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Rochdale Honda - Thanks

Blog Date - 19 August 2017

The CB500X has 15,000 miles on the clock. The next service is at 16,000. We also have a trip to South Wales planned which will likely cover over 1,000 miles, putting the bike overdue for it's service. As such I'll service the bike early rather than late.

Wigan Honda where I purchased the bike from require the release of £400 to carry out the full 16k service which includes air filter, plugs, shims and everything else. Ouch. I could of course do the service myself but with 7 months remaining on the warranty I would like to have a full genuine service history in case anything goes awry. 

Inside the cylinder head of the CB500x are the tappets, followers and valves
I can atually get inside the motor myself...eventually.

This is a quandary. The parts for the service would likely stand me around £100 for top quality oil, genuine air filter and genuine plugs etc. So I would be paying £300 for the privilege of "no arguments" if there were to be a warranty claim in the next 7 months. Is it worth it? I can buy a lot of spares for £300 if something were to go wrong and the law regarding warranties is at best "grey" if not completely vague. 

While considering my options I found myself near Rochdale Honda. I once spent half an hour talking with the owner at Rochdale Honda and I remembered him saying that servicing was their real business, sales are just pin money and a leader for the servicing. I also recall that they are one of the few remaining totally independent main dealers left in the North West. 

The Honda logo above a honda shop

Their service department informed me that according to their data the CB500X is a 3 to 3.5 hour service. With parts this would cost me around £250 to £280. Arrrrrr...sod it yes book me in. The bike was booked in with them for August 29th, I made the booking ages ago.

I've just had a call from Rob in the service department. He wants to talk to me about the booking, it seems they're a mechanic down and wondered if I could leave the bike with them. When I made the booking I had already explained my plan was to leave the bike there all week, so that was fine.

Oh and erm, well, errr they've also discovered that the CB500X's major service is in fact 4 hours, maybe 4.5 hours and not 3 to 3.5 hours. Oh and there's an air filter needed for the service. It might cost a little bit more. About £100 little bit more. So rather than being £250-£280 the service will now be around £350-£380, probably more like £350 though. Maybe less if everything goes to plan, perhaps, sort of.

"So basically, I have been misquoted for the service?"
"Yes, but..."

I am already nervous about a "professional" mechanic working on my motorcycle. I know that while they may be extremely experienced and trained they tend to be under a great deal of pressure to get things done as fast as possible which causes them to not quite take as much care as I would like with my machine. 

I now also know that the one mechanic at the shop is under duress to carry out the work of two mechanics. 

I now am being asked to pay an additional £100 on top of what is already an expensive service.

I now know the service department is under pressure to bring the service in on budget if not less to reduce my griping. This pressure will be passed on to the already overworked spanner man. 

Ren looks intensely at the brake calliper he's working on at a campsite
I know the corners a mechanic will cut when he's under pressure.

Taking all this into consideration I now believe there is little chance that my motorcycle will be given the same level of care, time and affection as the £350 price tag should demand.

I tell them to cancel the (bloody) service. 

Having put the phone down I ponder to myself - was that the plan all along? They now have a spare half-day to play with, to catch up and to take a breather with. It is a standard business practice to up the price if the business is too busy to cope with demand. Either you make a lot of money or you quieten down a little and catch up.

So my sarcastic thanks go to Rochdale Honda for leading me up the garden path and wasting my time. I want to support Rochdale Honda as a small privately owned Honda dealer, I really do but it's hard when they just shoot themselves in the foot. I have not quite given up on the idea of having the motorcycle professionally serviced this one time but I have run out of Honda dealers in this area. I know I can get it serviced by a private VAT registered workshop to keep the warranty so I'll look into that.

Otherwise...it looks like Sharon will be learning how to do the tappets and spark plugs on a Honda CB500X. 

WITHOUT going into a slanderous diatribe of hate do you have a story to share regarding motorcycle dealers? Drop Ren a line ren@bikesandtravels.com

Reader's Comments

Ian Soady said :-
Precisely why my motorcycles never see the inside of a workshop except for MoTs.

When I bought my Triumph Tiger 955i it was one year old. I bought it from the dealer who originally supplied it, and it had about 1,500 miles on the clock. I'd never had a "modern" motorcycle before and was rather concerned that the temperature gauge shot into the high zone and the fan came on with the slightest provocation.

So I took it back. "They all do that" said the foreman mechanic. But after a short conversation he agreed to take a look, reporting back to me that all was fine.

The problem continued. Some weeks later I stumbled across a post on a Triumph forum that said some instances of my bike (but not including mine) had a manufacturing error whereby the overflow and pressure release pipes into the expansion tank had been swapped over. This resulted in coolant going into the tank when the bike heated up, as it should, but instead of being drawn back in when it cooled down again it sucked air.

So you can guess what I found when I took the fairing off. Yes, they'd been swapped over (even though my bike should have been correct from the factory). The check took me 15 minutes or so and that included working out how to remove the fairing panels. So they didn't all do that and he was lying.

