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Questions to ask when buying a Used Harley-Davidson Motorcycle

Questions to ask when you are buying a Used Harley-Davidson Motorcycle.

Ask Bob. 

We all believe we know what to ask when we are buying something used.  But a little information can save you quite a bit of money and aggravation. 

Recently, we had a gentleman in the dealership, let’s call him Bob.  Bob was looking at a Used Softail.  He commented that he could get that same exact used Harley-Davidson elsewhere. He took the approach that if he was rude, he gets further in life.  You may be correct Bob, even though we don’t agree. 

However, as we explained the work done to the bike, he just yepped.  What is yepped?

He would ask a question and when the answer was being given, he interrupted with yep yep yep.  He then went on to say “yep, every dealer does that work.”  "yep, that's nothing new, everyone does that."  "yep, overpriced."  "yep, they all give you a warranty for free."  

So we got thinking.  What if we had a checklist to offer buyers to bring with them to ask every dealer.  Then Bob wouldn’t have to yep everything.  He could just ask “fill out this checklist on the bike I am looking at” and then he would have his answers. 

For instance,

Does the dealer charge Documentation Fees?  Documentation fees are those things that the dealer adds on after you agree to buy the bike.  A reasonable amount is $100.  Do they charge those?  Ask Bob.  He will say everyone has them.  No Bob, we don’t.

Did the dealer perform a brake flush on both front and rear brakes?  It’s expensive.  It takes time.  And 99% of the customers would never know if it had been done.  Why is it important?  Well, every two years, you should be flushing the brakes.  DOT 4 Brake fluid is caustic.  Meaning, it breaks down and gums up the ABS system.  At Wilkins, with every used Harley-Davidson that is 2 years old or older, we do a brake flush.  Ask Bob.  He will say everyone does that.  No, Bob.  You will need to ask for a copy of the repair order to show that.  A legal document that shows the work was completed. 

Do the tires, brakes, pass state inspection?  Is there a new state inspection sticker on the bike?  Look.  Ask. 

Is the engine oil fresh?  Pull the dipstick.  Is it black or golden brown? 

Do they charge a reconditioning fee on the top of the price of the bike?  What is this?  I don’t know either.  Ask Bob. He seems to know.

Lastly, is there a guarantee or a warranty, included in the price of the bike?  To stand behind a used bike and not call it “as is” is expensive for the dealer.  If they believe in the bike, they have no issue standing behind it.  If they don’t believe in it or it’s not their culture, then they tell you it is an As Is Bike.

What does the Google Reviews say? Does it show lots of upset customers irate that the dealer didn’t stand behind the bikes sold?   

In the end, do your research.  Ask lots of questions.  But if you assume every bike is the same, you’re in for an expensive lesson.  Every used bike is different, which is why it’s important that a dealer does the service work and provides you with a repair order (a legal document, showing the work completed recently).

Good luck!  If you have additional questions, ask for Bob.  Bob?  Are you there?