Scooter Repair

So you buy a scooter and something breaks. Who is going to fix it? Well, if you've bough in person from a Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha, Vespa or similar Japanese/Italian scooter dealer, they will. They'll have access to parts, shop manuals and they will have mechanics trained to fix your model of scooter. All you have to do is pay them!

But what if you have bought a Chinese Scooter via mail order (off the web or eBay)? Well, there's no dealer to fall back on. Even if whoever you bought your scooter from is more than an importer, they're likely in another state and shipping scooters back and forth across the country would be very expensive. So what do you do?

You can try contacting local motorcycle (or better still, scooter) repair shops, but many of them won't be very enthusiastic about working on a Chinese Scooter. First they won't have any sort of shop manual. Second they won't have easy access to spare parts and third, they really don't want to take a chance on fixing what's wrong only to get blamed for something else that breaks a week later. Some may work on your scooter, but it's certainly not a sure bet.

Chinese Scooters GY^ engine and Transmission
GY6 150cc engine and transmission as used in many Chinese scooters

You might also get some help from a lawn mower repair shop. They are used to working on small engines and the engine in a scooter isn't all that different from the engine in a lawn mower. You can also try snowmobile and ATV repair shops. If you're lucky you may find one willing to try their hand at Chinese Scooter repair.

scooter CVT belt
CVT (transmission) belt. Price ~ $40. Belt life anywhere from 2500 to 10,000 miles

If all else fails, it's up to you, which is why it's a good idea to have at least some mechanical aptitude and experience if you are a Chinese Scooter owner. There are several websites which sell spare parts and you can find quite a lot of repair and relacement items listed on eBay (see the section here on Scooter Parts).

The major difficulty is usually in figuring out exactly what you have, so you know which spare part to order. Not everything will be in stock of course, so you may be waiting several weeks for a part. Having a Chinese Scooter as your only means of transport probably isn't a great idea. It's not a bad idea to keep a few spares (such as a spare spark plug and CVT belt) on hand, just in case you need them (and eventually, you will). It's a good idea to remove the CVT cover on your new scooter and read the number on the belt BEFORE you need to change it. Belt sizes vary, even on the same nominal scooter "model" and by the time it fails, the size markings may have worn off! The belt size is usually three numbers such as "835-20-30". This would mean the belt is 835mm long, 20mm wide and has a cross section with a 30° bevel angle.

The best way to avoid needing repairs is regular maintenance (see Scooter maintenance), which means changing the oil regularly, changing the fuel filter and spark plug at the proper intervals, checking the CVT belt and air filter, checking the tires and going around the scooter at least once a month and making sure that all the bolts are tight (especially the bolts holding the muffler on). Use the recommended grade of gas (usually higher than 90 octane for most chinese scooters) and add fuel stabilizer if the scooter isn't going to be driven for a while.

Though you won't find individual repair manuals for every different Chinese scooter, they are all pretty similar and many use the same engines and transmission parts.. There are a couple of books which may help and they are listed on the left. The Haynes guide is probably the best general reference for the repair of "generic" (i.e. Chinese) scooters. The "Complete Idiot's Guide to Motor Scooters" is pretty basic and really doesn't give much detailed information, though it's not a bad introduction to scooters if you really know nothing at all about them.

Additional Resources