Despite the level of sophistication of drone technology, they are essentially still fragile flying machines. A crash from 100 feet or into a lake can be a death sentence even for a drone that costs upwards of $1000. Crashing a DJI drone is especially painful for owners, considering how expensive and high-end DJI drones can be. Fortunately, DJI runs a very systematic and customer-friendly process for drone repairs.
If you have found yourself in the unenviable situation of being the owner of a damaged DJI drone, then this is the perfect article for you. Read on for all the finer details of getting DJI repair service – how it’s done, how much it costs, and how long the process takes.
Does the warranty cover your circumstances?
Before you panic over the costs of having your drone repaired, you need to check first if your drone is still covered by DJI’s standard warranty. This warranty comes with all newly purchased DJI drones, even refurbished units, if they are purchased directly from DJI or from authorized retailers.
The standard warranty guarantees that you received your DJI drone free from manufacturing or material defects. If your drone should fail due to defects of this nature, then you may have your drone repaired at no extra cost. Even the cost of two-way shipping of the drone will be shouldered by DJI if your circumstances are within the coverage of the standard warranty.
What exactly does the standard warranty cover? As mentioned, it only covers product failure due to manufacturing or material defects. It also assumes that the drone was operated within normal use as defined by the product manual, the drone specifications, or any official communication from DJI. It does NOT cover damage due to accidents, signal loss, pilot error, or water damage.
Making unauthorized modifications and repairs to your drone, as well as the use of unauthorized parts will also void the drone’s standard warranty.
If you have only had your drone for a few days, and you are certain that your drone has not figured into any accidents or crashes, then chances are good that you can still claim drone repairs from your standard warranty. In any case, it is best to contact DJI Support with the specifics of your situation.
Do you have DJI Care or DJI Care Refresh?
If you happened to have the foresight to buy DJI Care or DJI Care Refresh with your drone, then you have practically nothing to worry about. Depending on the type of drone insurance policy you purchased, you either have the option of charging the repair costs on your insurance coverage or having your drone replaced outright with a new or equivalent to new unit.
For owners of DJI drones, this in-house drone insurance policy is one the best ways to fly with peace of mind. The premium fees for these plans are also quite cheap compared to the cost of having a DJI drone repaired several times or the cost of buying a brand-new unit.
If you plan to use the benefits of your DJI Care or DJI Care Refresh policy, then you must contact DJI Care immediately and they will be glad to assist you. After all, another benefit of being a holder of their insurance policy is prioritized customer support.
I don’t have any warranty or drone insurance. What do I do?
Unfortunately, your circumstances might not be covered by the standard warranty and you might not have DJI Care or DJI Care Refresh. There’s no need to worry, as DJI’s repair process is typically quick and systematic. To start, head on over to DJI’s online repair service center. From this starting point, you can proceed with the following steps:
1. Find a service center
The benefit of having a drone from a company with a global presence like DJI is that you can probably find a service center in your home country or region. This helps in reducing shipping costs and turnaround time.
DJI has an easy to use service center finder where you only need to input your region, country, and the product that you want to get repaired. The site will then help you find the nearest service center that can offer repair services for your drone. DJI has authorized service centers in more than 100 countries, so there’s a very good chance that you can find one near you.
2. File a repair request
To formally begin the repair process, you need to file an online repair request on the DJI website. You will need to provide basic information such as your region and country, what drone model you want to get serviced, and whether you are requesting for repair or replacement.
You will then need to get into the specifics, such as what issue you are encountering, whether the drone crashed or got water damage, or whether you think that that the drone got damaged due to a user error or a product defect. The last item is particularly important, as a claim of product defect means that DJI will need to do data analysis of your drone. This step will add 3 to 5 days to the turnaround time of the service. You will also need to provide the circumstances surrounding the failure of the drone – where and when it happened, and what abnormal conditions you observed.
In any case, it is in your best interest to be completely honest during this process. The DJI technicians are pretty much experts in analyzing all the data that your drone has collected and deducing if any accident occurred due to user error or other external factors. Providing DJI with as much detail as possible can also speed up the diagnostic process, allowing them to return your repaired drone faster. At this point, you also have the option of uploading your drone’s flight records or an onboard video to help the DJI technicians assess the cause of failure.
