Unexpected repairs are the bane of a motorcyclist’s life. No, we’re not talking about changing your tyres or brakes. Those are maintenance costs that you should have planned for. What we’re talking about here is when your chain snaps or you find out that rust has formed on the inside of your old metal fuel tank (something riders of older bikes will be all too familiar with.)
If you’re lucky, this type of problem will be spotted before it becomes a major issue. Even so, when your mechanic tells you they found something wrong with your bike, all you can think of is how much the repair bill is going to be. Fortunately, there are ways to deal with these unwanted surprises, but our first piece of advice is all about being prepared.
Expect the unexpected
It’s a great piece of advice that most folks will offer after something bad has happened. ‘You should have planned for this,’ ‘you’ll be ready for it next time’; you know what we’re talking about. But as annoying as hearing such advice is, there’s a whole lot of truth in those words.
Ideally, you should have a rainy day fund where you save money in case of emergency. But we don’t want you to touch that. Instead, you should have a repairs fund set up somewhere. Use a cookie jar in the kitchen or an old bank account that you don’t use much. Whatever it is, you need to put a small amount in there every single time you get paid. It can be just a few dollars each time, but over the space of a year that fund will build up so when any emergency repairs are required, you have some cash to foot the bill.
Ask your mechanic about credit terms
Of course, your mechanic needs to pay his bills too, but he may be able to arrange credit with your parts supplier. This way you get new parts for your bike, and you only need to pay the mechanic for his labor costs. It’s not very often that parts suppliers will agree to this, but it’s worth asking about.
Put the repairs on credit
Credit cards are there for convenience, and yes, you guessed it, in times of emergencies. While it might hurt to put a thousand dollars on your card just like that, it’s worth it to get back on the road. But not everyone has a plastic “out of jail card”.
If you don’t have a credit card, you can always opt for a short term loan. The great thing about this option is that even if your credit score has taken a battering in recent years, it’s easy enough to get one approved. Yes, the interest rate is high but at least this way, you’re more likely to get rid of that bill as soon as possible. With a credit card, the temptation to pay the minimum each time is just too much.
Look, we know it’s tough to leave your mechanic especially if they do great work, but there’s no harm in shopping around for a better deal. Get a price from your mechanic and then call around. It could be that the mechanic in the next town does great work but is a bit cheaper than your guy. It could be worth loading the bike up on a truck and driving a few miles out of town to get the work done cheaper. You may even find that you can get cheaper parts online but take care not to get scammed.
Whatever option you decide on, remember this; never cut corners when it comes to repairs. You can shop around for cheaper parts and look for a mechanic that doesn’t charge quite so much, but never compromise on your safety. Secondhand parts should be in good shape and preferably reconditioned while your mechanic should have a solid reputation for doing good work. Remember, while you want to save some money, it’s all about staying safe on the road.
(Photo by zedi10)