Sorting Out Motorbike Repairs in Vietnam

Vietnam is a country in which motorbikes dominate the roads. Although you may initially be extremely nervous to ride on the streets, once you are confident enough then you will inevitably need motorbike repair and maintenance.

If you rent a motorbike then the company will provide a maintenance and repair service however if you are out of town then you may still have to visit in case of emergencies such as a flat tire or the bike suddenly not starting! 

Many people choose to purchase a motorbike – working out that it is significantly cheaper in the long run (despite the repair bills) so you will need to know when and when to go so that you never get stranded at the side of the road! 

Identifying the Issue

Typically you will go to the motorbike repair shop when your bike either starts making strange noises or suddenly stops! 

If there is a warning – e.g. your bike is having difficulties starting in the morning / making strange grating noises as you go along etc. – then it is best to take a good look to see if there is anything you can see e.g. flat tires, loose cables, or leaking fluids so that you can assist at the motorbike shop by pointing these out. 

Most motorbike repair shop mechanics do not speak any English so be ready with Google Translate with a list of the problems. As Google Translate can give unusual translations it is suggested that you list the problems rather than putting them together in one long paragraph thereby reducing the chance of the translation appearing as gobbledygook! 

Don’t worry if you don’t have data on your phone as even the smallest of repair shops will have wifi which you will be able to use and the mechanic will always have their own smart phone which you can use for Google translate conversations if needed. 

Finding a Repair Shop

The good thing is that no matter where you are in Vietnam there will be a repair shop not too far away. 

There is a distinct difference in the price and quality of repair shops – with many places changing a “foreigner rate “ i.e. something that is 100,000 VND for a local Vietnamese person instantly becomes 350,000 VND for a foreigner. 

As a result, try to research repair shops so that you can find places that are reasonable. Obviously, if your motorbike suddenly gives up on the road then you will have no choice but if you can, then look online for recommended places in your town or city or ask your colleagues. 

All motorbike repair bikes are not the same – some do a great job and really care – whilst others put the wrong parts in (as they are cheaper) which causes great problems down the road! 

It is impossible to name the good ones (as bike shops tend to be one-off establishments rather than chains) however as a general rule the ones that have a number of people working there (rather than one person only) and wear a uniform (usually matching overalls) tend to be more reliable. 

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If it is not an emergency and you are given a very high quote then it is advised that you ask for a second opinion by taking the bike to another place and getting an approximate quote to compare. 

The Repair Process

The good thing about repair shops is that you do not need an appointment – instead, you simply turn up at whatever time is convenient for you. 

Motorbike repair shops generally start work from 7 am – although some start later and close in the evening at about 8 pm (although of course there is variety). They are open seven days a week although are typically busier on Sundays and after 5 p.m. during weekdays. 

When you take your motorbike to the menders and try and communicate what the problem is (as best as you can and to your knowledge) the person will typically take it off for a quick test drive (if the bike is still going) so that they can have a feel for the engine and try to identify any problems. This can seem quite a worrying process the first time you do it as you do not have any receipt etc. and you may worry about them taking it away and never coming back or taking it and changing the parts – but this is just a typical process so don’t overthink it all!

Back at the shop, the mechanic will typically take apart some areas and then within a few minutes come and tell you what they believe the problem is (via Google Translate). They are typically very clear about how much it is going to cost for the spare parts required (as they do not want to buy them and fit them and then you say it is too expensive).

Once you have agreed to the price then depending on the type of bike you have and the size of the repair shop they may send someone off to buy the part or find the part from the back of the shop. 

Repairs typically take place immediately so it is a good idea to ask about the estimated time it will take to complete the repairs so that you know if you have time to go off for coffee or even if you need to just go home and get a grab bike back again later on that day. 

Receipts 

When the motorbike has been repaired and you are going to pay the bill it is very important to get a receipt for the work and the parts. Not all places will automatically give it and you may need to ask. 

The receipt serves as proof of the repair work done on your motorbike. This can be vital if you experience issues shortly after the repair and then need to come back again for the same issue – by showing that you had the repairs from the same shop means that you are still under part warranty. 

If you do decide to sell your motorbike, having a record of repairs and maintenance can significantly increase its resale value- so it is important to get and keep the receipts of work and parts replaced. In a similar way, in case of an accident or theft, having receipts can assist you in filing insurance claims for damaged or stolen parts.

Overall, getting your motorbike mended in Hanoi can be a straightforward process when you know where to go and what to expect. Remember to research and work on recommendations as much as possible and get evidence in the form of receipts and all too soon you will find that your motorbike is back on the road in top condition.

Author

Stephanie C. Mills is an innovative writer with a keen eye for detail. Having studied languages – through a degree in English as well as a year's focus on English as an additional language as part of an educational Master’s degree, she has an in-depth understanding of the need for flow. Her writings cover a wide range of perspectives from Christian writing to academic focus. Her speciality is academic writing and she has worked as both a textbook writer as well as an examination writer. In addition to writing, she has worked with proofreading the work of others, ensuring that the grammar is correct and that the language flows naturally.

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Author Details
Stephanie C. Mills is an innovative writer with a keen eye for detail. Having studied languages – through a degree in English as well as a year's focus on English as an additional language as part of an educational Master’s degree, she has an in-depth understanding of the need for flow. Her writings cover a wide range of perspectives from Christian writing to academic focus. Her speciality is academic writing and she has worked as both a textbook writer as well as an examination writer. In addition to writing, she has worked with proofreading the work of others, ensuring that the grammar is correct and that the language flows naturally.