As part of filing a repair request, you will be required to upload a proof of purchase for your drone. However, there have been cases when drone owners can no long retrieve a proof of purchase, especially for older drones. According to these users, all it took was to communicate with DJI Care about their situation and the matter was resolved quite easily.
3. Ship out your drone
After you have provided all the details of your product, you will need to provide your shipping address and pick a service center you would like to send your drone to. DJI will then provide the shipping label that you will need to attach to your drone. The shipping label should allow you to ship out your drone at no extra cost, but you will need to handle the costs of packaging your drone.
Shipping does not normally take longer than 7 days. Of course, this can vary based on your location and the location of the service center. Shipping time may also be subject to certain regulatory processes that are not within the control of DJI.
4. Agree to the repair costs
Upon receipt, DJI will conduct a detailed assessment of your drone. This is typically completed in just 2 to 3 days but will take longer if you requested for data analysis. After their assessment, the DJI technicians will send you a detailed account of the events that lead to the failure and all the damage that the drone has suffered. This is a followed by a cost breakdown of the repairs that need to be made.
As expected, the cost of repairing your drone will depend based on which component was damaged. Cosmetic and protective parts such as covers and stickers are very cheap, but damage to your drone’s camera and gimbal assembly can cost several hundreds of dollars to repair. A more detailed breakdown of the costs of repairing a DJI drone is provided in a separate section below.
5. Monitor your drone’s status
You will not need to contact DJI Care repeatedly whenever you find yourself wondering how the repair process is going. DJI’S online repair services site also provides a status tracker for your repair request. You will only need to input the case number of your request to see a detailed timeline of the process, as well as an estimate of when the repair will be finished. Based on past performance, the whole process typically takes 4 to 6 weeks.
6. Test your newly repaired or replaced drone
When you receive your newly repaired drone, it is essentially equivalent in quality to the refurbished drones being sold by the official DJI store. It’s not brand new, but all problematic parts should have been replaced. DJI will even repair cosmetic damage such as scratches and dents.
It is critical that you do a full functional test of your drone when it is returned by DJI. From the time of receipt, you have about a 2-week window to test the drone and look for any defects. If any major problems are found during this period, you have the option of shipping the drone back for DJI to do re-work.
One thing to remember before you make your maiden flight with your newly returned drone is to calibrate everything: the IMU, compass, gimbal, and remote controller. Many drone owners have found that individual components of their returned drones were out of calibration upon return.
How much will it cost to have my drone repaired by DJI?
The first thing that comes to the mind of any drone owner when their drone gets damaged is how much it will cost to have it repaired. This will depend on the extent of damage that your drone has suffered: a drone which has been submerged in water will probably be more expensive to repair than one which is only experiencing drifting problems.
DJI has a Repair Component Price Inquiry Page that will help you get a quick estimate of how much it will cost to repair your drone. You will only need to pick a drone model, and the page will provide a list of the price to repair each component of that drone. Take note that you are essentially “eyeballing” what went wrong with your drone – without the expertise of DJI technicians, you will probably not get an accurate estimate of which component of your drone got damaged.
It’s easy to see from this page which components of a drone are more expensive to repair. For instance, repairing the main control board of the Mavic Pro will cost $288 while the gimbal camera and gimbal arm will cost $159. These costs can skyrocket for higher-end drones. For the Phantom 4 Pro, repairing the gimbal and camera will cost an intimidating $699, while the aircraft’s main control board will cost $261.
The page also indicates how many hours it typically takes to repair any particular drone model. DJI charges $65 per hour of repair service. Most models can be repaired in 2 hours, with higher-end models (such as the Inspire series) requiring up to 3 hours of work.
DJI’s repair service may be a bit slow but is still the best and most reliable option when your DJI drone gets damaged. Although their customer service is far from the best, their repair service seems systematic enough and the process is easy to follow. We really like how everything you need to get your drone repaired can be conveniently found in DJI’s online repair service center. The tracking function, inaccurate as it may be, eliminates the need to contact DJI customer support repeatedly to inquire about the status of your repair request.
Highlighting the cost of getting your drone repaired by DJI further emphasizes how wise of a decision it is to get DJI Care or DJI Care Refresh. For a small fraction of the price of a brand new DJI drone, you can get wide coverage for free repairs or get the option to receive a replacement unit. This is an excellent deal that offers the same high-quality service of DJI repair at a much more affordable price.