Four ways to prepare your bike for the repair shop

Graves Motorsports race bikes

A little extra care goes a long way.

More often than not, when you take your bike to your local shop, you either have a problem or need maintenance, right? What you don’t realize is that taking no steps to prepare for the visit to your local mechanic actually costs you and your mechanic more money and time than necessary. Want your bike back a little sooner? Want to avoid hearing your mechanic grumble under his or her breath when you drop off your bike? Want to avoid accruing an extraneous bill? Here are just a few small things you can do to make your next visit to the shop a little more quick and pleasant for all involved.

1. Wash your bike before you drop it off.

Cleaning your bike isn’t so much a matter of necessity as it is courtesy. There is nothing worse than doing work on a dirty bike because it tells the mechanic that the owner doesn’t take good care of their machine and there is more than likely a hidden problem or two that will pop up once the plastics have been removed. Not only that, but this gives you one last glance at your bike and the chance to catch any missing hardware or any other problems you may have forgot about like a nail in your tire or a loose clutch lever. It’s better to catch it the first time then have to go back a second time.

2. Drop off your bike with an empty tank.

I’m not going to lie. Removing a fuel tank full of gas is real pain in the ass, especially if you’re working on the bike by yourself. Not only does it make removal and reinstallation  cumbersome, but it increases the chances of the tank getting scratched or damaged as the mechanic fumbles to put it back into the place without pinching any hoses, wires or hitting the frame. So please, avoid the last gas stop if you plan to take your bike in.

3. Be honest about any work you’ve done to your bike up front.

I know it’s embarrassing to confess to stripping an oil drain bolt or screwing up the wiring on an integrator kit. But if you don’t let the mechanic know what you did, it’s going to take them more time to figure out what the hell the problem is. If you want your bike sooner rather than later, spare the mechanic the wild goose chase and confess your FUBAR moves. Don’t worry. They’ll only make fun of you for a few minutes, but don’t let your sensitivity get in the way of having your wheels back in time for the weekend.

4. Answer your damn phone.

Say you’ve dropped off your bike because your fork seals are leaking. Little did you realize the oil had drained into your brake pads which now need to be replaced. But before the mechanic can change out the pads, they have to call you for permission to replace them. If you don’t answer, your bike gets moved to the back of the line and what could have been a one-hour job now will take a day or two. Keep your phone close so your mechanic can notify you of any issues. At work? Give them an email address or some other means of contact info so you can both get on with your day without the hassle of phone tag.