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Are Problems With Your Ducati Motorcycle Ruining Your Summer Ride?

If you are frustrated by problems with your new Ducati motorcycle, you have options. You are not at the mercy of poor customer service and dealers who deny that the problem even exists. The law protects you.

The Ducati motorcycle is a premium motorcycle with a cult following. Worldwide, there are over 400 Ducati clubs, and numerous events and gatherings, welcoming members of the Ducatisti family. Motorcycle critics and enthusiasts, such as Motorcycle News and Cycle World, give glowing reviews of the power, handling, and styling of the Ducati line-up.   Cycle World routinely ranks a Ducati model in its annual best bikes list – the Ducati Superleggera V4 was named in its ten best bikes for 2020; the Ducati Diavel 1260 S and Ducati V4 R among its ten best bikes for 2019; and the Ducati Panigale V4 S in its ten best bikes for 2018.

Ducati has a reputation for unreliability

However, Ducati lags in sales in the US, and is fighting against years of poor reliability ratings. In a 2015 survey of US motorcycle owners, 33% of Ducati owners reported that their Ducati had a serious problem or required repair before it was even FOUR years old. Some commentators say that Ducati have made a lot of improvements to their motorcycles in recent years, and increased their reliability but Americans who are actually buying and riding the motorcycles are still not satisfied. Riders who choose the iconic Ducati expect a premium experience and instead have been faced with multiple problems, and weeks fighting for warranty repairs and waiting for parts.

What Ducati problems do your lemon lawyers see?

We have seen a recent influx of complaints about Ducati motorcycles. A whole range of problems with Ducati can be found on our Ducati problem vehicles page. Issues that we are seeing recently from new Ducati owners include:

Oil Leaks: The most common problem that we are seeing is oil leaks. Even clients that come in with other problems with their Ducati will also tell us that their motorcycle is leaking oil. This is not an isolated problem. Owners say that their new Ducati leaks oil from a variety of places such as the filter, the rear shock, and the airbox drain. In addition to fixing the leak itself, owners are often faced with additional repairs and expense because the oil has leaked over parts of the bike itself causing damage and staining.

Noise from the cylinder: We are also seeing complaints of noise from the front cylinder which gets worse as the cylinder gets hotter.  This “piston slap” is a problem that is well known among Ducatisti and is discussed throughout owner online forums. Ducati also appears to be aware of this issue, and issued a Technical Service Bulletin advising that the piston and cylinder be replaced. However, many independent repair shops are still not aware of the problem or the repair, and are turning away Ducati owners without completing the recommended repairs. Some Ducati owners even have trouble convincing the repair technicians that there is an unusual noise from the bike.

Electrical issues: Electrical issues are a recurring complaint from Ducati owners. Whether the dashboard is not working or the voltage regulator is failing, the electrical components on the Ducati are causing expensive problems for new owners. Again, we hear that repair shops frequently deny the problem because they cannot replicate it and have not heard of it. This leaves Ducati owners feeling as if they have no options to fix the problems in their new, premium, defective motorcycle.

Will Ducati fix your motorcycle?

Despite being a luxury brand of motorcycle, Ducati has a terrible reputation for customer service which makes it very difficult to get repairs done, particularly under warranty. Customers complain that they cannot get a dealer to handle the problems with their new bike, and they are told to contact the Ducati company. However Ducati corporate are hard to reach, and typically refuse warranty repairs. Numerous owners complain that they cannot get their problem addressed either by their dealer or the company itself, and are left stranded with a problem motorcycle.

A major problem with Ducati aftersales service in the US is the lack of Ducati dealers. As an Italian brand with a small market share, they do not have a big presence in the US. According to the Ducati International website, there are only 9 Ducati locations in the entire country. It is therefore very difficult to get knowledgeable and direct assistance when your new Ducati has problems. While independent repair shops may be able to do repairs, they are often not well informed about the latest TSBs from the manufacturer or the common problems faced by Ducati owners. It also creates another level of red tape to get through in an already unsatisfactory customer care chain when trying to get warranty repairs on your new motorcycle.

There is typically a long wait time for parts when you do manage to get repairs done on your Ducati. The lack of Ducati owners and Ducati dealers in the US means that most parts are not kept in stock locally, and parts have to be shipped from Italy before repairs can be completed. This can mean weeks or even months of your Ducati motorcycle waiting in the shop for parts to arrive and repairs to be completed.

On a premium brand motorcycle, with parts not readily available, and mechanics who are unfamiliar with the bike, repairs are expensive. All motorcycles require repairs and maintenance during their lives but a new motorcycle should not require costly repairs. If a new Ducati motorcycle is defective, Ducati should bear the costs of any repairs. However, some owners have been forced to make expensive repairs out of their own pocket because they cannot convince a dealer that there is a problem or Ducati corporate determines that it is not a warranty repair.

What can you do?

If your new Ducati motorcycle is defective, there are practical and legal steps that you can take. Though it is not necessary to have a lawyer for all of these steps, an experienced lemon law lawyer can make a huge difference in getting the job done and reducing your stress, and many will only charge fees if they are successful.

  1. Gather evidence. Take photos or videos of the problem. Keep a diary or notebook recording when the problem occurs. This will be helpful in explaining and proving the problem to your repair technician and to Ducati.
  2. Check all the recalls and TSBs for your model. Your problem may be addressed by a recall or TSB. Your repair shop may not be up to date on all the recalls and TSBs for your model so it is helpful to bring them to their attention. You should make sure your motorcycle is up to date on all recalls, and that any relevant TSBs are addressed.
  3. See a reputable Ducati dealer. Some dealers have better reputations for customer service than others. Do some research to find a reputable dealer near you or ask your lemon law lawyer who may have a history with these dealers. A good dealer will know the common problems with Ducati models, and will go the extra mile to make sure their bikes are in good shape and their customers are happy.
  4. Keep records of all repairs. If you bring your Ducati motorcycle in for repairs, keep copies of all the repair orders and invoices, including the description of the problem, the work done, the expenses, and the dates the bike was out of service. These will be very important in any negotiation with, or claim against, Ducati.
  5. Ask for warranty repairs. Many repairs to a new motorcycle should be covered by the basic warranty that came with the motorcycle when you bought it. Federal laws protect this. If you paid extra for extended warranty coverage, even more problems should be covered. However, Ducati has a reputation for denying warranty repairs. You should always ask for the repairs to be carried out under warranty but with Ducati, you should be ready for some pushback.
  6. Talk to a lemon law lawyer. Federal and state laws protect owners of new vehicles which are defective. A successful lemon law claim can result in compensation, refund of purchase price, or even a replacement motorcycle for the claimant. Many states allow you to bring a lemon law claim if your vehicle has not been repaired after a reasonable number of attempts (typically 2-3 attempts) or has been in the shop waiting for repairs for a certain time (typically 30 days.) The laws are different in each state, and a lawyer can advise you on your rights in your state, and whether you may have a successful lemon law claim or breach of warranty claim against Ducati.

If you are frustrated by problems with your new Ducati motorcycle, you have options. You are not at the mercy of poor customer service and dealers who deny that the problem even exists. The law protects you.

Our attorneys at Timothy Abeel & Associates have years of experience negotiating with Ducati and other automakers to get results for our clients. And we never charge our clients any fees. Our fees are paid by the auto manufacturers when we get a settlement or award for you. Contact us today to find out more about how our team can help you.

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