harley davidson rear brake troubleshooting

Harley Davidson Rear Brake Troubleshooting – How to Fix It

If you’re a Harley Davidson enthusiast, then it’s no surprise that high-quality and dependability come to mind. Despite the exceptional craftsmanship of these motorcycles, they can still pose braking issues which could be hazardous if left unchecked.

To help riders avoid any potential threats on their bikes, this article dives into some common rear brake problems experienced by Harley owners and what steps to take for Harley Davidson rear brake troubleshooting and repair.

Issue 1: Rear brake not working, and brake lights not activating

When your rear brake fails to work properly and the lights remain off even when you hit on the pedal, it’s time for some Harley Davidson rear brake troubleshooting. Begin by double-checking that there is enough fluid in the reservoir. If not, top up as required. Then take a look at your brake pads – if worn out or broken, replace them immediately. Taking these steps will help ensure everything runs smoothly again soon.

If neither of the prior options solves your issue, it’s time to inspect the linkage from your rear brake pedal to the master cylinder. A broken or detached connection could be causing a malfunction in braking power – if that proves true, you’ll need to switch out for a new master cylinder. Additionally, an existing faulty master cylinder may necessitate its replacement as well.

If the linkage and master cylinder appear to be working properly, then it suggests that there may be a malfunction with the brake switch. Trace the brakes line until you find a switch with wires protruding from its side. Disconnect these cables and link them briefly together; if this triggers your brake light to illuminate, it’s time for an upgrade of your switch.

Issue 2: Rear brake not engaging fully

If the rear brake is not engaging to its full potential, there may be a problem with the brake rod length at the master cylinder. Take a look and inspect your brakes for any signs of wear; if they seem alright, go ahead and clean out your calipers while paying special attention to the pistons. Contamination and buildup around these components can make it difficult for them to press against the rotor properly, thus hindering their effectiveness.

Before anything else, check the brake rod length at your master cylinder: it should correspond to the height of your foot control pedal while idle. If not, then adjust the brake rod accordingly – either shortening or lengthening its size as necessary – once you have verified that both pad and caliper are in good condition.

Issue 3: Spongy brake pedal

If your brake pedal feels soft, a good indication that air may be in the line and requires bleeding. Attach a clear hose to the bleeder valve, open it, then have an assistant press down on the brake pedal; finally closing off once any bubbles cease to appear. Repeat this procedure until you no longer observe any air bubbles emanating from within.

Issue 4: Brakes making noise

If you’re hearing strange sounds from your rear brakes, it could be because of worn or broken brake pads. Make sure to review the condition of the pads and switch them out if needed. On the other hand, a warped rotor may also be triggering this noise, so replacing it might resolve the issue.

Issue 5: Brakes overheating

If your brakes are getting too hot, you could be using them excessively or there may be something amiss with the braking system. Inspect the brake pads for any evidence of wear and tear or harm. Additionally, ensure that the brake rotor is in excellent condition without being distorted. In case you’re continually facing a heightened temperature level while applying your brakes, it might require improving the whole braking system by means of bigger rotors or superior quality brake pads.

Finalizing Harley Davidson Rear Brake Troubleshooting

Diagnosing a problem with your Harley Davidson rear brake is essential to ensure that you have a safe ride. You may be dealing with worn-out brake pads, air in the lines or even an issue with the master cylinder. If you are uncertain how to solve these problems yourself it’s always best practice to seek out help from an experienced professional who can get your bike running back safely.


Sure, here are some FAQs related to Harley Davidson rear brake troubleshooting:

What should I do if my rear brake is not working on my Harley Davidson motorcycle?

If your rear brake is not behaving as expected, begin by inspecting the brakes for signs of wear and tear. Additionally, verify that the level of brake fluid is adequate. Then assess whether a broken or disconnected linkage from the back foot pedal to master cylinder could be causing this malfunction – if so, it needs fixing right away. Finally, in case none of these elements are out-of-place consider replacing the rear master cylinder entirely – it may be faulty after all.

Why are my brakes making noise?

Unusual noises coming from the rear brakes might be a warning sign that your brake pads are worn or damaged, so it’s best to investigate their condition and replace them as needed. An alternative cause could be a warped brake rotor, which requires immediate replacement if confirmed.

How often should I replace the brake fluid in my Harley Davidson motorcycle?

Every couple of years, Harley Davidson recommends replacing the brake fluid for optimal performance. As it is hydroscopic, that means it can absorb moisture from its surroundings and cause your brakes to be less effective than desired. Therefore, regularly swapping out the brake fluid could make all the difference in keeping you safe on-road.

How can I tell if my brake pads are worn out?

To determine if your brake pads need replacing, visually inspect them – you’ll know they’re worn out when you see that they are noticeably thinner than new ones. Additionally, if there’s a grinding sound when the brakes are applied this may mean it is time for another set of brake pads.

How do I bleed the brakes on my Harley Davidson motorcycle?

To keep your Harley Davidson running smoothly, you’ll need to bleed the brakes. Simply attach a clear hose to the bleeder valve and open it while having an assistant press down on the brake pedal; then close off that same valve. Repeat this step until no more air bubbles appear in the attached hose—this will help guarantee full function of those brakes once again.

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