It’s only money (revisited)

The other day I mentioned that it was time for my motorcycle’s scheduled maintenance, and that it was going to cost me a big chunk of money, which made me sad, but what can you do.

I’ve been using the same mechanic for about the past ten years. Part of the reason I continue to ride a BMW, and an old one at that, is that I’ve had a good relationship with a mechanic I trust. Or rather, trusted. Last year, that trust started to erode, with what I believed was the final straw coming on my last visit there, to have fork seals replaced and some LED brake lights I’d purchased for my top case installed. My assumption is that this should have taken two to three hours, max, based on what I’d read of both procedures. Instead it took more than five, and what should have come to a few hundred bucks cost me over $800.

So the other day I took my bike to a different mechanic, closer to me, who provided a much more transparent estimate of the work, very much in line with my expectations. Expensive, but what can you do, as I said the other day. When I dropped the bike off, I said to call me if any additional work was required. It’s an old bike – 15 years old, to be precise – and things wear out, sometimes not in accordance with the maintenance schedule. I fully anticipated some working needed on my rear brake – possibly new pads, but nothing extreme. They assured me they would call me regardless, and I hoped (expected) to pick the bike up yesterday after work.

Unfortunately, their inspection turned up a need for more than just new brake pads. Apparently the old pads had worn more or less completely away, and the rotor was damaged as well. Both would need to be replaced. As well, part of my gear shift mechanism was in danger of falling off, and would also need replacement. The part was on order, and should be delivered by Tuesday. Both of these items should have been, in my opinion, spotted at earlier and cheaper-to-fix stages at my last scheduled maintenance. But what really took the cake, for me, was that my fork seals – replaced last summer – were leaking and needed to be replaced. Again.

One other thing they turned up was less urgent, and could wait till a future visit. And it will. The three fixes that can’t wait are already doubling the cost I’ll be incurring when I pick my bike up next week.

All of which makes me wish I’d switched mechanics sooner rather than later. It may only be money, but I’d rather it was mine than my mechanic’s.

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