How to bleed your brakes

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Now, this is something that I feel gets overlooked way too often. You know, you got to remember, with your front and your rear brake, your brake fluid is going to break down. In fact, what happens is it absorbs the moisture from the air. It’s a very small amount, but what this does, it actually results in your brake fluid heating up faster, which causes brake fade. Now, brake fade, you want to be really careful of that because as your brake fluid heats up and that brake fade gets worse and worse, it can actually leave you feeling like you don’t have any brakes at all. So it’s very important. 

When to get new brake fluid

Now, your owners manual is going to tell you how often you should be changing out the brake fluid, but there’s a couple tips and ways that you can know that it might be time without having to look at your manual. If you’re out riding and your brake pads and your rotors and your brake lines are in good condition but you feel like your front and your rear brakes are getting spongy and it just doesn’t have that stopping power that it did before, well that’s a really good indicator that it’s time to get some new brake fluid in there. 

Now, if you’ve never changed the brake fluid on your bike, if you’ve never bled your brakes, it’s really not that difficult. There are videos online that show you step-by-step how to get that done, and there are a couple tools that are offered on websites that are going to make the job easier, and I’ve actually got a couple here to show you.

The right kind of brake fluid

Now, one last thing I do want to talk about — or two last things actually — is brake fluid. You want to make sure that you’re only using the brake fluid that is recommended by your manufacturer or your motorcycle trader. So you can check your owner’s manual. But also, on most bikes, your reservoir cap in the front and the rear is actually going to tell you what brake fluid you are going to need. 

Now lastly, one inexpensive upgrade that you can make that’s really going to help out is a steel braided brake line. So for example on a YZ250, this is a Tusk Steel Braided Line. Now, the reason these are so beneficial is it’s braided steel with this rubber coating on the outside. The steel braided brake lines, when your brake fluid heats up, they’re not going to expand as much, so they’re just going to give a more consistent feel when you’re working hard on your brakes.