Why Are My Honda ATV Brakes Not Working?

When you fixed everything you think there is to fix on the braking system of your Honda ATV but the brakes still don’t work, you may have air in the system.

Partzilla’s Honda ATV expert John Talley hosts live Q&A sessions on our YouTube channel every Friday at 3pm Eastern. In this edition, John answers a viewer’s question about why the brakes on a Honda Foreman 450 aren’t working despite multiple repairs.

Honda ATV brake system bldeeding

Honda ATV Brakes Not Working Q&A

I have a 99 Honda Foreman 450 and I replaced the front brakes, the wheel cylinders and the master cylinder, but the brakes still won’t stop the machine. Any suggestions?

John Talley: Alright, well you’ve replaced everything except the brake lines and assuming it’s not just pumping fluid all over the floor … you’re probably not bleeding it correctly, and it’s still got air in the system somehow. We’ve got several videos that walk you through the process of how to bleed brakes. I can testify that if you’re trying to bleed that particular model, the Foreman 450, with the cap off the master cylinder up top, then it’s never going to bleed right. They want you to fill it up, put the cap on and then start pumping it up. It’s just a weird anomaly. I’ve never been able to get them to — on that particular model and the Rancher for that matter — to get them to bleed correctly unless that cover or that cap with the diaphragm is in place. So that may be what’s prohibiting you from getting it purged or bled correctly. Now, if you’re still having trouble and it won’t let it draw down or pump down the brake fluid to even get the process started, there are two other ways you can go about it. One, you can bleed it using a vacuum system of which we carry a couple of different ones on the website. Or you could actually backfill it by filling it from the calipers themselves or the wheel cylinders back up to the reservoir at the master. One of the two should work, but my bet is that you’re just fighting air in the system.

Buy brake bleeder tool

Buy brake fluid extractor

Watch the video below to see how to bleed the brakes and rebuild the master cylinder on a Honda ATV.

Watch the video below to learn how to bleed the front brakes on a Honda ATV.

Watch the video below to learn 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 repair questions answered here.