Bargaining With Expensive Dealerships

Super10East

Member
Joined
May 30, 2017
Messages
30
Location
East Coast
Preparing for a long trip and almost ready to put on new tires and get some maintenance done. I can do spark plugs, air filter, oil (engine/final gear), radiator stuff pretty easily, but other things require a range of tools I don't have (plus no sheltered garage). For example, I'm considering my first valve check but also want a comprehensive lookover. Today I called the maintenance department at my local place and got a quote for tire work that was quadruple the price (labor wise) than a non-dealership down the road. I won't say the location or the breakdown as a courtesy.

Question is, should I suck it up and pay the piper, or shop around and try to have my local dealership come down a bit? I'm not a cheapskate and know the value of good work, but my instinct is this dealership knows they're the only ones for quite a few miles and aren't afraid to aim high. Should I go a few towns over and see if I can get a better deal at another authorized dealer? Should I go with a non-dealer for the tires, and stick to the Yamaha dealer for the valve check? Trying to gauge some ideas.

(Side note: I used to live in a huge city on the west coast where Yamaha dealers were dense, so the pricing was competitive. This new place I'm in seems to be fairly spread out. Just an observation.)
 

Arkyrider

Active Member
Joined
Oct 12, 2011
Messages
275
Location
Van Buren, Arkansas
Preparing for a long trip and almost ready to put on new tires and get some maintenance done. I can do spark plugs, air filter, oil (engine/final gear), radiator stuff pretty easily, but other things require a range of tools I don't have (plus no sheltered garage). For example, I'm considering my first valve check but also want a comprehensive lookover. Today I called the maintenance department at my local place and got a quote for tire work that was quadruple the price (labor wise) than a non-dealership down the road. I won't say the location or the breakdown as a courtesy.

Question is, should I suck it up and pay the piper, or shop around and try to have my local dealership come down a bit? I'm not a cheapskate and know the value of good work, but my instinct is this dealership knows they're the only ones for quite a few miles and aren't afraid to aim high. Should I go a few towns over and see if I can get a better deal at another authorized dealer? Should I go with a non-dealer for the tires, and stick to the Yamaha dealer for the valve check? Trying to gauge some ideas.

(Side note: I used to live in a huge city on the west coast where Yamaha dealers were dense, so the pricing was competitive. This new place I'm in seems to be fairly spread out. Just an observation.)
I have a local Yamaha dealer that I use for major repairs/maintenance and I purchase parts and service items (oil, etc...) because they are local and it helps if a warranty issue comes up. They are reasonable in pricing and sometimes we have negotiated on the labor. The next closest Yamaha dealer is 40 miles away. If it's just tire work I check with the three local dealers (Yam, Honda, Kawa) and whoever quotes me the best deal gets the business.
 
Last edited:

Checkswrecks

Ungenear to broked stuff
Staff member
Global Moderator
2011 Site Supporter
Joined
Mar 7, 2011
Messages
11,597
Location
Damascus, MD
I have zero hesitation at finding another place, as long as I trust whoever is going to be doing the work. At the heart of it, these are very universal Japanese motors with no surprises.

In fact last week, I took my truck to the local Ford dealer for an oil change because I had a coupon and knew they'd also rotate the tires, look over the fluids and rest of the truck while on the lift, and always gave me a written report with a measurement for the brake pads. I've always had a good experience with this small town dealer.

When done the service writer had a somber face and said that the new trucks with electric parking brakes have a servo in the caliper (disc rear brakes) and that it appeared mine had been dragging. New calipers, servos, rotors, pads and labor would be $1,811. Basically they were going to just shotgun replace the whole rear brake system because one pad was thinner than the others.

Stuck my finger through the wheel and didn't feel anything rough or see any unusual blueing plus there've been no symptoms, plus the pad measurement was only 2mm less than at the other three wheels. Looked him in the eye and said no way.

Normally would have just done the brakes myself but with a torn up knee and being cold here, I took it to a local guy I trust and he found the run-out slightly out of spec for the one rotor. The servos and calipers were fine. His time, the new rotors, pads, and replacement labor came to be $510.
 

