ScooterFile Guide: New Scooter Warranties

One of the biggest draws to buying a new scooter as opposed to a used scooter is that factory warranty. For the first year or two, you can know that if something goes wrong mechanically, you’re not on the hook for it. Question is, which scooter manufacturers offer the best warranty? Which offer roadside assistance? We’ve broken it down for you here in our ScooterFile Guide to the New Scooter Warranties.

Let’s start with the basics. Who’s offering what?

Comparison: New Scooter Warranties as of 2014

Manufacturer Warranty Coverage Roadside Assistance?
Aprilia 2 Years, Unlimited Mileage Free for 1 Year
Bintelli 1 Year Tire-to-Tire, 2 Years Frame/Battery Free for 1 Year
BMW 3 Years, 36,000 Miles $99/year
Genuine Scooter Company 2 Years, Unlimited Mileage Free for 2 Years
Honda 1 Year, Unlimited Mileage None
Kymco 2 Years, Unlimited Mileage None
Lance 2 Years, Unlimited Mileage None
Piaggio 2 Years, Unlimited Mileage Free for 1 Year
Suzuki 1 Year, Unlimited Mileage None
SYM 2 Years, Unlimited Mileage None
Vectrix 2 Years, Unlimited Mileage None
Vespa 2 Years, Unlimited Mileage Free for 1 Year
Yamaha 1 Year, Unlimited Mileage None

What does my warranty cover?

The specifics vary from OEM to OEM, but in general the factory warranty covers parts and labor for any mechanical defect. For example, if the high/low headlight switch goes out at random, the cost of the new switch and the cost of the labor to install it are covered by the manufacturer while you’re still under warranty.

What does my warranty not cover?

Your warranty won’t cover wear-out parts like tires, brake pads, clutches and other items that simply get used up over time. Your warranty also doesn’t cover things that get broken or damaged by accident. If your scooter has a cracked body panel when you first pick it up, that would likely get covered under warranty. If your scooter gets a cracked body panel because someone backed into it with their car, you’re on your own. That’s what insurance is for.

Is it possible to void my warranty?

Yes and no. In general you cannot void the warranty in its entirety, but read your warranty information because this varies from OEM to OEM. BMW, for example, voids your entire warranty if your scooter participates in any sort of “competitive event” — i/e a race. Otherwise, warranty coverage applies to specific components. If you, for example, swap out the variator roller weights in your scooter, and a month later your headlight switch goes out, those two things aren’t related. Your warranty should cover the switch. However, if a month later you lose a drive belt, your having modified the variator will likely disqualify you for getting a new belt under warranty.

The important thing is to be sure to read your warranty information in its entirety so that you know what you need to do to stay compliant. For example, the SYM warranty requires that all scheduled maintenance be done and on time in order for them to pay for any defects. What does this mean? It means that during your warranty period, you should have your dealer perform all the scheduled maintenance on your scooter. This applies to all scooters, not just SYM. It’s just a good idea. This ensures there’s a record of everything being done to your scooter and when. That way if you do have an expensive, catastrophic mechanical failure under warranty, there’s no question that the OEM should cover it. Plus, your dealer will already know your scooter and know what has and hasn’t been done to it.

In the end, what does and does not get covered under warranty is a decision made between your dealer and the manufacturer. Of the two, your dealer has the biggest influence. They’re the ones on the ground there with your scooter, not the OEM. The manufacturer doesn’t often send out adjustors like an insurance company, so the key to dealing with warranty issues is mostly you working it out with your dealer.

How to deal with your dealer

All warranty work is done by your dealer, and then their part and labor expenses are reimbursed by the manufacturer. This is why you can’t get free warranty work done at your local non-dealer mechanic. There has to be a relationship with the OEM or they won’t get paid. If they can’t get paid by the OEM, they’re going to charge you instead. Follow these basic tips when dealing with your dealer:

  • • Be nice and be patient. You getting something for free is actually at their discretion. Don’t act entitled. Help them like you.
  • • Give them all the necessary information about the problem you’re having.
  • • Don’t over-share. If your switch has stopped working, don’t talk about the variator weights. Don’t be dishonest, but keep it relevant.
  • • Remember, the dealer wants to get paid for service work. The manufacturer will pay them for warranty work on your scooter, so there’s an incentive there for them to help you. That goes back to tip #1. Help them help you by being a good, easy-to-deal-with customer.

How much should I worry about Roadside Assistance?

That depends entirely on your situation. Do you ever really venture out of town? Does your local dealer offer a pick-up service? Do you know how to change your own tires on your Stella? Does your brother-in-law have a truck? If your scooter doesn’t come with Roadside Assistance included, the best thing to do is weigh the cost of a Roadside Assistance program against the likelihood of you getting towed. Do you pay $100 a year so you have somebody you can call like AAA or similar? Or do you set aside $250 and just call a tow if and when you need it? That’s up to you and your budget. Do some research and make sure the service you choose actually covers two-wheelers. They don’t all. AAA, for example, only covers two-wheelers in its higher tier coverage. Also, get in touch with your insurance agent. Some companies offer roadside assistance, but again, make sure it covers two-wheelers. State Farm’s roadside assistance reimbursement, for example, does not cover two-wheelers.

In the end, the warranty is the item most likely to save you from the most expense. A tow might cost a couple hundred dollars, but an engine failure could cost you several thousand. Keep in mind that you can add Roadside Assistance to any scooter for around $100/year through 3rd party services like AAA. So we highly recommend that you favor warranty over roadside if, for you, that’s a primary decision criteria.

For the long haul

As soon as they roll off the lot, all new scooters become used scooters. Things like warranty and roadside assistance definitely help keep cost of ownership lower during those early years, but unless you’re planning to trade in and buy a new scooter every 1-2 years, at some point you’re going to run out of warranty coverage. Don’t panic. In the long run, so long as you keep up with regular maintenance, any scooter from a reputable manufacturer should give you thousands of miles of reliable service. Make that investment in maintenance, and your lack of warranty shouldn’t be an issue at all.

Photo Credit: Flickr
Sources: The specific warranty information shared in this article applies only to scooters sold in the United States and was taken from the official manufacturers’s websites. The information is current as of the date this story was originally posted. All other content is the editorial opinion of the author.

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