How to ensure shop did/would do work

Dec 29, 2006
Indiana, USA
Hi fellas, need some help resolving a dilemma I got.

I'm overdue on sparkplugs on my '16 Zx14R, and I'm not willing to take on to the task myself as they're major pain to get to on this particular bike.
I don't mind paying a shop to do it, but how do I ensure that they would in fact do the work? Bike runs fine, so I would never know the difference. Have dealt with several shady mechanics and dealerships over the years, so I don't trust anyone. Have no family or friends in the business.
If I ask them to record the process, I'm sure they'll try to charge me double :). Asking them to see the old spark plugs won't help, as they could show me any spark plugs and say they came out of my bike. The same for valve check and adjustment when it's time.
So, how would you go about making sure they do the work they're charging you for (without offending them)?

Thx for any advise
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Typically if I have any doubt and I can't watch the job, I mark the part that has to be changed, if it is not an obvious part that can easily be seen when it was changed. EG: My 08 Liberty needed a gas tank as per a campaign Jeep has to dodge a recall for a fuel filling issue. The tank is behind a skid plate and hard to see, I marked it and took pictures of the bolts that had to be removed. They did the job, and I gave them the highest score for a CS survey.

Spark plugs, that's a tough one. If you can mark them you could probably replace them. I owned a 93 Aerostar and the plug on the right closest to the firewall was a ***** to remove. At the time I was selling cars and didn't have much free time so I took it to a "trusted mechanic" our used car sales department used for a tune up. Years later I tuned it up again and removed five Autolite plugs and an OE Motorcraft plug the "trusted mechanic" didn't remove because it was too hard. I also marked tires that I paid to have rotated, I snagged a Ford dealer on that when they swore the tires were rotated and they weren't. After I gave the service writer all possible opportunities to say they forgot I showed him the markings I used. LOL I got a refund and the dealer lost a customer and vehicle sale six months later. Aside from watching, good luck!!
Put a line of white paint on the plugs going down to the heads. That will tell you if they replaced them or even bothered turning them.
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Google maps and other on-line reviews might help in finding a good shop. I would just change them myself, and look at it as a challenge. Maybe someone has posted a video on YouTube with some tips for easier access to the plugs.
I always thought ask for the old parts back, and if they handed back parts from another vehicle, well, that's outright fraud. I'd say a normal person who may cheat because someone doesn't notice, often doesn't want to do outright blatant fraud. I have a Toyota V8 and on the forum typically shade trees find that cyl 1 was not changed because the dip stick tube is in the way, and that's at the dealer. I actually think that indie garages wouldn't do that, but dealers would. It's rather ironic, someone who is really good, wants to leave no evidence behind, not break things, clean up well, and now that may look like no work was performed! lol
Is there a cover or something that would need to be remove and reinstalled? Or maybe even one beneath a fairing that also needs to be replaced. You can put some sort of tamper evident tape or something that would need to be destroyed to do the job. If then remove the fairing and see that the cover has been removed, then it’s likely they did the job.

This is all assuming that you can easily access these parts with little effort (ie, not do so much work that you might as well just do the spark plugs), and that it would be placed in an inconspicuous places so as not to tip them off and possibly offend them.

Otherwise, I guess you’ll find out the next time you have them replaced and ask for THOSE spark plugs back. Either the old place didn‘t do it or the first place did do it, but the second place didn’t and handed you some rando plugs. That obviously assumes they change the plugs from whatever OEM is and you track it somehow.
The only way to make sure stuff gets done, is to do it yourself. Do your best to get it done right. Or scroll through hundreds/thousands of Google reviews for moto shops, although I found Yelp reviews more true and accurate, since Google cleans up bad reviews for $$$.
The reputation of the guy doing the work is all you have . Awesome bike though.
nice bike. personally i have had several customers in a similar situation. what i always offer is pictures of disassembly and reassembly as well as all the old parts/gaskets/whatever crumbs get put back in a take home box.

usually that is enough to satisfy most of them
I wonder if you could find a mechanic that would do this in your garage. After hours, cash, side work type deal. Then you could just watch him do the work.
Good mechanics are always busy. But there are plenty of moonlighters out there, you just have to find them.
I'm overdue on sparkplugs on my '16 Zx14R... Bike runs fine, so I would never know the difference.
Seems that they don't really need changed then. If it's this stressful, put off the work until you find someplace you trust, without questions or suspicions.

If I ask them to record the process, I'm sure they'll try to charge me double
I think and hope that most shops would tell you to "GTFO" of their shop if you suggested that.
Thx for all the help. I've thought of all the options above, and more. Plugs will be nearly impossible to mark, if I could get to them, I'd just change them myself. These plugs are commonly used on most superbikes, so I'm sure mechanics have used ones laying around from replacing them on their personal bikes :) . I have watched a few vids and I've decide that I'd just leave the old ones in. I'm at 12k mi (manual suggests for max performance every 7.5k mi) but there are reports of ppl running them pass 40k mi !
I guess, I'll just wait till it's time for valve inspection and do it all at once, once I find someone to do it as a side job so I can watch "and learn" :)
Ask for the old parts back. What are the odds they have 4 matching used plugs lying around that fit your bike? If you have that level of paranoia then you need to do it yourself.
I know I sound paranoid, but this is reality!
A decade ago, I had no time to do brake fluid flush, so I paid a local Firestone to do it. Do you think they did it? NO! I drove the car home, pulled one wheel off to find out that the bleeder valves were never touched. Drove back to speak with the manager who tried to convince me that they have a special machine that sucks out all of the old brake fluid and replace it without touching the bleeder valves. Yeah, OK... when I looked at him funny, he offered me a refund and offered to re-do the job "my way". I took the refund, thanked them for replacing the fluid in the brake fluid reservoir and left.
Fast forward eight years later. Friend's '12 Liberty 4x4 with skid plates needs oil change. I offered to show him how to do it, only to find out that the filter is nearly impossible to get to. I could barely even touch or see it. So he took it in to a local shop for oil and filter change. when he got back, I'd be **** if I didn't look only to see the old visibly dirty filter in place! They never changed the filter!
Had a mechanic friend and I asked him before if shops are shady like that. He said "yeah, John would just open the hood, make a mess to look as if he was changing the coolant, but didn't, as he didn't trust that radiator drain plug".
Just last week a heard a coworker talking about how she knew the wheels on her car were not rotated during oil change as she had marked the front ones with old lipstick.
I'm not saying all mechanics/shops are shady. but it happens much often than the average person thinks. Especially for maintenance where the costumer can seldom tell the difference.