How to Change the Brake Pads for your Harley Davidson Softail

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The brake pads on your Harley Davidson Softail
are among the most important safety features of your motorcycle. The
brake pads on the Softail, like brake pads on any other type of vehicle,
are responsible for stopping the motorcycle when the driver activates
the brake system. These pads are what the brakes themselves rub up
against to create friction that slows down the spinning of the engine
and the wheels. In order to ensure that the Harley Davidson Softail is
as safe as possible, it’s smart to change your brake pads every 2000 to
3000 miles. Fortunately, the process of changing out the brake pads in a
Harley Davidson Softail is quite straightforward and can be completed
at home for little money and in a short period of time. Read on for a
brief step by step guide on how to do so.

Step 1 — Gather Materials

You’ll need the following materials in order to change out the brake pads on your Harley Davidson Softail:

  • Cleaning spray
  • New brake pads
  • Allen wrench
  • Screwdrivers

Step 2 — Mount the Bike

Wait until after the bike engine has been off for several hours
before you prepare to change out the brake pads. If you fail to do so,
the brake pads could be quite hot and your procedure may be somewhat
more difficult. Once the engine has cooled down sufficiently, mount the
bike up on the kick stand in an upright position so that you can adjust
the brake pads on both sides of the motorcycle.

Step 3 — Remove the Caliper Bolts

The brake calipers hold the brake pads in place. Use your Allen
wrench to remove the brake caliper bolts from the front of the brake
spring set. Set the caliper bolts aside in a safe place so that you can
reattach them at the end of the procedure. If you have a Softail that
has fixed calipers, you’ll need to rotate the retaining pins that hold
those calipers in place until they line up with the caliper bolts so
that the ends of the clips are exposed. You can then remove the clips
using a set of pliers.

Step 4 — Remove and Clean the Calipers

Pull the calipers out of the brake system by hand and examine them
for signs of damage. If they are damaged, you should replace them with
new calipers. Otherwise, use cleaning spray to clean up the calipers
before you set them aside to be reinstalled later on.

Step 5 — Remove the Pad and Force Out the Air

Remove the old brake pad by hand or with a screwdriver if you need to
pry it out. Next, depress the brake pedal until all of the air in the
brake pistons has been forced out. Use your cleaning spray to clean up
the pistons, then move the screwdriver into the caliper piston area so
that you can push the piston all the way back inside of the caliper once

Step 6 — Replace Brake Pads and Close Up the System

Install the new brake pads into the system. Next, close up the
calipers once again and reattach the caliper bolts to hold everything in
place as it should be. Secure the caliper bolts back in place with the
caliper rotor once again. Test out the brakes before you turn on the
motorcycle again to be sure that the brake pedal will properly activate
and depress.

The equipment necessary for this task is available at most hardware stores and motorcycle repair shops.

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