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Should motorcycle warranties be longer?

Yamaha cruisers have five-year warranties mature flashes
Yamaha cruisers have five-year warranties

While the car industry has up to seven-year warranties, the bulk of the motorcycle industry offers only two-year warranties.

Isn’t it about time motorcyclists were offered the same sort of cover as car drivers?

You may say that riders are tougher on their bikes than most car drivers, but Yamaha offers a five-year warranty on its Star cruisers and Victory has offered a five-year warranty for a limited period to move floor stock, so it can be done.

Yamaha Motor Australia spokesman Sean Goldhawk says they can offer a long warranty because their warranty returns on Star cruisers are “among the lowest in the industry”.

“And Star owners have a longer purchase interval than other customers, so a long warranty is important to them,” he says.

“Our warranties also cover genuine accessories if fitted at time of purchase which is another plus for Star owners.”

Victory Motorcycles and Indian Motorcycle Australia occasionally run promotional campaigns that involve warranty extensions and roadside assistance up to five years.

demo ride warranties
Victory and Indian owners can buy an extended warranty

Warranties can also vary according to the type of bike. Dirt bikes, for example, cop a harder time from owners, so some offer a three-month, parts-only warranty.

While it would be good to get a longer warranty on a motorcycle, the customer should be careful to read the manufacturer’s warranty in full because not all are the same.

It will usually not cover service items that need replacing due to general wear and tear such as brake pads, chains and sprockets.

Customers should also be aware that their warranty may be voided if they modify their bike from the manufacturer’s original specification or use it for training, hire, competition or racing.

There is also an onus on the customer to have the bike serviced at correct intervals and to alert the dealer as soon as a problem arises, rather than waiting until a little noise becomes a major problem.

You can have your bike serviced by a qualified mechanic who is not part of the manufacturer’s franchise network, but warranties may be voided if they use non-factory parts or parts that are not equal to manufacturer specification.

Motorcycle Checklist
Make sure you mechanic uses the right parts

The purpose of a warranty is to protect consumers against loss due to components that fail within an unreasonable period of time, or defects in vehicle assembly.

It has nothing to do with normal wear and tear, unless there is a fault with a component within a reasonable lifespan.

Manufacturers usually agree to replace or repair faulty parts at no cost to the owner. However, some don’t cover labour costs.

Warranty periods may also vary for the engine, and various parts such as tyres, battery, light bulbs, etc.

You can buy extended warranties from some manufacturers or insurance organisations.

However, you should think first about how long you want to keep the bike.

Also, check whether the warranty can be passed on to the next owner. If it can, that’s a good selling point.

Manufacturer roadside assistance programs are becoming popular, but check whether you are paying for something that is already offered by your automobile association membership (RACV, NRMA, RACQ, etc).

If not, it may be cheaper to add that to your club membership rather than buying a separate assistance program from the manufacturer.

Some roadside assistance packages offer a host of benefits that may not be related to the bike such as travel and insurance assistance and even medical advice.

Ensure you read the contract carefully and don’t pay for anything you think you may never need.

  1. motorcycles are treated as a recreational machine by
    many riders .So manufacturers are quite often happy
    to fix only those that break in the short warranty period
    rather than recall major [non life threatening] faults
    Extended warranties would at the very least improve
    quality control

  2. A manufacturer offering a long warranty is a sign that they believe in the quality of their products. Yamaha could off five years on almost all their bikes and not loose money.

  3. You need to understand that warranties are not anything to do with quality etc, it is purely a marketing tool. Sure the vehicle needs to be durable to last the warranty period, but you will find that the distributors have worked out what the cost of covering the bike for the period is and if that is viable to extend that period, then that is the warranty the offer. If that then translates into sales then it’s a winner for them. They will be able to claim warranty cost from the factory for a certain period – beyond that they have to wear it them selves.
    Don’t ever confuse the durability of something with the warranty period on offer – they rarely correlate.

  4. What a load of rubbish, warranties are not longer because customers do not demand it. The same happened in the motor industry many years ago due to competition – now look at the dealers warranties – they are basically twice what they once were for the ordinary brands – and cars are just as poorly built! A $45,000 touring bike (which sees easier roads than most cars) should have a much longer warranty than a $17,000 car. Besides, there is less to a bike than a car…
    I think the problem is that the quality of the top brand motorbikes (please exclude the copy brands) are so damn good that they don’t need a bigger warranty. All my bikes have kept on going with only a few warranty claims which were resolved without question by the dealer/maker (switch block, engine output shaft seal failure (you know who you are!)). Even bikes that aren’t looked after as well as most do, they seem to keep on going.

  5. I do agree there should be a much longer warranty on bikes. Bikes used to be in my fathers day and age, for the poor, not any longer. We pay a premium and get shafted with the warranty and on top of this fact, the bike needs to be serviced more regularly AND costs more to service. So it is hardly like they are not getting a huge return on top of this fact.

    Needs to change in my opinion. A 12 month warranty is the same as I get on a $350 laptop, yet I’m spending anywhere from $15k – $30k for a motorbike, it seems completely unacceptable to get the same warranty period in this regard.

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