600 mile service & beyond: Dealer service or do-it-yourself?

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#1
My new ST will be due for the 600 mile service by the end of this week, and I'm thinking I'll have the dealer do it. I plan on doing all of my own oil/final drive fluid changes after that, however...meaning that it wouldn't see a dealer again until it's time for the valve adjustment (at 22k miles, I believe?).

Is that a good plan, in your experience? I know some people take their bike to the dealer for every "service interval"...seems like a lot of money spent for mostly fluid changes? Having said that, I could be wrong, and would like to tap the knowledge on this forum for guidance.

Thanks!
 

Dogdaze

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#2
I took it in for the first service and the second (only because I got a really good deal on it) but from here on out it's all going to be self maintained using genuine filters that I will keep the receipts for any future warranty doubts. I think I would do a more thorough job anyway.
 

Boris

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#5
Easy bike to work, good access to most serviceable parts and straightforward fluid, filters, plugs & pad changes.

My bike only sees the dealer for stuff like valve clearances and the GEN1 CCT changes, almost everything else I do.
 
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#6
Good stuff guys; thanks. They told me they do a throttle body synch (I believe that's what they said) at first service as well...BS?

Also, as long as receipts for oil change components and a date log is kept, no problems with warranty if I do it all myself, correct?
 

OldRider

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#7
Also, as long as receipts for oil change components and a date log is kept, no problems with warranty if I do it all myself, correct?
There should be no warranty problem, but it all comes down to the dealers mood. If you bought the bike from them and do some business with them they are a lot more likely to go along with a warranty claim than if you bought the bike somewhere else and constantly tell them how much cheaper you can buy something on the internet. Buy your oil and filters from them and get to be friends with the service manager. He can make things go your way when you need him to.
 

Fennellg

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#8
I did not even know we got a fee one till I was 12,000 miles into my bike. Its faster and easier to tend to things my self, if possible. We all need help once in a while.
 
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#9
I did not even know we got a fee one till I was 12,000 miles into my bike. Its faster and easier to tend to things my self, if possible. We all need help once in a while.
I assume you meant "free" one...Did you mean a free service?
 
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#10
Good stuff guys; thanks. They told me they do a throttle body synch (I believe that's what they said) at first service as well...BS?

Also, as long as receipts for oil change components and a date log is kept, no problems with warranty if I do it all myself, correct?
At 600 miles, I doubt it needs a sync, and at least my Gen 1 doesn't even have a sync check. But, using the tutorials here, you should be able to do it if you want. Not really harder than an oil change.

If you have the tools, all the 600 mile really is, other than an oil change, is check the bike over, make sure all the bolts are tight, and of course with this bike, make sure the spokes are torqued and not loose. A good afternoon getting to know your bike.
 

gv550

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#11
I've been doing all my own services and repairs for decades, including the first service. I do try to buy some parts from the dealer but not always and I've never had any problem with warranty.
I think the responses here will be biased towards self service as those who do their service are more apt to read technical forums. There are still many owners who bring their bikes to a dealer for every service and repair and those bikes run along just fine.
 

RCinNC

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#12
If you live in the US you have the benefit of the Magnusen-Moss Warranty Act, which means that a warranty claim on your Yamaha can't be denied simply because you do your own maintenance, nor can warranty work be denied by an authorized dealership if you didn't buy the bike from them. Service departments like to either insinuate or outright lie that not having your bike serviced will void a warranty, which is always a good barometer of whether or not you should be using a service department that either outright lies to you or at the least manipulates the truth.

I know that a lot of riders, especially the ones who aren't all that adept at maintenance, think that a service department performs some sort of high tech wrenching at your 600 mile service; they don't. In fact, unless the shop is at a really slow point in the year, that 600 mile service is probably done by the junior guy with the least experience, because basically it's just an oil change, regardless of that long list of things the service manager claims are being done. If the shops are busy, the experienced mechanics are the ones working on the bigger jobs; your 600 mile service might well be done by the boss' kid who's home for the summer from culinary school.

There's nothing wrong with having a shop do the service; you don't surrender your man card if you opt for that. Lots of guys either don't have the time or the desire to do it. If you do have a shop do it, though, you should look through your owner's manual and familiarize yourself with everything that's supposed to be done during the 600 mile (and all the subsequent) services. If a service manager tells you something like "oh, you need a valve check at 600 miles", or "oh, the plugs have to be replaced at the first service", then you'll know he's lying to you, because none of that stuff is on the first service. Knowing what needs to be done, even if you aren't going to do it yourself, is going to give you a lot more confidence in dealing with a service department. Don't be afraid to call a service department on their BS if they do that sort of thing. A service manager is less likely to try and bullshit you in the future if you give the appearance that you know what you're talking about.

