Tips For Changing ATV Brake Pads
After riding your ATV for a few months, it will be time to change the brake pads. As you traverse terrain of all kinds, whether you're a trail rider or prefer using your ATV for farm work, the brake pads will eventually wear down with use. While you could have a professional complete the task, you can check and replace your brake pads on your own, as well as the rest of your brake system. This won't only save money, but also help you get better acquainted with the internal mechanisms of our ATV. There are many step-by-step guides out there that will steer you in the right direction. However, they could miss a few significant points for changing brake pads, rotors, and other areas of your brakes, especially for those who haven't gone through this process before. Here are our best tips for brake changes and general maintenance that can serve as guidelines for beginners and reminders for experienced ATV riders.
Brake Fluid Maintenance
With regular use, brake fluid absorbs moisture and air, which is why it must be checked periodically. Just like with engine oil, it gets dirty. Take a look at your ATV owner's manual and flip to the maintenance chart. Here, you'll find the manufacturer recommendations on how often you should replace your brake fluid. This will depend on the age and mileage of your ATV. It'll also mention what kind of brake fluid your ATV needs, which is important. If left unchanged, bad brake fluid can damage seals, wear out calipers, and even deteriorate brake lines.
Pay Attention to Pad Thickness and Cleanliness
Keeping track of your brake pad thickness will ensure they don't get too thin on you and you're riding metal on metal. As they age, they'll innately become thinner, but when there's 1/8" or so left, it's time to change them.
Keep them clean as well. Very dirty brake pads can decrease the effectiveness of your brakes. Just brush mud, dirt, or other grime off from time to time.
Brake Rotors Matter Too
When brake pads wear down, so do brake rotors. These help slow your ATV down when you squeeze your brake levers. If your brake fluid reservoir is low, you may need to change your brake rotors. This is because the calipers need more fluid to move the pads enough to reach worn down rotors. A micrometer will help you determine your rotors' thickness, which can then be compared to the wear limits given by your owner's manual. Essentially, when you check on your brake pads, do the same for your rotors.
The Significance of Brake Lines
Your ATV's brake lines should never be loose. Keep them tight and secured to the frame away from sharp edges. Make it a point to check your hose for holes and visible wear. Over time, it will need to be replaced. If your hose has holes, dirt and air can enter the break line. This directly affects your ATV's braking capability. If your brakes feel mushy or they're skipping, you'll have to do what is called bleeding. When you bleed your brake lines, you loosen the drainage nipple of the back of the brake caliper and allow the brake fluid to drain out. The idea here is that the air bubbles and/or dirt will escape out of the lines. Need help with bleeding your dirt bike brakes? There are many resources online in written and video formats to walk you through this process. When this process is done, be sure to replace the correct kind of brake fluid.
Keeping up with your brakes is a must. This process can far exceed just the brake pads, requiring attention to other components making up your brake system. When you realize your brakes aren't as effective as they once were, you could find yourself in a bad situation. With these tips in mind, you can develop a maintenance routine for your ATV that complies with your owner's manual. With a solid maintenance schedule, you should never hear the awful screech of bad brakes on your ATV. Need to find a quality brake pad kit to keep on hand for a future change? We have them right here for Polaris ATVs and many other manufacturers. Quickly find your make and model to shop brakes, other essentials, and accessories.