It’s fun to go fast, though it’s not as fun if you can’t stop. Brakes are often pushed to the back of your mind while you’re in the middle of an adventure, you just think, when I press them down they’ll work and I’ll stop. Well routine break maintenance will help keep that dreamy illusion alive, but there will likely be a time when you find yourself with a serious brake problem. Here are some of the main symptoms of a serious brake problem:

  • High pitched noise
  • Grinding
  • Squishy feeling when you press down on your brakes
  • Non responsive (this one especially, is one you’ll want to avoid)

Some break issues are very obvious, while others need a bit more investigating. Here are some of the causes of the signs listed above.

Firstly, brake pads wear down with use and if they’re really worn you’ll start hearing a horrible high pitched noise coming from the wheels every time you brake. So how do we solve this problem? Often we replace them because there’s no way to rebuild them. If they’re new and this seems to be your problem, then make sure they’re the right pads for your machine; otherwise you may as well not have any pads at all. Sounds stupid, but fitment is an ever present danger when buying parts and something to be aware of before you buy anything. One thing you can do to see if the brake pads are worn down is to keep an eye on the brake fluid reservoir because if you see low fluids there, it can be a sign that the brake pads need changing.

Secondly, the noise could be coming from your brake caliper. This caliper squeezes the brake pads against the brake rotor to slow down your machine and if the brake pads are worn down, you can bet your rotor will be too. A low brake fluid reservoir is a clue for this as well, because brake calipers use more fluid to get the pads to reach the worn down rotors.

Thirdly, a leaking brake line can also be your problem. Rubber hoses can age and crack leading to leaks, fittings can also loosen up providing another common leak point. Leaks are pretty easy to identify, chances are you’ll see fluid in the area. Leaking fittings can be tightened, but a hose will have to be replaced. When air and dirt get caught in the brake line they’ll hamper your ability to stop by making the brakes skip and they’ll also have a mushy feeling when pumping the brakes. Air in the line is often a result of accidentally letting air in when you’re topping off brake fluid. You can fix this by bleeding your brakes.

Bleeding you brakes sounds annoying and awful, it can be, but really it’s not too bad especially if you have another person helping you. With another person you can have it done in 10-20 minutes as long as you pay close attention to what you’re doing.

Step 1: Clean around the master cylinder’s lid in order to keep dirt out of the brake fluid.

Step 2: Remove the lid and slip a clear plastic hose over the bleeder valve on the brake caliper with the other end placed in a see-through container so you can follow the fluid.

Step 3: Have your friend pump the brakes a couple times to build pressure and after that have them hold it pressed slightly down. When this happens open the bleeder valve with a wrench, which will then send brake fluid flowing down the hose. Make sure your friend slowly presses down and holds there long enough so you can close the bleeder valve without letting in any air in.

Step 4: Repeat a few times while continuing to add fresh fluid to the master cylinder to keep it above the minimum mark. Once clear fluid is coming out of the tube with no bubbles, tighten the valve and call it a day.

Brakes are easily forgettable, they’re not much to look at, but they are extremely important when it comes to riding and essential for keeping yourself safe out there, so don’t neglect them.

Have any problems with your brakes or want to share a shortcut for changing out your brake fluid, let us know in the comments.


1.Signs That You Need to Get Your Dir Bike or ATV Brake Checked:

2.How to Bleed ATV Brakes:

3.Give Your ATV a Break:

BleedingBrakesCaliperMaster cylinderProblemsRotor

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