In the past, I took bikes to the shop for maintenance. After years of paying $120.00-$150.00 for what amounted to an oil change, I got tired of it, and started doing it myself. The more I did, the more I felt comfortable doing. Now I do the oil changes, tire changes (which isn't nearly as hard as a lot of people claim), brake and clutch fluid flushes, final drive oil changes, TBI synch, etc etc. A lot of what I learned how to do, I learned from on line forums, the service manual, and watching videos on YouTube. YouTube is a great source for motorcycle maintenance instruction; I leaned how to disassemble my forks and change the oil in them, and how to service the steering head bearings, just from watching a YouTube video. And I'm not a gearhead, and I don't particularly enjoy wrenching, but the feeling of satisfaction of being able to do stuff on your own and not let yourself be taken advantage of by a service department can overcome my general apathy of turning a wrench. You don't need an elaborate tool set, either; a metric socket set, and a filter wrench and you're on your way. You can buy more elaborate tools as you need them, but even if all you ever do are oil changes, you can buy a filter wrench and just use the tools in the on board tool kit, and save yourself a lot of money over the life of your bike.

I keep records of all maintenance I do. The warranty is long since expired on my bike, but I continue to keep the records. It helps for things like trying to figure out the longevity of a particular tire, or how long a set of brake pads lasted, or spark plugs, etc. During the warranty period I also kept receipts for anything I bought for the bike, like oil, filters, etc, to help my case if there ever was any sort of warranty claim. This is a page from my maintenance record, which shows the kind of stuff I document:

 
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#13
If you live in the US you have the benefit of the Magnusen-Moss Warranty Act, which means that a warranty claim on your Yamaha can't be denied simply because you do your own maintenance, nor can warranty work be denied by an authorized dealership if you didn't buy the bike from them. Service departments like to either insinuate or outright lie that not having your bike serviced will void a warranty, which is always a good barometer of whether or not you should be using a service department that either outright lies to you or at the least manipulates the truth.

I know that a lot of riders, especially the ones who aren't all that adept at maintenance, think that a service department performs some sort of high tech wrenching at your 600 mile service; they don't. In fact, unless the shop is at a really slow point in the year, that 600 mile service is probably done by the junior guy with the least experience, because basically it's just an oil change, regardless of that long list of things the service manager claims are being done. If the shops are busy, the experienced mechanics are the ones working on the bigger jobs; your 600 mile service might well be done by the boss' kid who's home for the summer from culinary school.

There's nothing wrong with having a shop do the service; you don't surrender your man card if you opt for that. Lots of guys either don't have the time or the desire to do it. If you do have a shop do it, though, you should look through your owner's manual and familiarize yourself with everything that's supposed to be done during the 600 mile (and all the subsequent) services. If a service manager tells you something like "oh, you need a valve check at 600 miles", or "oh, the plugs have to be replaced at the first service", then you'll know he's lying to you, because none of that stuff is on the first service. Knowing what needs to be done, even if you aren't going to do it yourself, is going to give you a lot more confidence in dealing with a service department. Don't be afraid to call a service department on their BS if they do that sort of thing. A service manager is less likely to try and bullshit you in the future if you give the appearance that you know what you're talking about.

In the past, I took bikes to the shop for maintenance. After years of paying $120.00-$150.00 for what amounted to an oil change, I got tired of it, and started doing it myself. The more I did, the more I felt comfortable doing. Now I do the oil changes, tire changes (which isn't nearly as hard as a lot of people claim), brake and clutch fluid flushes, final drive oil changes, TBI synch, etc etc. A lot of what I learned how to do, I learned from on line forums, the service manual, and watching videos on YouTube. YouTube is a great source for motorcycle maintenance instruction; I leaned how to disassemble my forks and change the oil in them, and how to service the steering head bearings, just from watching a YouTube video. And I'm not a gearhead, and I don't particularly enjoy wrenching, but the feeling of satisfaction of being able to do stuff on your own and not let yourself be taken advantage of by a service department can overcome my general apathy of turning a wrench. You don't need an elaborate tool set, either; a metric socket set, and a filter wrench and you're on your way. You can buy more elaborate tools as you need them, but even if all you ever do are oil changes, you can buy a filter wrench and just use the tools in the on board tool kit, and save yourself a lot of money over the life of your bike.