Super10East

Member
Joined
May 30, 2017
Messages
30
Location
East Coast
I have a local Yamaha dealer that I use for major repairs/maintenance and parts and service items (oil, etc...) because they are local and it helps if a warranty issue comes up. They are reasonable in pricing and sometimes we have negotiated on the labor. The next closest Yamaha dealer is 40 miles away. If it's just tire work I check with the three local dealers (Yam, Honda, Kawa) and whoever quotes me the best deal gets the business.
Getting these quotes has me considering just getting a set of tire irons with zip ties and doing a shoe change myself.
 

eemsreno

Well-Known Member
Founding Member
2011 Site Supporter
2012 Site Supporter
2013 Site Supporter
2014 Site Supporter
Joined
Nov 25, 2010
Messages
3,231
Location
On your way to everywhere, , Iowa
If I was taking my bike in for something as major as valve adjustment, I would go into the shop and talk to the guy that will be doing the work.
If he didn't seem 100% on top of his game there is no way he would touch my bike.
There has been a lot of shops around the country that have fouled up valve adjustments on these bikes and in a lot of cases it would be way better to forget the valves and never look at them than let someone that doesn't know what they are doing tough your bike.
 

Super10East

Member
Joined
May 30, 2017
Messages
30
Location
East Coast
If I was taking my bike in for something as major as valve adjustment, I would go into the shop and talk to the guy that will be doing the work.
If he didn't seem 100% on top of his game there is no way he would touch my bike.
There has been a lot of shops around the country that have fouled up valve adjustments on these bikes and in a lot of cases it would be way better to forget the valves and never look at them than let someone that doesn't know what they are doing tough your bike.
That's my feeling exactly. It's such an important check that I don't want to mess it up in any way, and certainly don't want to pay out the nose for shoddy, incompetent work.
 
Last edited:

eemsreno

Well-Known Member
Founding Member
2011 Site Supporter
2012 Site Supporter
2013 Site Supporter
2014 Site Supporter
Joined
Nov 25, 2010
Messages
3,231
Location
On your way to everywhere, , Iowa
Getting these quotes has me considering just getting a set of tire irons with zip ties and doing a shoe change myself.
If you don't want to mess with tire changing, just take the wheels off and take them into a shop that will do it.
It should be about 15 min. labor for each wheel.
 

Don T

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 11, 2011
Messages
541
Location
Denmark
My bike have visited an authorised Yamaha dealer ones - at the initial 1000 km service.
I wasn't impressed with their work - not that it sucked, it just wasn't up to what I would expect from an authorised (and pretty expensive) dealer, or how I would have done the work myself.

Since then I've serviced the bike myself or had it serviced at a nearby Honda/Suzuki dealer. They have a brilliant mechanics who is as anal about service as I.

The only downside with not using an authorised dealer is that I only got the mandatory 2 years warranty (EU regulations), not the extended 5 years (on electronics, engine and transmission).
But - with the money I've saved on service during 4 years/106.000 km of ownership I could probably pay for a new engine and transmission if worst comes to worst...

If you are not happy with what your local Yamaha dealer charges I would recommend that you take your bike elsewhere - if you can find a qualified mechanics. I wouldn't bother haggling if I was you.
 

Sierra1

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 7, 2016
Messages
15,659
Location
Joshua TX
Look for a place that doesn't have a new mechanic every time you go there. That's usually a sign that there is a problem with that dealership. I'm super lucky. Not only does my dealer discount stuff, but he will also price match. Also, his mechanics have been there for years.
 
B

ballisticexchris

Guest
"Bargaining With Expensive Dealerships"

I'm lucky and would hope to have some common sense. I don't bargain with dealerships at all. I know what the labor and parts cost is before ever walking up to the service desk. I don't mind paying a little more for quality work.

I'm amazed at how many members here and at other forums have had such bad luck with some else repairing their vehicles. I have never once in my life had an unsatisfactory repair done by a repair shop. I ask technical questions, meet the guy in charge or doing the repair, and do a full breakdown of what is expected before dropping off vehicle. It's all about the communication when letting someone turn a wrench on my machines.

My belief is too many people just dump off the vehicle without asking questions. When I had my 600 mile service done, I saw three people drop off their bikes and leave without even going inside the service department. All the while I was meeting service manager, the mechanic working on my bike, and checking out his tools and workspace. FWIW, I will never ever let someone turn a wrench on my bike unless the workspace is is clean and organized. I have no problem at all paying a little extra in labor for them to keep it that way. And I almost always tip the mechanic at the end of the repair.

