Dealer parts rant... - Honda Shadow Forums : Shadow Motorcycle Forum

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Old 11-07-2012, 07:52 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Dealer parts rant...

Its been a while since I've bought/attempted to buy any OEM parts from the dealer so I had forgetten what an ordeal it can be these days.

I recently picked up a new to me, 2008 Kawasaki KLR 650. Nice ride, in good shape, but just like any new toy there is always some maintenance/up grades/alterations to do.

The bolts on the exhaust heat shield are known to loosen up over time with these bikes, so naturally the Allen heads tend to get rounded off after repeated tightenings. There is a small Kawasaki dealer not far from my place that I happened to be going by yesterday, so I thought I'd stop in and see if they had the factory bolts in stock.

I walk in the door and the only guy in sight is a parts counter kid, maybe 20 years old.

Kid, "Hi, can I help you?"
gat, "I don't know, lets find out. 2008 Kow KLR 650, dualsport. I need the bolts that hold on the head pipe heat shield. There's two of them."

Kid, "KLR. What's that?"
gat, "It's a dualsport."
Kid, "What's that?"
gat, "Seriously? Really? It's a motorcycle."
Kid, "Oh, OK."

Several minutes worth of computer clicks later....

Kid, "I'm not finding it, KLR you say? I see a KL 650?"
gat, "That's it. They go by both designations, KL 650 E8C or E8F, I think. Some place right by that designation you should see KLR as well."
Kid, "Gee...ya there it is, but I don't know. Let me go find someone."
gat, "Listen, it's not that big of a deal, I'll just get 'em from the hardware store. Thanks"

....and out the door I go.

While working on the bike last night I find some rubber well nuts on the windshield that could use repacement as well as some other fasteners. I get online and find the OEM parts discounted at Partshark.com at a cost of $14 plus $6 shipping. I'm thinking I'll wait until I need some more parts before I make an order to make the shipping cost more worthwhile.

Fast forward to today.

I happen to be near to a very large, brand new LARGE multi-line dealer. Harley, Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Bombardier, Sea Doo, Can Am, motorcycles, boats, quads, side by sides. They sell them all. Huge show room. I thought what the hell, and in I went.

Three young parts counter guys and one old guy. All friendly and eager to help. I ran down my list of needs and what bike they were for and very quickly the parts guy has a list and is asking for my name/phone number/email address, and the computer is spitting out and bill....$27. Cool, OK, a little pricey, but he must have everything in stock.
As I'm digging for some cash, the guy says "We don't stock that, I'll have to order it, be here in 3 to 7 days." Really? I don't think so, and I put my money back in my pocket.

So I said "Listen I obviously want to buy from you or I wouldn't be here. What do you stock?" He says "Brake pads.....and oil." "Really? Well what incentive is there for me to buy from you?" says I.

One of the other counter guys is listening and says "We sell ten brands here, we can't stock all parts for every one." I said "I can appreciate that, but the stuff I'm asking for is common to most of the Kawasaki line over many years. Again, what incentive is there for me to buy from you?" He answers "We'd need a huge warehouse to stock all of those parts." Me, "What do you stock?" The first counter guy says "Brake pads....and oil."

Me, laughing "Thanks guys, have a good day."

What the h3ll happened to parts guys? They used to be familiar with most of the vehicles on the show room floor. There was a time, not that long ago, when I could go in and ask for parts for a 1999 whatever and it was likely they had the parts on the shelf. I understand that they can't stock everything, but common fasteners should be a staple at every dealership.

Neither one of these dealers made even the slightest effort to get/keep my business. The guys behind the counter knew lttile more than how to look up parts on a computer. H3ll, I can do that, order them myself, pay less, AND never even have to leave my house.

No wonder powersports dealers are folding up the way they are, they deserve to be out of business.

Rant off.

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Old 11-08-2012, 04:17 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Yup...... I order most of my parts online.........
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Old 11-08-2012, 04:40 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Yep agreed the dealers never have parts here either and yes they used to stock them but I guess it costs them too much. You seen the price on some of that stuff?? They must all order from the same warehouse now.
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Old 11-08-2012, 06:10 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I can relate to both sides of this little situation. I'm a parts guy at my job, and we sell parts for appliances. To stay in business, we have to be exactly what Gat says we need to be:

-In stock on fast moving(fast breaking) stuff
-Knowledgable (at least a little) on the parts we sell

I can't always tell you how to take it apart and put it back together like everyone wants me to be able to, but I can tell you the most common symptoms on different washers, dryers, ranges, etc, and the fixes (or bypasses) for the issue.
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Old 11-08-2012, 06:38 AM   #5 (permalink)
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My local Honda dealer is the complete opposite. They are Honda and Kawa and have a huge parts department. Sure they don't have everything, you could stump them but they have commonly needed stuff.
But they are a great dealership.
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Old 11-08-2012, 06:47 AM   #6 (permalink)
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+1 with kacealraid damn near impossible to stock the huge amounts of parts available for every thing these days.
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Old 11-08-2012, 07:36 AM   #7 (permalink)
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My last visit to any dealership was simply a meet up spot, I toured the showroom of the Triumph dealership,,not buying, just eying all the pretties. Parts,,,online. Been 3 years or better since I checked out my local honda shop,,sucks,,,thank goodness I live near a decent independent shop.(billski)
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Old 11-08-2012, 08:04 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Well let me tell you about the Harley experience - Harley dealerships typically keep lot's of common parts in stock and depending on the dealer size they keep a lot of uncommon parts in stock.

Example one - I wanted rigid locking saddlebags for my Dyna which is not a popular product and I nearly fell over when they informed me they had it in stock.
Example two - my wife needed a set of these tiny rubber seals about 2 inches in length for her quick release windshield. Yep, they carry them in stock.
Example three - My shifter arm broke and was being held on with a zip tie. Nope - not in stock but the dealership in FT Worth has one AND they are open on Sundays. Good excuse to go for a ride on a Sunday afternoon!

Harley often gets ripped for the merchandise they sell but it's rare to have a negative experience at the parts department.
It's one of the reasons why I have the loyalty I have for HD because when I owned my Hondas, it was frustrating having to order nearly everything AND pay for it up front.
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Old 11-08-2012, 08:15 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I think another reason it's difficult to keep parts in stock is because of the changing variety of things.

On earlier models of appliances (I'm confident bikes are similar in this aspect), there were certain parts that were pretty much "across the board." If you had a whirlpool dryer made in the 90s, they almost all use the same belt, door switch, start switch, etc. Now-a-days? Everything is different. There are machines made in the same year by the same company with COMPLETELY different parts on them. The problem is from the manufacturer these days, too much different stuff that doesn't cross over with other products they make.

IE: Bolts and nuts used to fasten different parts on your motorcycle. I can't think of any reason for them to not have similar fasteners on several machines haha
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Old 11-08-2012, 08:36 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Neither of the two Honda places near me had the Honda Molypaste for greasing splines.
What the hell do their service departments use??
The kid at the counter had never heard of the product.
I bought what they recommended, but as soon as I got in the truck regretted it, and threw it behind the seat. When I got home I ordered the right stuff; it's not that expensive!
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