How To Change Brake Fluid On a Dirt Bike

Changing your brake fluid is important to do at least once a year no matter how well your brakes are working. Even if you only use your dirt bike on occasion, the brake fluid may become contaminated or attract water over time. You will know that you are overdue to change the fluid if it is dark in color, as it begins as a light color and darkens with contamination.

The brake system on a dirt bike is very sensitive, so the ideal time to bleed the brakes is shortly after you clean your dirt bike. You will want to begin with a new bottle of brake fluid, and follow your manufacturer’s recommendation as using the wrong type could cause damage to your brake system.

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Inspect your brakes to make sure that your brake pads are in good condition, and replace them before you bleed it out if necessary. Be sure to wear gloves and eye protection, because brake fluid is toxic.

Flushing the Master Cylinder

Adjust the handlebars of your bike so that the master cylinder is level to the ground. Clean the area thoroughly if you see any debris, and remove the cover carefully.

Next, you will want to remove the fluid from the reservoir. There are a few ways to do this: a vacuum is ideal, but a syringe or baster will also work. If you have not replaced the brake fluid in a while, you may want to fill the reservoir with new brake fluid and repeat this process to make sure that it flushes out thoroughly. Fill it a final time, to just above the “max” line.

Bleeding the Brakes

The second step of this process involves emptying the brake caliper. For this you will need a wrench, a piece of vinyl tubing, and a drip pan or bottle. Attach one end of the tubing onto the bleeder, and the other end above your drip pan.

Using the wrench, open the bleeder half a turn, and the brake fluid will begin to flow. During this process you will want to make sure that all of the air is removed from the system. You can do this by lightly hitting the caliper with a plastic hammer, beginning at the bottom and going up, using upward strikes.

Allow a generous amount of brake fluid to flush through the brake line. Close the bleeder, and fill the fluid so that it falls between the minimum and maximum lines in your reservoir.

After you bleed the brakes you will want to squeeze the brake lever and make sure that it feels firm. If it feels spongy or soft, this is an indication that there is air somewhere in the system. You may want to try loosen the banjo bolts, releasing the air pockets. Thoroughly clean and dry the reservoir cover and diaphragm, and reinstall them. Double check the bleeder to make sure that it is closed tightly, and you may also want to install a bleeder cap.

Changing your brake fluid is simple, can be done at home, and requires very little equipment. You’ll immediately notice a firmer brake lever and increased stopping power.

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