motorcycle mechanicYou have your dream motorcycle, but you’re not sure your current mechanic is the right one to keep your bike in top condition. How can you tell whether you need to find a new mechanic? Unfortunately, we’re not aware of any national certification for motorcycle mechanics like the one automotive mechanics have, but there are a few ways to tell if your guy or gal is competent.

Has he or she taken manufacturer training?

If your mechanic has trained with Harley or Honda, he or she should be a good choice for your Harley or Honda bike. Typically, mechanics who are committed to their careers seek out manufacturer or other specialized training to keep up their skills, and they take new or refresher training regularly. If your mechanic has never taken any, or it’s been 20 years since he or she has, maybe it’s time to look elsewhere.

With that said, motorcycle dealerships don’t always employ the best mechanics. Yes, the dealership is a good place to start when looking for a mechanic, but don’t assume that every dealership mechanic is a good one. In addition, you’ll typically pay more to a dealership than you will to an independent shop or self-employed mechanic.

How much experience does he or she have?

Of course, every seasoned mechanic was a new mechanic at some point. If you choose to work with a less-experienced mechanic, ensure that he or she has access to more experienced mechanics in case of problems.

How professional is your mechanic?

Do you receive estimates (preferably written), and is the final bill approximately the same? When the mechanic actually does the work, he or she may find other issues. When that happens, he or she should contact you for permission to continue with the new work. Communication is a key trait for good mechanics, no matter what they repair.

Are the repairs completed promptly, and do you receive an itemized bill? If not, perhaps it’s time to start looking. Professional mechanics will also show you defective parts and keep your bike as clean as possible.

Does he or she have references and liability insurance?

Any good mechanic should be able to provide references. Liability insurance protects you in case the bike is damaged while being repaired.

Do you like him or her?

If you don’t like your mechanic, take that as a sign and move on. You don’t have to be best friends, but you do need to feel respected as the client. Your mechanic should be open to answering questions and giving you advice about keeping your bike in top mechanical shape. The best mechanics are glad to talk shop with you and believe part of their job is to educate and inform.

As South Carolina motorcycle accident lawyers who ride, we’ve seen our share of good and not-so-good mechanics. Do you have any tips for those who are seeking their perfect mechanic?

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parking restrictionsFor more than three years now, bikers have been prohibited from parking in the city parking garages. The reason for this restriction is so that Charleston can limit any possible motorcycle liabilities. Specifically, the city of Charleston fears that motorcyclists won’t be seen around the sharp corners that garages are so famous for.

Unfortunately, these restrictions limit motorcycle parking options drastically. If you’ve ever tried parking downtown, you know how difficult it can be—especially in busy commercial areas. There are, however, a handful of metered lots located near King Street and Market Street—these lots can be found as black or grey squares on the City of Charleston Parking Guide.

Motorcyclists and motor vehicle drivers, alike, can now use a new system call SmartCard, which enables them to use prepaid cards to pay metered spots.

And a little side note for motorcyclists in Charleston, according to the Municode Section 19-256, the city allows up to 6 motorcycles in each metered spot, so long as all the vehicles are parked within the boundaries of the space.

Have you had issues parking your motorcycle in Charleston?

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