52:46 AM
My first "real" bike was a Harley. And I had never done anything mechanical. I paid the $350. Worries about voiding warranty yada, yada, yada. I will say I had a few warranty issues that they handled seamlessly and even one problem they covered for me that they shouldn't have.

I do most of my own stuff now. Basic things. I have a BMW now and some things require tools that I don't have. I pay Motoace for those. They're great. They give me info on how to do things myself.
Title: Re: $350 for an Oil Change!?!
Post by: klaviator on November 17, 2015, 06:57:06 AM
It's not just Harley that does this sort of thing.  Pretty much all the brands do this although their prices may not be quite as high.  That first service/inspection can be a real shocker to new motorcycle owners who are used to paying $25-35 to get their car's oil changed.  This is one reason I do most of my own servicing.

BTW, the reason car oil changes are so cheap is that most places just want to get you in the door so they can find other things that your car "needs" and then they charge an arm and a leg for things like changing your car's power steering fluid.
Title: Re: $350 for an Oil Change!?!
Post by: scrappyjon on November 17, 2015, 07:59:16 AM
Just order a K&N filter off eBay or amazon for half the price of Harley dealer. Go to auto zone and buy the v twin mobile one synthetic. It will work on everything (motor,trans, primary). It takes about 20 minutes to change the oil. I never set foot in a Harley dealerships anymore. If you need NEW Harley parts go to . Also, just looking at a parts schematic is very helpful. You can see where everything goes if you get mixed up. If you don't like changing tires like me, take the wheel off and take it to cycle gear or motoace. You have to buy the tire from cycle gear, they are reasonable, and they will mount it for $25. Just call ahead and make sure they have it in stock. If they don't they will order it. Just go to their website and tell them which one you want.  Or, I've heard you can order your own tires online and motoace will mount it for you for cheap.

Working on your bike yourself is very rewarding.

Title: Re: $350 for an Oil Change!?!
Post by: bblass on November 17, 2015, 08:31:53 AM
Thanks for the link Scrappyjon! I fancy myself decently handy but was worried about warranty issues until I read about the Magnusson-Moss Act. Read through the service manual some last night and it's a pretty good one. Looks like a good excuse to buy some new tools!
Title: Re: $350 for an Oil Change!?!
Post by: jrobinson on November 17, 2015, 09:38:47 AM
Buy the K&N oil filter, it has a nut welded to the end of the filter for easy removal.  15 bucks.
Cycle Gear carries these also...if you can find someone that can lookup Harley parts.
Warning -- be careful removing a filter without the nut. There is very little clearance between filter and sensor on the block.

Oil I think you will need 5 qts to change engine, primary and trans. 10-11 bucks per quart.

Here's a video to walk you through it.

This is a pic of the oil/trans pan and the drain bolt locations.
Title: Re: $350 for an Oil Change!?!
Post by: gene46 on November 17, 2015, 09:56:07 AM
I have no experience with a Harley, but I can share mine on a Honda. I bought the new Spirit 750 in May. I have always done my own services but decided to let a dealer (it isn't required) to do the required maintenance while she is in warranty. So far this has been the 600 mile and 8000 mile. At Cycle World in Gadsden this service is less than $200 and includes valve clearance inspection, oil change, final drive fluid change and all of the normal inspections. I did have to call around, other dealers wanted $100 more due to the valve inspection. Cycle World has been reasonable and have been great on the service end, so they will keep my least until the warranty runs out!
Title: Re: $350 for an Oil Change!?!
Post by: catang5oh on November 17, 2015, 11:21:46 AM
Halls Powersports did the first service on the Tenere because it is required to get the YES warranty. $90 out the door, synthetic oil, filter, final drive oil, and the 20 point inspection.
Title: Re: $350 for an Oil Change!?!
Post by: bblass on November 17, 2015, 11:51:26 AM
$90 seems way more reasonable for a service. I would gladly pay that for them to have all of the documentation and to keep things simple if there ever is a warranty claim. On the flip side though, nobody cares as much about your bike as you do. Talking to another friend about it today, he said one of the reasons the Harley service costs as much as it does is because they bill it as 3 hours of labor plus all fluids. I personally feel that's a load of horse hooey and consider the "bond of trust" with the motor company violated.
Title: Re: $350 for an Oil Change!?!
Post by: jrobinson on November 17, 2015, 12:06:48 PM
Harleys require at least a couple more quarts of oil. In your FSM there should be a check list of maintenance points required at each mileage interval. Go down the list, it may take 3 hours. Then you need to consider their labor rate, probably close to $100 per hour. That's what the auto dealers are getting.