I keep records of all maintenance I do. The warranty is long since expired on my bike, but I continue to keep the records. It helps for things like trying to figure out the longevity of a particular tire, or how long a set of brake pads lasted, or spark plugs, etc. During the warranty period I also kept receipts for anything I bought for the bike, like oil, filters, etc, to help my case if there ever was any sort of warranty claim. This is a page from my maintenance record, which shows the kind of stuff I document:

Wow; thank you very much for the lengthy, detailed reply, sir!
 

Sierra1

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#14
I'm more along Boris's line of thought. The easy/basic stuff, I'll do. Back in the day, I found it fun to do EVERYTHING. That and the fact I couldn't afford to have the dealer do it. Nowadays? It's not as fun, and I have a great dealer that I can afford.
 

OldRider

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#15
If you live in the US you have the benefit of the Magnusen-Moss Warranty Act, which means that a warranty claim on your Yamaha can't be denied simply because you do your own maintenance, nor can warranty work be denied by an authorized dealership if you didn't buy the bike from them.
/QUOTE]


While all this is very true, they can screw you around forever until you get fed up and just go away.
 
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#16
It's just a very expensive oil change. The only magic trick they perform is separating you from your money.
Not true at all. A good dealer does a lot more than an oil change. I watched him do a lot of my 1st service. It's very detailed and was worth the 220 bucks I paid. It took him all of 3 hours to perform and service everything on the schedule. I was also very impressed that the tech did a little extra by putting a wrench to all the exposed hardware. Also used a really cool spanner tool tighten the steering stem to spec.

Sure I could have done it myself. There is also the chance I might have missed something. Of course you have to do your homework and find the right dealer. I'm new to this model. So having the tech go over the whole bike and giving me some pointers was a no brainer.

As time goes on I'll do a lot of my own service for some things and let the dealer do harder stuff (like valve adjustments, shock/fork valving, bushing changes, etc).
 

RCinNC

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#17
Yep, that's true. And you can buy oil from them twice a year, or have your $120.00 oil change done by them twice a year, and they can still just as easily screw you around when you try to file a warranty claim. Dealers don't want to do warranty work, because it's a financial loser for them; they're going to lose money by fixing that problem under warranty versus charging you for it. And the more complex and expensive the fix is, the more they stand to lose, because they are getting paid as a flat rate from the manufacturer, and the manufacturer is the one who determines how much the dealership will get. If the manufacturer says 1 hour and it takes the dealership 3 hours, they're getting paid for one hour, that's it. So I'm a little dubious that buying oil twice a year, or letting the dealership change your oil once a year, and knowing the service manager's first name, will sway them to going above and beyond on a warranty claim when fixing it under that claim is going to cost them a lot of money.

I agree with patronizing your local bike shop, and it never hurts to make friends. I also agree with knowing your rights as a consumer, and the laws that protect you when it comes to a warranty. And being aware of the Magnussen-Moss warranty act when a dealership is telling you you voided your warranty because you did your own oil change is going to be a lot more helpful than knowing that the service manager's first name is Joe.
 
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#18
In fact, unless the shop is at a really slow point in the year, that 600 mile service is probably done by the junior guy with the least experience, because basically it's just an oil change, regardless of that long list of things the service manager claims are being done. If the shops are busy, the experienced mechanics are the ones working on the bigger jobs; your 600 mile service might well be done by the boss' kid who's home for the summer from culinary school.
That is not true at all. The service tech working on my bike while young, had a lot of years experience under his belt. Very sharp young man who rides and also owns a Yamaha himself. Again you need to research and find a good dealer with good reputation. I actually talked to the service tech working on my bike as I never met him before.
 

RCinNC

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#19
It's not true for you, Ballisticexchris. If your experience was a good one, that's to your benefit. The fact that a service manager let you in his shop to watch a service being performed surprises me, since the liability insurance for a shop would usually forbid customers being in the mechanics' bay.

Saying it's not true at all means you have to ignore every single first hand account of every person on every motorcycle forum who has ever had a horror story of an encounter with a greedy, incompetent, dishonest service center. I've had them myself, and I'm not an isolated voice in the wilderness.
 
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#20
The key here is to develop a good relationship with your dealers mechanic.
I once had a dealer that had a great mechanic and I would give him a $50 gift card on Christmas and thank him for his personal work taking care of us. It got to the point that he would wash my bike after he would work on it.
Those days are gone now as he has moved on and I work on my own bike now.
 
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