Everybody who has a Vespa doesn’t really want to think about the costs of maintenance. Once you have been able to purchase your dream Vespa all you want to do is have fun and enjoy the ride. But everybody also knows that the maintenance of a vehicle is crucial to increasing its lifespan. You might think with such a heavy purchase price, it is also expensive to maintain a Vespa.
Vespa maintenance isn’t necessarily expensive. If you stick to the periodic maintenance schedule and use genuine parts only, then the costs of maintaining a Vespa aren’t much higher compared to other scooter brands. Vespa is a quality scooter and when taken cared of you can avoid costly repairs.
Over the years I have been able to keep the maintenance of the Vespas to a minimum despite driving every day. I always made sure I cleaned and dried it after every ride and stowed them indoors. I also made sure repairs were done immediately to avoid further damage. Other factors that can increase the maintenance frequency and costs of your Vespa are labor, the type of Vespa (classic or modern), driving style, climate, etc.
Let’s have a closer look at these factors plus what the costs are of the parts that need to be regularly replaced.
What causes high Vespa maintenance?
The milage of the Vespa should increase the frequency of maintenance. It doesn’t however affect the performance of the scooter. If you stick to the routine maintenance schedule then your scooter should be very reliable.
Tires might be the most expensive. If you drive a lot you need to check regularly if the profile of the tire is still sufficient. There are many good tire brands to choose from such as Michelin, Pirelli, and Shinko. The prices range around $85. This is for one tire only. Don’t forget to add the costs of the mechanic if you can not replace the tire yourself.
Other factors that can influence the maintenance costs of your Vespa are:
- Vespa has a steel monocoque frame making the bike more sturdy. However, damaged bodywork repair is very expensive. Especially if you compare it to another scooter that has plastic covers.
- The climate affects the performance of a Vespa too. Those living in colder climates need to perform maintenance regularly. Same for owners living in the tropics.
- Maintenance costs depend on location. I discovered that there are more Vespa manufacturer-authorized workshops in Europe than in the USA. This can influence the costs too.
- Vespa is used for long highway rides. Bad road conditions, such as potholes will affect your bike too.
- Not able to park the Vespa indoors. Parts will need to be checked and lubricated more often.
- A classic Vespa needs more attention when it comes to regular maintenance. If you are able to do a bit more than the basic stuff yourself, it will save you a lot of money.
How much can you expect to pay for your Vespa maintenance?
For some reason, there is an assumption that the maintenance costs of a Vespa are high. That is what I thought too. While the purchase of a Vespa can be much higher compared to other scooters, I discovered that the Vespa engine parts are relatively the same.
The importance of genuine parts
It is essential that only genuine Vespa parts are used. Imitations can lead to damage to the scooter resulting in a decrease in reliability and unnecessary costs. Imitation parts are often half the price of genuine parts. However, don’t be tempted to buy them. While it seems initially cheaper, in the long run, it will cost you so much more. Especially if you have a mechanic who has to do it for you.
Unfortunately, I had to learn it from experience. A well-known seller in town suggested another cheaper brand for a cylinder. He said that it was just as good. As naive as I was then, I thought that was a good deal.
Unfortunately, my Vespa had problems after the first 500km. Again I bought the same imitation cylinder. The Vespa didn’t run smoothly again after the first 500km. Finally, I ordered the Malossi cylinder and as you can expect, the Vespa showed no problems.
So returning back to the assumption that Vespa maintenance is expensive, I discovered that when it comes to genuine parts the purchase price isn’t that much different compared to other popular scooters.
Here is a comparison of prices I made to give an idea of the differences in prices. I looked up some common parts for the Vespa and for three other 125cc scooters.
|Vespa Primavera |
|Buddy 125CC||Honda PCX 125cc||Yamaha XMAX|
|Brake lever front||$7 dollars||$15||$13||$98 |
|Brake pads front||$17||34$||$35||45|
|Air filter||Malossi $9,50||15||$49||$15|
Of course, the labor costs are not included yet and this is what makes maintenance expensive. With everything you need to outsource, you are going to pay per hour. Luckily having a Vespa does have its advantages. The engine and all other essential parts can be easily reached within the Vespa frame.
Replacing and repairing parts in a Vespa is easier than other scooters that have plastic covers. These covers need to be removed first to reach certain areas making it more time-consuming. For a Vespa, all you need to do is lift the seat to get to the engine or place it on a lift table to access areas from underneath.
How to keep maintenance costs low?
There are more things you can do to prevent ending up at the Vespa workshop more than necessary.