I corrected this, refilled with the necessary 1.5 litres of coolant and continued. The temperature gauge never subsequently moved above half way despite how hot the weather, and the fan rarely came on.

Trust my bike to "professionals"? You must be joking.

And I know Zen and the Art.... is not universally popular but Mr Pirsig has some very pertinent things to say on the subject.

BTW EU legislation means that a warranty claim cannot be refused as long as genuine parts have been used and any work has been done with due competence.
19/8/2017 1:58:18 PM UTC
Stuart said :-
I had a Vauxhall Vectra afew years ago and one year in winter the temp guage would not move. I took it to the dealer for a trained factory technician to look at it and all they did was left it ticking over for half an hour which made the temp guage read normal.

Of course as soon as you drove it and had cold air flowing it went back to zero.

I took it back and insistited they change the thermostat and hey presto problem solved.

They never saw the car again.

I now go to a small independant who is directly responsible to you and have been happy for the past few years.

19/8/2017 9:09:15 PM UTC
Pocketpete said :-
I was going to by an sv650 Suzuki off Robinsons of Rochdale. They had it advertised on auto trader. Last few of the old model as a new one had been released.

I arranged a test ride and turned up 4 days later to find no bike available.

'Maybe we can interest you in the new model they say.

Err no the old ones fine it's 1200quid cheaper same engine.

They have all sold I'm afraid.

A week later they are still advertising the same bike. I ring up 2 weeks later advert still on their website.

'You have a sv650 for sale can I arrange a test drive'

Certainly when can you come down.

'You know what I don't need a test drive I will just buy it. It seems perfect for me.'

Oh just a minute I think my colleague has just sold the last one. We do have the new model in.

Yes right lost leader salesman that stuff doesn't exist very bad. Caught them out big style. The answer is don't trust a dealer full stop. I even reported them to trading standards and the advertising standards authority.

If the dealer hadn't lied to me I would be riding a Suzuki instead of a honda. You have the same problem with cars the dealers lie all the time
20/8/2017 7:26:05 AM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Speaking as a person who is asked to fix computers I have quite a bit of sympathy with mechanics who are asked to IMMEDIATELY diagnose issues. Anyone who has wielded a spanner knows that the hardest part is FINDING the issue not actually fixing it. You've all been on forums when someone asks "my bike is running lumpy at tickover, what is the problem?" At which point 47 different and mostly viable answers come back.

As for the "amazing deals!" Pocketpete - I'm riding a Honda for the same reason. This time Bolton motorcycles (who incidentally are part of the same group that owns Robinsons of Rochdale) promised an amazing deal on a pre-registered Inazuma 250. Upon arrival well that was sold out but they had an amazing deal on an unregistered machine. The pre-reg Zuma was still being advertised a few days later.

One thing I've learned about sales people having worked for them as well as dealt with them. If you don't get the feeling that he or she would tell you their own grandmother will deliver the product while wearing lingerie and riding a white horse just to close the sale - then don't trust them. An "honest" sales person is far more dangerous than the regular lying sales person.
20/8/2017 7:54:00 AM UTC
Pocketpete said :-
The best bet ren is to do the service yourself. Really carefully. Do everything properly. Discover all those difficult awkward bits. Find solutions and when you've finished keep extensive notes and pictures.

Once this is completed you will be fully trained and skilled enough to do my bike at 16k miles so I don't have to worry about getting ripped off by a dealer. See there's always an upside to these problems.
20/8/2017 7:56:06 AM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Aaaaaahhhhh riiiiiight. I see where this is going. Somehow I'm going to become the go-to guy for CB500X servicing huh?
20/8/2017 9:04:38 AM UTC
Sharon said :-
I don't think the plan was to create a breather for themselves by increasing the quote price last minute because they suddenly found themselves too busy.
I believe they under quoted you deliberately from the beginning. Why?
Well firstly the got you booked in. They gave you the bait and you bit. Now they have you hooked on the line they believe they can reel you in. If they quoted the real price from the beginning you would probably have not booked in with them for your service. So phase 1 complete.
Phase 2, wait until a week before the service is due and phone customer ie you with the real price. They believe and indeed hope that you now have your bike almost on the threshold miles wise for the service interval. You will have very little time to call around and arrange another service somewhere else at such short notice. They tell you it's only another £100 it's only like just a little extra on top, what does it matter? You will hopefully begin to panic you need a service arghh, it's booked in here all arranged, it's only a bit more than you planned,so they bargain on you saying oh ok fine just do it.
I bet this works most of the time with most people, that's why they do it.
It absolutely stinks. It is an appalling way to do business and I applaud you for telling them where to park it. We all need to stop taking this crap. If everyone told them to get lost then this kind of thing would stop. They will try anything to hook us. They say God loves a trier, well we have to make it clear that bikers do not love a liar.
20/8/2017 10:49:44 AM UTC
Ian Soady said :-
Well said Sharon. This, and other sharp practices mentioned in this thread, are what is commonly known as "bait and switch". These people rely on customers not questioning the "experts".

