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Discussion Starter #1
I purchased a used Vulcan 500 LTD (from a Honda dealer no less), and I was wondering about the consensus on prepaid service plans. I'm not 100% sure what the agreement covers, but I wonder whether to purchase it or not.

1 year costs $599, 2 years is $799, and it is transferable to a new owner. Seems a steep price to pay for oil changes and chain lube, but I'm not a wrench and don't have much interest in doing my own maintenance.

My gut feeling is to simply pay for oil changes and scheduled maintenance as it comes along. Being a new rider, I don't even know how much I will ride. The service technician said that 4K is the break-even point.

Thoughts?
 

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If you think you'll ride more than 4k, and you don't want to do the work yourself, then it can be a good deal. I'd just make sure the paperwork is pretty clear on how much you want to use. Remember- the house always wins, they intend to make money off of you. So if you think you might ride like 15-20k and find out the service plan only covers three oil changes and chain lubes in two years, you'll be spending some money! Of course some of those things can be a gamble that you can win. Sometimes they'll price it at a level based on the 'average' user, so they can entice riders to buy when they'll end up using way less than they pay for it, at the cost of a handful of guys who actually ride enough for it to be a good deal. So you COULD be on that end that ends up winning, versus all of those guys who barely ride, just use their bikes as garage ornaments.

Although, I'm having a REALLY hard time believing 4,000 miles is the break even point. That's basically one service, right? I mean the manuals service intervals range from 5k-7,500 miles (with some at 8 or 12 or 15k). So, $600 for ONE service to break even? I dunno... Now, again, if you ride alot, the service plan includes pricey things like valve adjustments and you have no desire to do that on your own- it's the way to go.. it's ALL in the fine print.

Also, are you POSITIVE you don't want to do your own maintenance? Oil changes are a piece of cake, once you've done it once or twice it's a 20 minute job and most of that is spent watching oil drain out of the engine. I ride 15-20k a year, and my annual maintenance is significantly less than $600/yr. I run full synthetic, motorcycle-specific oil and a premium filter. Under $50 an oil change, and $50 an oil change is pricey as those things go! So, every 5k I spend $50, that means each year I'm at $150-$200. It will take me 3 years at 20,000 miles a year to spend as much money as 4,000 miles @ 1 year at that dealer price. In other words, $600 can maintain by bike (oil changes anyway) for 60,000 miles. If you add coolant flushes and brake fluid changes, a thing I do annually that doesn't cost very much, you are STILL in excess of 40-50k on that same $600 price tag if you do it yourself.

Just my $0.02!
 

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Even if you pay a shop to do maintenance, I don't think you'll spend any where near that much. And like Romans said, oil changes, chain and cable lube, and coolant are pretty easy on this bike. In my opinion, this is only a good deal for the dealer. I would pass.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks

OK, I think I decided.....I'm not going to do it. I assume dealers are dealers whether they sell bikes or cars or boats. I would NEVER pay the dealer to change the oil in my car. WAAAAAY too expensive (and I have to wait a couple of hours).

Romans5.8, actually, I think I might get real used to changing my own oil. Valve adjustments might not be my thing, but I think I can do oil. Especially if it's less than half the dealer price.

Thanks for the thoughts. You save me at least $500.00 in unnecessary charges.

;)
 

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OK, I think I decided.....I'm not going to do it. I assume dealers are dealers whether they sell bikes or cars or boats. I would NEVER pay the dealer to change the oil in my car. WAAAAAY too expensive (and I have to wait a couple of hours).

Romans5.8, actually, I think I might get real used to changing my own oil. Valve adjustments might not be my thing, but I think I can do oil. Especially if it's less than half the dealer price.

Thanks for the thoughts. You save me at least $500.00 in unnecessary charges.

;)
Nothing wrong with getting the dealer to do the more advanced stuff, but the oil changes are a cakewalk.
 

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I purchased the service plan when I bought my 900, four years ago. At the time I didn't want to do the maintenance on my bike either. It payed for "so many " oil changes, valve adjustments, etc, etc. I ended up using all the oil changes up in 2 years instead of 4 because I put on lots more miles than I thought I would. It did pay for the valve adjustment. But truly that's about it. Other than the basic service every 3000 miles.

I would not purchase it again. I learned a couple of things from my experience. 1. Oil changes a really easy and cheap to do on your own. 2. Don't buy a bike that needs to have the valves adjusted manually. That's because there's more work to it than I want to do.