I don't fault the dealerships for charging this any more than I fault McDonalds to charge $6 for breakfast. If we didn't have dealerships selling new bikes to the folks we end up buying from, where would we get our bikes?

Even with the purchase of the FSM, you are still ahead to do the work yourself. You will learn about the bike and have the satisfaction of doing the job yourself.

I've learned I can screw up my bike just as bad as a trained professional for a lot less money.
Title: Re: $350 for an Oil Change!?!
Post by: bblass on November 17, 2015, 01:40:30 PM
If they actually took three hours for the service I'd feel less irked by it. My first service on the bike was included in the deal when I bought it. It took them roughly an hour and a half and that included the installation of the security system. Last night going through the service manual 5K check list it took me a little over an hour to check everything to spec after changing the oil. That was going through the service manual step by step for each task and leisurely taking my time.

I'm realize that I'm getting bent out of shape over nothing but to me this is a perfect example of what's killing Harley lately. They've positioned themselves strongly in the fading midlife crisis market and things like overpriced services are going to limit their viability to market towards the next generation of motorcyclists who don't have nearly the same disposable income.

Guess it's time to sell the HOG stock and buy into the Partzilla and Polaris empires... Thanks for letting me vent and ramble! 
Title: Re: $350 for an Oil Change!?!
Post by: jrobinson on November 17, 2015, 01:53:06 PM
Doesn't matter how long it actually takes. Auto, Truck, Boat and Motorcycle repair is based on book hours, the average hours it takes to do a job. I've had techs at the automotive shop I worked at that could finish a 5hr labor job in 3hrs. Sometimes it may take them 10hrs to complete a 6hr job. We would charge, and the tech would be paid on the book hours.

Anyway, you are welcome to vent away.  :)
Title: Re: $350 for an Oil Change!?!
Post by: LawnmowerRG on November 17, 2015, 02:29:09 PM
That is on par with the price of a BMW service.
Half what a Ducati service cost.
I have always payed them to do the first service. Then I do it all myself.
Title: Re: $350 for an Oil Change!?!
Post by: springer on November 17, 2015, 08:31:37 PM
Buy the service manual for your year and make of Harley. It will be the best $40.00 $90.00 dollars you will spend. It goes into great detail on doing ALL the service on your bike, including a major over-haul. Yes it is over kill for just changing you oil but it is worth its weight in gold if you delve deeper into working on your Harley.  (Different prices for the different makes) Be sure to get the correct year book too. Harley does make changes to their product line through out the run of the model life. Follow the instructions in the service manual. Some folks will tell you of a shorter/faster way to do it, screw that. Follow the manual. I have seen guys totally screw up their Harley then cry because they think Harley's are junk.  The truth is their mechanical skills are whats junk and/or they followed some short cut they read about on some internet forum.  ;)
 Buy a good torque wrench and use the specs in the service manual. The service manual will also tell you if a fastener needs a certain thread sealant. Buy and use the right one for that fastener. Same with the oil wrench. (unless you use the K+N oil filter. Like Johney said, it has a nut on the end of it.) You can get the right type of oil wrench from places like Dennis Kurt, J+P, and others.       
Title: Re: $350 for an Oil Change!?!
Post by: RubyRider on November 17, 2015, 10:34:16 PM
I took my '08 FLSTC in for the first 2 services, after that, I bought a manual, and take care of my bike myself. Kinda figure I ride it, I can take care of it.

Oil change bout 70$ like others have said.

I enjoy working on my own bike, thats part of the moto experience.
Title: Re: $350 for an Oil Change!?!
Post by: lazeebum on November 18, 2015, 05:18:22 AM
I don't, nor have I ever owned a Harley, but it kinda chaps me when people who don't know what they are talking about call them junk. Like everyone else has said, learn to do most of your own work.
Title: Re: $350 for an Oil Change!?!
Post by: DachshundUberAlles on November 19, 2015, 08:07:32 PM
My sister just bought a 2015 BMW 320i and it has a no fee, four year service coverage. That's regular services (including brake pads) for the first four years of ownership. I saw that Nissan is doing a three year, no fee service on their vehicles as well. This isn't something new because she said that her 1999 BMW 323 had a similar no fee service deal. Now once that period ends, the BMW dealerships more than make up for it with the costs of the periodic services. Now I am fully aware that the automotive market competition is far more crowded than the motorcycle world, and that the ratio of autos to motorcycles is huge, but it does make me wonder if such a no fee maintenance program would ever come to the motorcycle industry. You get people in the habit of coming to the dealership for the scheduled services and perhaps you keep them once the no fee period ends.