Workshop Wisdom - Episode 5: Brake fluid change

Jim Lindsay
By Jim Lindsay
jimlindsaybikes Lifelong bike fan. 12 month a year rider. Does not own a car. Former Editor of Motorcycle News. Fixes computers for a living. Rides a KTM RC8 R, Ducati 996, 1985 Yamaha FZ750. Likes spannering almost as much as riding.
How to change your brake fluid
Jim Lindsey takes you through the simple steps to better braking...

 

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This is a maintenance task that often gets overlooked, but to keep your braking system in top condition, you must change the fluid every two years. It’s not a big job; even if you’ve never done it before, an hour and a half should be plenty of time.

I like to pump a master cylinder full of new fluid through the system before making a final fill just to make sure that all the old fluid has been expelled. Unless you’re going to do several bikes, buy a small quantity of fluid – it starts to absorb water as soon as you open the container. It has a short shelf life once opened – after three months it’s ready for the recycling point at your local dump. If you are doing one bike, use all of a small bottle to make sure the system is fully flushed.

While you’re working, make sure you keep brake fluid away from paintwork and also avoid getting it on the brake discs and pads. I always give the calipers and pads a good dousing with brake cleaner once I’ve finished the job.

Finally, make sure you don’t allow any air into the system – this is especially important on ABS-equipped bikes, as some would require the manufacturer to plug the bike into their computer to purge the pump.

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