BTW, Congrats on your new ride!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Just wanted to say thanks for the encouragement. Changed the oil last weekend, adjusted the chain, lubed everything. Really glad I didn't buy that service package.
 

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the local honda shop near me does oil changes for $29.99 + tax. I can't beat that even if I do it myself.
 

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the local honda shop near me does oil changes for $29.99 + tax. I can't beat that even if I do it myself.
Yikes, not bad!

The question is, how does their pricing schedule change for synthetics? I about wanna pull my hair out when I see synthetic oil changes costing significantly more than conventional. The oil costs more, sure. But the labor is IDENTICAL. I saw a sign at the local quick-lube (car) place advertising $25 conventional and $65 synthetic. It is not anywhere NEAR $40 more, even retail, for synthetic oil of the same brand as conventional!
 

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No idea what the price is for synthetic, but for me right now...oil is oil.
 

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Yikes, not bad!

The question is, how does their pricing schedule change for synthetics? I about wanna pull my hair out when I see synthetic oil changes costing significantly more than conventional. The oil costs more, sure. But the labor is IDENTICAL. I saw a sign at the local quick-lube (car) place advertising $25 conventional and $65 synthetic. It is not anywhere NEAR $40 more, even retail, for synthetic oil of the same brand as conventional!
In defense of the quick-lube place (unless it was Jiffy Lube, screw them), the $25.00 conventional service was likely what we call a LOF-lube, oil, filter and grease any applicable zerks, and you're done. Sometimes a full service of however many "points" (15-point, 21-point, w/e, most places check about the same number of things, just depends on whether they count each tire's pressure as an individual "point") will be on some type of special for a similar price.

But the markup on synthetic services are usually quite high. It used to be synthetic oil cost 4 times as much as conventional, and while the price of both has climbed in the last 10 years, synthetic's only gone up a dollar or 2 a quart making -maybe- 25-30% increase, while conventional oil has doubled or tripled in cost. Why so much?

Well, first off is the perceived value of the service: synthetic=better. We know we can get your money for it because you'll believe it's better. That's most of it. But there is a second, less dastardly reason: many places do not keep any type of "bulk" synthetic in stock, either in tanks or in bag-in-box applications. This creates increased cost of both the merchandise and waste handling having to use quart-bottled oil.

The cheaper the synthetic service, the more likely the provider has some type of bulk application.

A trick to remember is most places will only charge you for their "standard" oil change if you bring your own oil. Grab a 5-qt jug of your favorite synthetic at Wally World and you can save yourself about $10 on someone else doing your service almost anywhere. And if they won't play ball, move on up the street, cuz someone else will.
 

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In defense of the quick-lube place (unless it was Jiffy Lube, screw them), the $25.00 conventional service was likely what we call a LOF-lube, oil, filter and grease any applicable zerks, and you're done. Sometimes a full service of however many "points" (15-point, 21-point, w/e, most places check about the same number of things, just depends on whether they count each tire's pressure as an individual "point") will be on some type of special for a similar price.

But the markup on synthetic services are usually quite high. It used to be synthetic oil cost 4 times as much as conventional, and while the price of both has climbed in the last 10 years, synthetic's only gone up a dollar or 2 a quart making -maybe- 25-30% increase, while conventional oil has doubled or tripled in cost. Why so much?

Well, first off is the perceived value of the service: synthetic=better. We know we can get your money for it because you'll believe it's better. That's most of it. But there is a second, less dastardly reason: many places do not keep any type of "bulk" synthetic in stock, either in tanks or in bag-in-box applications. This creates increased cost of both the merchandise and waste handling having to use quart-bottled oil.

The cheaper the synthetic service, the more likely the provider has some type of bulk application.

A trick to remember is most places will only charge you for their "standard" oil change if you bring your own oil. Grab a 5-qt jug of your favorite synthetic at Wally World and you can save yourself about $10 on someone else doing your service almost anywhere. And if they won't play ball, move on up the street, cuz someone else will.
I've done that in the past, when I didn't feel like getting dirty! But usually I just change it myself. In the time it takes me just to drive to one of those places I can be done. Lots of places (even wally-world) will take the old oil for free, so I'll just drop it off when I drive by it. I keep a big jug specifically made for waste oil. Can fit a couple car and bike oil changes in there! Then just take it to wally world!
 
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