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Frederick Harley says any non Harley oil will void my warranty

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Old 08-27-2009, 01:02 PM
mwisch mwisch is offline
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Thumbs down Frederick Harley says any non Harley oil will void my warranty

I dropped my bike off yesterday at Harley-Davidson of Frederick for the 1000 mile service (apparently my first mistake). Prior to this I had read up on popular oil choices on the forum, looked at the Mobil 1 website and the independent oil survey that was linked in some of the threads. So I stopped at Wal-Mart and picked up 5 quarts of the Mobil 1 15W-50 for $23.

I went to drop the bike off at the dealer, told them I brought my own oil for the crank case only, and immediately the service writer comes back with, uhhhp, can't use it, it'll void your warranty. I asked how so, and he said that if you use anything besides Harley branded oil anywhere in the bike it will void your warranty.

Long story short, we went back and forth for a while, I talked to him, the head service tech and a few other people hanging around the service area, and no one could point out specifically where it says this (I didn't have my manual with me and apparantly it's not something you can find quickly at a dealership ), but all swore up and down that it would void my warranty. They said they would gladly pour it in, but they would put a note in the system saying "warranty voided because customer insisted on using Mobil 1 15W-50". I asked why I had to use Harley brand oils, and was given a range of non specific answers ranging from "because it's for air cooled engines" to basically "because Harley said so". Meanwhile another customer dropping his bike off commented under his breath, "can't believe you're going to pitch a fit over $5 extra a qt". I'm sorry that I'm not so eager to bend over and take it up the @$$ just to have 'Harley' stamped on everything that touches my bike, especially when the superiority of their products (oil in this case) hasn't been proven over other brands and formulations. The popularity of AMSOIL on this forum alone as a strong indicator that it is not. I checked my manual when I got home, and the wording is very vague. The table of oil weights is titled "Recommended Oil", but the following paragraph states that oils with a certain diesel ratings can be used when Harley oil is not available, but you should switch back to Harley brand oil ASAP. There is also a note about not mixing brands of oil (why mention it if it's not allowed? Why say Recommended if it's really Required?). In the warranty section of the manual it states that the warranty is voided if the bike is not operated and maintained according to the user manuals guidlines.

Sorry for the rant, just wondering if anyone else has run into this and wondering if it is even legal to mandate a specific brand of oil, not a specification.
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Old 08-27-2009, 01:05 PM
Airborne350G Airborne350G is offline
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Illegal:

The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act:

It is illegal for any manufacturer to require the exclusive use in the United States of their private label oil to keep their warranty valid. If a manufacturer indicates only their private label brand will satisfy warranty requirements, they are required to do one of two things. Obtain written approval from the Federal Trade Commission that no other product except their private label brand will work (currently no manufacturer has done so) or they must make the oil available to you at no cost.

So if they insist on using HD oil because of the warranty make them give it to you for free. The oil used has to match the specs that HD requires, but a lot of different types of oil meets or exceeds their specs.

Last edited by Airborne350G; 08-27-2009 at 01:08 PM.
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Old 08-27-2009, 01:07 PM
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ken thompson ken thompson is offline
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At $4 a quart I'd venture to say you bought the wrong stuff. The v-twin is $11 everywhere I've looked.
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Old 08-27-2009, 01:09 PM
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I would lose that dealer like a stone in water and run to the nearest reputable dealer in your area. My dealer even has Royal Purple on the display floor and I have used it for years. After this do it yourself, IT'S EASY.
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Old 08-27-2009, 01:09 PM
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Where you using Mobile 1 V-twin 20W-50? https://www.mobiloil.com/USA-English...in_20W-50.aspx

Or Mobile 1 15W-50 car oil? https://www.mobiloil.com/USA-English...1_15W-50_.aspx

I would suggest the M1 V-twin oil...

As far as the oil voiding your warranty. I don't think so... it meets the required standards... I would run away from them, and if you ever have a warranty issue, sounds like you will have to contact HD cause Frederick HD probably won't honor it.
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Old 08-27-2009, 01:21 PM
audettd audettd is offline
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Be afraid..be very afraid...if your dealer is pulling this stuff with you...you don't want to be with them any longer
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Old 08-27-2009, 01:22 PM
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Gunfighter13 Gunfighter13 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ken thompson View Post
At $4 a quart I'd venture to say you bought the wrong stuff. The v-twin is $11 everywhere I've looked.
Mobil 1 V-Twin $6.99 a qt in my area. My Dealer reccomends HD products but also has others including Mobil 1 V-Twin displayed at their parts counter. I like the Mobil 1 V-Twin better than the HD oil but do use the HD branded for the other fluids.
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Old 08-27-2009, 01:22 PM
mwisch mwisch is offline
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I had purchased the 15W-50 car oil, but will look at getting motorcycle specific fluids so it can't be held against me down the line. I am, and have been, planning to do the rest of the services myself after purchasing the 09 Touring Service Manual (need a good bike jack too), but I bought into the 1k mi service should be done by the dealer (which like I said looks like it is also BS). Anyone have one of the Harley Syn bottles to see what specifications it lists?

I will not be going back to them after this, the head service tech seemed like a nice guy, but they are clearly out to make money first and customer service is somewhere much further down the list of priorities. The main reason I pitched a fit was I knew there was no way they could mandate a single brand of oil, and they acted like I was some young idiot for not just buying into it.

If I have to take it in for a warranty issue I guess I'll go back to Annapolis H-D as that's where I purchased it and the staff seemed much more helpful. Just tried to go local first since it's convenient and they are a much smaller dealer.
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Old 08-27-2009, 01:24 PM
Airborne350G Airborne350G is offline
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You have plenty of dealers in the area to choose from. Washington, Patriot, Whitts.... I would scratch them off my list.
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Old 08-27-2009, 01:26 PM
bamorris2 bamorris2 is offline
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Sounds like he wants to use M1 15w50 car oil. I wouldn't suggest that while the bike is still in warranty. While I'm sure the oil will serve you very well, you may have warranty issues should something go wrong... If HD knows that you're using a non-MC oil, and you have engine issues, they may try to avoid paying the warranty claim. Similiarly, M1 may also avoid liability because you used the "wrong" M1 oil for the appliation, meaning that you didn't use their V-Twin oil.

But your dealer is absolutey wrong and an idiot. As pointed out, the Magnuson-Moss act does not allow a manufacturer to void a warranty for failure to use OEM items, unless they provide such items free of charge (which HD sure the heck doesn't!).
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