Why Are the Brakes on My Honda ATV Locked Up?

What could be the problem when you replace the calipers and the brakes on a Honda ATV but the brakes and the handle lock up? It could mean it's time to replace the brake master cylinder.

Our resident Honda ATV expert John Talley goes live on our YouTube channel every Friday at 3pm Eastern, and in this Q&A session, John addresses a problem with a Honda Foreman's brakes locking up.

Honda ATV brakes locking up

Honda ATV Brakes Locking Up

I have a Honda Foreman 500 and I just put on new front calipers and brakes. The brakes work well for about two hours and then they lock up and the brake handle can’t be moved. What’s the problem? 

John Talley: It sounds like you addressed the issues going down at the calipers, but I don’t think you addressed the master cylinder up top. So my guess at this point is that the system was dry for a long time, you went and replaced the calipers but you didn’t do anything to the master up top. And it’s probably frozen, so that’s going to be my best guess. Now they do make a rebuild kit which gives you the piston and the seals, and the O-rings to go around the piston itself, if it’s not too corroded on the inside. If it is, then you probably have to replace the whole thing. But odds are it’s just going to be the one piece of equipment that you haven’t dealt with so far, from what I can tell from your question, which is the master cylinder. So open it up and take a peek. 

Buy Honda master cylinder rebuild kit

Buy ATV master cylinder rebuild kits

As John mentioned, the brakes and the brake handle locking up could be an issue with the master cylinder. In the video below, John shows you how to rebuild the front master cylinder on a Honda ATV. He walks you through how to remove the brake lever and brake fluid reservoir, followed by using an OEM Honda kit to rebuild the master cylinder, and then replacing the brake handle and reservoir on the ATV. 

Watch the video above to see how to rebuild the front brake master cylinder on a Honda ATV.

Want to see more live repair questions answered? See more motorcycle and ATV questions answered here.  



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