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Replacing ATV Brakes

Replacing ATV Brakes

As an ATV owner, there are certain aspects of maintenance bound to come up naturally. The brakes are an essential part of your vehicle and caring for them is of crucial importance to not only the way your ATV rides, but also to your safety. When it comes to replacing ATV brakes, here are a few things you need to know.

Signs of Trouble

The first step in replacing ATV brakes is knowing the signs of trouble pointing to an issue in that area. While many people think of brake issues as complete failure or inability to stop the vehicle, brakes will give you signs way before that point if you pay attention. Here are the signs to look for:

  • - Grinding sound when stopping.
  • - Dragging when stopping because the vehicle has to slow to a stop rather than just stop.
  • - Full pullback of pedal.
  • - Skipping or skidding to one side.
  • - Nonresponsive or total failure.


If you notice any of these signs of trouble, you need to check your brakes. While some problems may be a simple fix like adding more brake fluid if you were on empty, there is also a good chance you have some damage or wear to the brake pads or brake rotors. You can easily inspect these two elements and decide if it's time to replace them. There is also a chance you are using the wrong brake pads for your ATV. You should check your owner's manual and make sure the brake pads are correct on the matter of size to make sure that isn't the cause of the trouble.

Replacing Pads and Rotors

If you are seeing obvious signs of wear and tear to the brake pads or rotor, you need to replace them to get your vehicle back in the proper shape. Many people are not mechanically inclined and choose to send it off to a mechanic for this task. This is perfectly acceptable because the end goal is that you have a working brake system and it doesn't really matter how you get there. If you are more into a DIY approach, here are a few steps for replacing ATV brakes:


  • - Start by removing the bolts and the stock caliper and inside pins. This will allow you to remove the old pads.
  • - Clean and spray out the pistons with brake cleaner and then use a toothbrush or towel to wipe down the brake and piston.
  • - Install the new brake pads into the caliper while using a C-clamp to compress the piston.
  • - Watch for settling. You want to make sure the new pads settle inside the shims before installing the caliper back onto the spindle and replacing and tightening the bolts.
  • - Test them out by riding the ATV but go easy on the brakes at first. Don't slam on the brakes right away since this might put a strain on the system. Watch for any recurring grinding noises which may indicate an improperly installed brake pad.



  • - Loosen the lug nuts on the wheel where you are installing the new rotor.
  • - Use a jack to elevate the ATV to make it easier to work.
  • - Finish loosening and remove the lug nuts as well as the tire.
  • - Remove the caliper taking extra effort to provide support so the rest of the caliper isn't dangling by the brake line which can cause damage.
  • - Loosen and remove the spindle pin located in the center of the hub and pull the hub off.
  • - On the back of the hub, there are usually several bolts securing the old rotor. Remove these bolts to pull the rotor off from the hub.
  • - Place the new rotor onto the hub and secure it in place with the bolts. You should check the owner's manual to ensure you set the torque to the right specification for your ATV.
  • - After taking care of the torque and reinstalling the hub bolts, reinstall the caliper and the bolts fastening it to the hub. If the caliper piston is being difficult to place due to opening, you can apply pressure to the top of caliper using a tool to get the piston to close again.
  • - Mount the wheel back on the studs and tighten the lug nuts enough to hold it place.
  • - Lower the ATV from the jack and finish fastening the lug nuts before taking it for a test ride.