1. Stick to the maintenance schedule
As described earlier maintaining your Vespa periodically will result in a trouble-free ride. Even if you don’t make a lot of mileage, you still need to take care of your Vespa. Have your scooter serviced every 6 months.
2. Correct tire pressure
Check tire pressure periodically to ensure longer use. Best to do when the engine has been parked for a while so the tires are still cold.
Make sure you know the correct pressure. If the tire is too hard it can change its form and result in abnormal wear. Also, make sure there are no foreign objects stuck in the profile of your bike.
3. Know the oils
Check if the oil level isn’t too low or too high. Too low will lead to rapid wear of the engine. Too high can get oil into the engine air box. So make sure the levels are correct. If you need to add oil, use oils specifically for scooters only such as Castrol.
Short-distance drivers need to change their oils more regularly than long-distance drivers. When driving short distances water vapor and fuel can get into the oil as they do not have enough time to evaporate.
Two-stroke engines need to add two-cycle oil. Either mix it with the petrol in the gas tank (classic model) or pour it directly into a separate tank located next to the fuel filler inlet (Vespa LX).
4. Clean your Vespa
This is somewhat obvious, but you will be surprised how you tend to ‘forget’ to clean your Vespa. Not only will you be able to admire the stunning paintwork once it is clean, but you will remove sand and other dirt that might get between the bolts and screws. Cleaning will also prevent corrosion.
I always rinsed my Vespa with a hose and then dry it off with a clean cloth. It worked pretty well. But someone gave me another helpful tip. After rinsing off the Vespa, go for a short drive so it can dry off by itself.
5. Driving style
Like a car or even a bicycle, driving style affects the longevity of your bike. Use your brakes wisely. Also, small things like using your brakes to prevent moving on a hill is better than continuous acceleration. This will put less strain on your engine.
6. Stow inside or cover your Vespa
The best place to park your bike overnight is inside. It prevents extra wear and tears from natural elements and dust. This will definitely have a huge impact on the maintenance cost of your Vespa.
If you don’t have the luxury of a garage or indoor parking, try to find a covered parking space. A quality cover is essential when keeping your Vespa outside.
How frequently do Vespas need maintenance?
Each modern Vespa has a different maintenance schedule but generally speaking, the first service should be done by the first 625 miles/1000 km. Once that is done, it should be serviced every 3750 miles /6000 km. If the milage is not met then the Vespa should be serviced 6 months after purchase. Followed by a scheduled check-up every 6 months.
Regular maintenance ensures the reliability of your scooter. It is also important for the driver’s safety. Brakes, lights, suspension bars, tires affect your safety on the road. The Vespa manual provides a ‘scheduled maintenance table’. The manual suggests that owners stick to this table to ensure the validity of their warranty.
When the Vespa is being serviced the engine oil and other lubricants will be replaced. Fasteners will be checked while brakes are adjusted. Every 2 years the brake fluid needs to be changed. Additionally, the level of the engine oil needs to be checked and topped up every 1864 miles/3000 km.
Below you can find an example of a Primavera 4T 125cc Schedule Maintenance Table:
|km x 1000 /|
|Tyre Condition &|
|Oil Filter (mesh)||C||C||C||C||C|
|Electrical System &|
|Cylinder Cooling System||I|
|Brake Fluid Level||I||I||I||I||I||I|
|Hub Oil Level||R||I||R||I||R||I|
I: check & clean, adjust, lubricate or replace if necessary C: clean R: replace A: adjust L: lubricate
Can I do Vespa maintenance myself?
If you have to ask yourself if you can do the maintenance of your Vespa yourself, then probably you shouldn’t. We only did the basics and left the other stuff to the professionals. Unless you are really interested and have the time, it might be something for you. I always ended up with an unfinished repair at the end of the day. It always took me much longer than I expected to repair something.
However, that said you are never too old to learn. Online you can find great tutorials on how to repair or maintain your Vespa. But be careful though. If you don’t have any experience in mechanics then there is a chance you will do more damage than good. Best to learn together with somebody with experience and from there on work on your own Vespa.
Luckily there are a few things a non-skilled owner can easily learn by him or herself. Make sure to use the maintenance section of your Vespa manual to know the exact values etc.
The basic maintenance that you can do yourself:
- Replacing oil, Air, and Fuel filters
- Check oil, fluids, coolant
- check the brake fluid and flush every 2 years
- Lubricate chain drive if fitted
- shaft drive
- tires, inspect before riding
- inspect spark plugs
If you feel confident to do some maintenance yourself, then continue reading the following article on ‘how to maintain your Vespa DIY’