How to Install Rear Brakes in an ATV

ATV, or all terrain vehicles, have braking systems very similar to cars. The same principals are at work: when you apply pressure on a foot or hand brake, it forces hydraulic brake fluid through a line to activate caliper pads. ATV brake pads can wear out much faster than automotive pads because of the constant torque and speed changes that ATV vehicles endure. Having adequate braking power on all the wheels ensures proper stopping performance and safety for the rider. Installing the rear brakes on your ATV requires only a few tools and some basic steps.


1)ย Chock the front wheels of the vehicle, and place the shifter in first gear to immobilize the wheels. Remove the ignition key. Use a tire iron to loosen the rear lug nuts, but do not remove the wheels. Use a floor jack to lift the rear of the vehicle and place two jack stands under the frame. Finish removing the lug nuts with the tire iron. Note the two brake pad pin bolts on the outside of the caliper. Use a screwdriver to bend the locking tabs up.

2)ย Use a socket to loosen the pin bolts only. Use a socket to remove the two caliper slide pin bolts. If you have a caliper guard, it will come off with the caliper; just make sure you know which way the caliper guard frame sits on the axle. Carefully flip the caliper over in your hand, making sure not to bend or twist the brake line. Finish removing the two bolts that hold the pads inside the caliper. Note their orientation inside the caliper. Remove the two pads.

3)ย Keep the round piston cap inside the caliper plunger. Use a pair of channel locks to compress the piston cap into the caliper bore, so you have room for the new pads inside the caliper. Install the new pads inside the caliper mount, with the pin holes aligned. They will sit by themselves in slots. Hand-tighten the bolts in the caliper, and then finish tightening them with a socket. Bend the locking tabs over the ends of the bolt heads with a screwdriver.

4)ย Use a large flat-head screwdriver to wedge the pads apart so they will fit over the brake rotor. Slip the caliper over the rotor, and align the two long caliper pin bolts in their holes. If you have removed a caliper guard, make sure you fasten it together with the caliper housing. Use a socket to tighten the two long caliper pin bolts. Make sure the brake line rides free and has not twisted or hung up on the frame. Repeat the exact procedure for the opposite wheel.

5)ย Place the wheels back on the hubs and hand-screw the lug nuts on. Tighten the lug nuts snug with a tire iron. Raise the vehicle with the floor jack and remove the jack stands. Use a torque wrench to tighten the lug nuts according to your repair manual’s specifications.

Extra Tips:

*ย Some brake pads have two thin sheets of metal that fit on one side or both sides of the brake pads. Be sure to include these metal sheets, since they serve as spacers and heat reducers.

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