With most things, by the time you've got the bike to the dealer, organised alternative transport, spent ages hanging about when it's not quite ready, you could have done the whole lot yourself twice over. And you'll have saved enough to buy any special tools that will help, and of course you'll have them for the next time.
20/8/2017 12:48:46 PM UTC
Henrik said :-
While Ren's decision to drop the service is right, and considerations about being one man less, and under pressure,... is also right,... I still think Sharon got the point very well and precisely pinned out in her posting, yes, well said indeed.

I have posted dusin of times about svindel, lies, work bad done, delivery-times broken, prices like rode-side robbery, and all sorts of other problems when taking my vehicles to a so called "professional", so I will rest my case for now, and post a nice picture from Norway insteadt :-)

21/8/2017 8:56:58 AM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
That's one HELL of a picture Henrik! Is it your image and where in Norwak is this taken?
21/8/2017 1:27:34 PM UTC
Henrik said :-
Hi, Dalsnippa, Norway, 3 days ago, missed it on my first 3-4 visits on the location, but nailed it this time :-)
21/8/2017 2:45:21 PM UTC
Henrik said :-
Yes, own pic, Canon 500D + 18-55mm kit obj + Raynox 5072 fisheye + lens correction in PSE 13
21/8/2017 3:07:52 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
I've had a look on the website. Very impressive, I wonder what that car park is like in winter? According to the site it's closed over winter anyhow.

I'm sure your camera is amazing Henrik...I'm afraid I know nothing. I do own a canon camera but it's a cheap old point n click.
21/8/2017 8:01:16 PM UTC
CrazyFrog said :-
Nobody, but nobody works on my bikes apart from me. I've seen some truly dreadful work from main dealers on both cars and bikes, and indeed have been victim myself of two life threatening problems introduced by main dealers on bikes. That was over 30 years ago, and nobody but me has worked on a bike of mine since. This is one of the reasons I favor air cooled, single cylinder bikes with carbs - because they are simple to self service.

Way back in the 80's I used to work with a guy who bought a brand new Ford Sierra Ghia from the main Ford dealers in Derby. We used to tease him by calling him Victor Meldrew, but he was absolutely right in what he did. Every time he took the car back to the dealer for a service, he marked all the items that should have been changed during the service with an ultraviolet pen, and every single time they missed at least one item. That tells you all you need to know.....
22/8/2017 12:33:48 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
I am cautious about sweeping statements that all main dealers are feckless when it comes to servicing. Think how many cars and motorcycles are out there running just as they should be. For every horror story there may be 100 non-stories where everything worked just as it should do.

For people like myself and Ian and Crazy Frog who have the experience, the confidence and the skills to venture into the internals I agree that doing it yourself is the only way to be sure it's been done to the standards we set ourselves. Also we get to know what WE have messed up so WE can sort it out. Come on guys, you're not going to tell me you've never messed up?

Those who have neither the desire or the skills or perhaps the time to venture into the internals then they have to trust the dealers. While you can watch TV programs about rip off workshops and the like there are millions of vehicles running just fine on our roads.
23/8/2017 10:55:42 AM UTC
CrazyFrog said :-
I do use other people to maintain the wife's car Ren.

I always try to find a local independent who has been personally recommended. In fact the chap we use at the moment is also a member of my motorcycle club and a fellow enthusiast.

If I could find a local independent motorcycle mechanic, I might be tempted to use them for some of the more long winded jobs, but then again I probably wouldn't because I have an overactive 'tight' gland....
23/8/2017 3:11:44 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
There is a chap fairly local to me that has a most excellent reputation although I've never used him myself so far. I have considered asking him to do the engine part of the service and stamping my book. Thing is like any good mechanic he's always booked right up!

I too also suffer from the old tight gland. Thinking about it it's probably the tight gland that motivates most DIY mechanics equally if not more so than the fun with spanners gland.
23/8/2017 3:17:00 PM UTC
pocketpete said :-
I have a local guy who runs his own bike repair shop he will stamp your book for you. He's very pro biker and set up his own shop after working many years for a main dealer. He will give your bike a 15 minute once over after you have done the work yourself, he will go over all the service stuff with you and if you pass his verbal and visual test and all looks ok and you can prove you have used genuine parts he will stamp away. He charges £ 25.

He is Vat registered so meets the criteria for a proper garage. For example the 8000miles service on my bike consists of a oil and filter change. Check all the bolts check brakes tyres chain etc and thats about it.

I have no idea if thats legal or not but he seems pretty confident that you can do the work yourself.

23/8/2017 8:05:44 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
We sit here complaining about dealers and their occasionally dubious services then Pocketpete reminds us just how downright dubious we the consumers are too!
24/8/2017 10:54:10 AM UTC

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