Look for a place that doesn't have a new mechanic every time you go there. That's usually a sign that there is a problem with that dealership.
I have not ran into that issue either. I use well established repair facilities. Most all good repair shops have a very low turnover rate of competent mechanics.
 

EricV

Riding, farkling, riding...
2011 Site Supporter
2012 Site Supporter
2013 Site Supporter
2014 Site Supporter
Joined
May 22, 2011
Messages
8,444
Location
Tupelo, MS
Last time I needed the valves checked I called several shops, local and not so local, tried to get some input from others in the area, etc. Local shops are charging $90/Hr labor and quoting book time, PLUS telling me things like "never check the valves" and "If they aren't making noise, no need to check them". I consider that ignorant of modern engines. Every Yamaha I've had in the EFI years has had the exhaust valves get tight. That's not going to make noise. Sure, it's not going to blow up either, but when you keep bikes a lot of miles, preventative maintenance is a good thing.

I ended up riding 400 miles to a dealer with 5 star rated mechanics and a really good rep, plus $70/Hr labor. Worth the cost of the hotel night. They not only did a good job, but documented it all on paper and in the Yamaha system, down to the measurements of the individual valves. Less than $400 for the work too.

The local Yamaha shop is more of a side by side dealer. No motorcycles on the floor. They do have a decent tech that rides a FJR with over 200k on it, and seems to have a clue. Not sure if I'll let them do my next valve check/re-shim or go back to the guys 400 miles away. It ends up being a wash with the cost of the hotel and food Vs local, but it's nice to know someone took pride in their work too. The local guy just swapped some wheel bearings for me and had it done a couple hours after I dropped the wheel off. I know he was working on something else when I dropped the wheel off. That's something. Winter is usually fast turn around too. I've got some time before I need to worry about the valves on the current bike.
 

Super10East

Member
Joined
May 30, 2017
Messages
30
Location
East Coast
Last time I needed the valves checked I called several shops, local and not so local, tried to get some input from others in the area, etc. Local shops are charging $90/Hr labor and quoting book time, PLUS telling me things like "never check the valves" and "If they aren't making noise, no need to check them". I consider that ignorant of modern engines. Every Yamaha I've had in the EFI years has had the exhaust valves get tight. That's not going to make noise. Sure, it's not going to blow up either, but when you keep bikes a lot of miles, preventative maintenance is a good thing.

I ended up riding 400 miles to a dealer with 5 star rated mechanics and a really good rep, plus $70/Hr labor. Worth the cost of the hotel night. They not only did a good job, but documented it all on paper and in the Yamaha system, down to the measurements of the individual valves. Less than $400 for the work too.

The local Yamaha shop is more of a side by side dealer. No motorcycles on the floor. They do have a decent tech that rides a FJR with over 200k on it, and seems to have a clue. Not sure if I'll let them do my next valve check/re-shim or go back to the guys 400 miles away. It ends up being a wash with the cost of the hotel and food Vs local, but it's nice to know someone took pride in their work too. The local guy just swapped some wheel bearings for me and had it done a couple hours after I dropped the wheel off. I know he was working on something else when I dropped the wheel off. That's something. Winter is usually fast turn around too. I've got some time before I need to worry about the valves on the current bike.
My plan is beginning to look like what you're saying right here. Call multiple dealerships, do research on their reputations, follow up with the mechanic doing the work and evaluate from there.
 

bnschroder

2014 Super Tenere ES
Joined
Nov 17, 2014
Messages
559
Location
Atlanta
That’s a shame but not surprising. My father in law is 87 and every time he takes his car for a service he gets screwed.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Sierra1

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 7, 2016
Messages
15,659
Location
Joshua TX
Had a Honda (car) service manager try to tell me that I wasn't tightening the gas cap enough, and that's why the check engine light was coming on. When I asked her if I looked like someone that couldn't tighten the gas cap, the tech behind her started laughing. She got mad at the tech, and I, but they ended up finding/fixing the real problem.
 

Bigbore4

Active Member
Founding Member
Joined
Oct 20, 2010
Messages
845
Location
Andover Minnesota USA
I'm lucky. I have a long time family owned stable, reliable dealer. I also am a mechanic and do my own work. So I'm set either way. The couple recalls on my bike were done well, timely and minimal inconvenience to me.

I like EricV's plan. If you have the time, Schedule it into your ride. There's several dealers talked about on here with stellar reps. Find one of those on your route, bake the down day into your schedule and get it done where you don't have to worry.
 
Top