Brake Maintenance Tips for Harleys

May 18, 2018

Brake maintenance is extremely important for motorcycles. After all, your brakes bring your vehicle safely to a stop. But there are a number of issues that can happen with the brakes over time if you fail to properly maintain them. For example, brake fluid can collect condensation from outside air, which might lead to a spongy brake feel and an inability to brake as quickly as you need to. You might also suffer from corrosion or general wear and tear on parts of your brakes, which can make them unsafe for operation.

With this in mind, here are some brake maintenance tips for Harleys from a longtime Harley shop in Hendersonville, NC:

  • Analyze brake pad thickness: The thickness of your brake pads is extremely important. You should always keep an eye on it, but especially before you decide to go on a major trip. The last thing you want is metal rubbing on metal, especially when you’re hauling gear or carrying another person. We strongly recommend you replace your brake pads when the thickness is at 0.016 inch or less.
  • Analyze rotor thickness: Rotor thickness is also extremely important when you analyze your brake system. Rotors that get too thin and taper down in thickness can become a safety hazard very quickly. Even changing the brake pads in such a scenario wouldn’t fix the problem, because there would still be poor brake pad to rotor contact. When the rotor gets too thin, the brake caliper has to push out its pistons farther to reach the rotor, which could quickly cause the pistons to overheat.
  • Check brake fluid: Low brake fluid levels in the sight glass could be an indication that you need brake service. Therefore, keep an eye on those fluid levels at all times, and if they start to get low, either take a look at your brakes yourself or make an appointment with your trusted motorcycle mechanic.
  • Look for corrosion: In some cases, you might notice a buildup of some corrosion caused by leaking seals on the bike’s master cylinder. We recommend cleaning both the front and rear master cylinder boots in clean water and then blowing them dry with compressed air. This should remove all the brake fluid from the boot and help shake off and prevent any further corrosion. It will also result in creating a good seal between the brake fluid and the top of the master cylinder.

These are just a few of the elements you should look out for when performing maintenance on your Harley, specifically its brakes. Again, the importance of brake maintenance cannot be understated—brakes that are not in good condition are a hazard to your bike, your personal safety and your life, so it’s important to routinely make these simple checks and address any issues that arise as quickly as possible.

For more information about the types of brake maintenance procedures you should regularly perform and how a professional can help, contact our Harley shop in Hendersonville, NC.

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