How To Avoid High Costs in Servicing Your SCUBA Regulator
The following article is provided courtesy of Ben Davison, Undercurrent Magazine
Not long ago, one of our readers told me he had paid nearly $100 to have both stages of his regulator and his octopus serviced to keep up the warranty. Another subscriber, Jeff Reed (Naperville, IL) tells us he was shocked when the price for servicing two sets for the annual warranty checkup was $130. “The manufacturer covers the cost of the parts but if they didn’t, I would just buy inexpensive regulators more frequently and toss them.”
It seems that what Reed paid, $65 per regulator and octopus, is about average. Even if parts are covered by warranty, labor is most of the bill. Online retailer LeisurePro charges $49.95 for labor. OnlineScuba.com, based in Las Vegas, charges between $60 to $100, plus parts. (Customers who buy gear from its website get the first year’s service free, including labor.) Harbor Dive Shop in Sausalito, CA, charges $15 for inspections and minor adjustments, $35 to overhaul the first stage, $20 to overhaul the second stage, plus parts. Scuba Works in Jupiter, FL, charges $30 to inspect a first-stage, $25 for the second stage. AirTech in Raleigh, NC, services regulators for consumers mailing equipment directly (it guarantees a 14-day service turnaround). The charge is $30 per stage, and parts are retail price.
If you have a more sophisticated – – and expensive – – regulator, it requires more parts, adding to the cost. “Parts for the first and second stage of a Sherwood regulator are $12 total,” says Brett Holmes, a repair technician for LeisurePro. “Compare that to a ScubaPro or Apeks regulator, where you’re looking at $15 to $20 per stage. Toss in an octopus at $15 to $20, and it adds up.” So you could easily be looking at a $100-plus bill.
Some dive shops take it too far, which Bret Gilliam, former Uwatec CEO and frequent Undercurrent contributor, told us from recent experience. “I use an Atomic Aquatics titanium regulator that I return directly to Atomic for servicing every three to five years. When I took it to the local dealer and told them to do a regular service and replace the diaphragm cover, the bill was over $300. This regulator is $1,200 retail, so the service was 25 percent of the total price I paid. My jaw nearly dropped to the floor, but that didn’t prompt the staff to explain the cost. They did tell me they were giving me a discount because I was an industry pro, but God knows what they charge a regular diver. When I called Atomic, they said it was unconscionable, and the price should have been closer to $100.”
Watch out for the dive shop that gives you a bad time if you bought your regulator elsewhere. Jason Caldwell (Norfolk, VA) bought his Mares regulator online at Joe Diver America, after verifying it was an authorized dealer. At the one-year anniversary, his wife took it to his local dive shop, Divers Unlimited, for the checkup. “She was told the parts would be covered and I would just be charged for labor. When I went to pick up my equipment, I was charged $42 for parts. The reply was essentially: ‘You didn’t purchase it here, and online stores aren’t authorized dealers.’” The store owner agreed to check with Mares and would refund Caldwell’s money if he was told Joe Diver America was an authorized dealer. Two weeks later, Caldwell got a voice mail that Divers Unlimited wouldn’t give him a refund because he hadn’t bought from them. “This happened after I’ve done all my advanced training with them, and my wife is taking her openwater certification there.”
TO READ MORE, follow this link: Regulator Service Tips