Ghost in the machine

On some considerations of buying pre-owned vs. new

Excerpted from a discussion of BMW reliability in the MOA website forum-   “Disappointed and Discouraged in BMW” . . . comment below by Mr. Paul Glaves:

” . . . . This was, in my opinion, clearly a manufacturing defect. Valve heads are absolutely not supposed to fall off the stems. If it happened to my bike I would be angry. But here is the rub. There is a legally binding contractual commitment provided with a BMW motorcycle. It is called the warranty and provides coverage for defects in parts or workmanship for 36,000 miles or three years.

Yes it would be nice if a manufacturer would cover manufacturing defects forever but they don’t. BMW doesn’t. They cover stuff for 3 years or 36,000 miles, whichever occurs first.

This incident, and the dissatisfaction it would cause almost any one of us, should be a cautionary tale for anybody who has a bike that is out of warranty or buys a bike which is out of warranty. There are some totally unquantifiable risks associated with out of warranty bikes and the possibilities of very expensive failures. Virtually any used, out of warranty motorcycle could suffer a mechanical failure where the costs to repair may well exceed the value of the bike. That is just a fact.

So we need to be prepared to write the bike off, sell it for salvage, part it out or otherwise walk away while cutting our losses. That sounds harsh. That is harsh. But it is a possible reality. Folks unable or unwilling to face this risk need an in-warranty bike or an aftermarket insurance policy to cover mechanical breakdowns called an Extended Warranty. “

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My comment . . .      some valid considerations for sure.   Paul, who is well-known amongst the BMW riding community, gives us all a reality check.  As a lot of us are mechanically minded and engineering oriented, we wonder the cause and effect of a breakdown such as this.  The owner (original poster) did not authorize a further teardown of the engine to assess what might have happened.  I know I’d like to know, if in fact, that is what occurred (valve heads separating from stems), why?  What conditions caused this failure to occur?  Something the owner did while the bike was in operation, or a weakened stem at manufacture that just went through too many heat/cool cycles.

So, for those of us sans warranty . . . all we can do is carry on with prescribed maintenance, be informed as to the peculiarities of our respective bikes, and hope the motorcycle gods smile on our local rides and cross-country trips!

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