I took my '07 DL1000 in to a local independent shop for a valve clearance check this week. Sure, I *could* do it myself, I just didn't want to. The good news is, they're almost done, and it will be ready for pickup tomorrow.
The bad news is this: they just called about coolant, and are trying to feed me nonsense.
See, a few months ago, I did a complete coolant flush and replacement. I cleaned out some unidentified green stuff, which may have been pretty old and likely contained silicates, since it had left some sludge in the reservoir. That was in the bike when I bought it used, last October.
What did I replace it with, you ask? Zerex Asian 50/50 premix.
Why that particular coolant? Well, all available info indicated it would be a perfectly fine - possibly even superior - replacement for OEM type coolant. You may know that Zerex Asian is a HOAT formulation, containing no silicates, so you get no silicate deposits. It's an extended life coolant, able to last up to 5 years, supposedly. No problem, right?
You would think so, but no. The shop's owner just tried to tell me that Zerex Asian was an "automotive" coolant and would "degrade" my engine if I kept using it. Not only that, but his mechanic refused to replace any coolant lost in the valve check process (since you have to move the radiator etc.) with the Zerex, because it's not a "motorcycle coolant."
I didn't even argue. I'm tired of arguing with ignorant people. I just don't have the energy any more. When I go to pick up the bike, I'll just smile and nod and get out of there as quickly as possible. And not come back.
But this is ridiculous. This is the second time they've tried to feed me a maintenance myth (the other one was the "jumpstarting from a car battery will blow up your electrical system." Which it didn't, of course). As many of you know, something like Zerex Asian is 100% fine for a Vstrom. There's absolutely nothing special or different about "motorcycle" coolant except that it maybe says "Suzuki" or "motorcycle" on the bottle. It's not like engine oil, where the car stuff won't do due to the friction modifiers.
The exception may be the "Engine Ice" type stuff. I'm not the least bit interested in that stuff though. Sure, it does in fact cool somewhat better, but it's not worth the extra cost, to me.
These guys should know better. I'm fed up with them. They may mean well, but I'm tired of being told bad info. It makes me wonder what other mistaken ideas they're operating under.
I'll be finding a new shop for any future work that I don't feel OK doing myself. Maybe I'll even go to the local Suzuki dealer.
Got any stories of your own, of motorcycle shops pushing myths?
PS: Also feel free to tell me I'm full of crap and that the shop owner is right. I want details though. I did a lot of reading and thinking before I chose Zerex Asian, and I'd really like to know the "secret," if there is one.
Mechanics can be just as prone to being out of touch with current knowledge as doctors can. If it was the 80s or 90s the mechanic would have been right about using a motorcycle specific antifreeze, and I'm sure the mechanics who were wrenching during that era handed down that "no automotive antifreeze" mantra to younger mechanics. Even my old man, who was a mechanic by trade, had some weird ideas about cars ("don't set a battery down on concrete or it'll lose its charge" is one that comes to mind). The local Toyota garage that used to service my Camry insisted that it needed an oil change every 3000 miles, in spite of what the owner's manual said, and would set the service engine soon light for 3000 miles no matter how often I told them not to. Eventually I stopped going to them.
Forums are full of stories about mechanics telling people flat out bullshit, either deliberately in an attempt to cheat them or because their knowledge is out of date. As far as things like coolant goes, I'm sure a shop would much rather sell you a "motorcycle specific" coolant that costs 4 times what you'd pay for a gallon jug of Prestone 50/50 from the local O'Reilly Auto Parts. One of my favorites is when a shop tries to make you think that, if you don't get your bike serviced by them at the suggested maintenance intervals, it'll void your warranty. Jeebus only knows how many people have been suckered by that one.
I've used regular 10W-40 oil in my last three bikes for a total of about 100,000 miles with absolutely no issues.. There are certain kinds of oil you can't use because it contains additives that mess up the clutch, but those oils are marked "energy conserving". And no, I'm not turning this into an oil thread, and I won't mention anything about oil beyond what I just said.