What To Do When ATV Brakes Won’t Build Pressure? – Reasons

“Yeah it’s fun to drive an ATV on difficult terrains but what if you are on high hills and your vehicle brakes stop working right away?

It could be a terrifying situation that can lead to a crash or collision and it happens when your ATV brakes are not building pressure.

Your ATV might not be building pressure due to defective brake pads, master cylinder, fluid leakage, trapped air or any other potential cause.

In this article, we are going to discuss why ATV brakes won’t build pressure, its harms, and all the possible solutions.

Is It Safe To Drive ATVs With Pressureless Brakes?

The brake  is the safety system of your vehicle. Any disturbance in its system can lead to fatal accidents. No pressure in the brakes means that hydraulic fluid is not flowing properly toward the brake pads.

Here we are going to discuss the potential harms of driving an ATV when brakes have no pressure.

  1. Any problem in the brake system can make it fail completely and as result, ATV loses its control which is extremely dangerous.
  2. When brakes do not build pressure then it loses its braking power and ATV takes longer time to stop than normal. It increases the risk of a crash.
  3. If ATV brakes have no pressure then it can land you in huge trouble since it can stop anywhere and keep running where it is supposed to halt.

Reasons Why ATV Brakes Do Not Build Pressure And How To Fix These Problems. 

There can be so many reasons behind this issue. Let’s dig into further details and try to find out its quick fix.

1. Contaminated Or Low Level Of Fluid

Contaminated Or Low Level Of Fluid
Source: yourmechanic

As we mentioned earlier, proper brake fluid flow is mandatory for the brakes to work smoothly but sometimes this flow gets low or this fluid traps dirt build-up inside the master cylinder.

In both these situations ATV brakes remain unable to build pressure.


  1. First of all, open the bleed valve and take all the liquid out. Make sure that no old fluid remains inside.
  2. Take a brush and clean the inner side of the master cylinder.
  3. Sometimes gaskets and O rings are worn in the master cylinder then you need to replace them with the new one.

2. Trapped Air In The Brakes

Any issue with the brake system’s bleeding process or the low level of fluid becomes the reason for trapped air and it further halts the process of building pressure in the brakes.


  1. First of all, take a brake bleeder kit to insert fresh brake fluid into the system.
  2. Force brake fluid towards the master cylinder via wheel cylinders or calipers. It will remove all the air bubbles.
  3. Another effective method that the majority uses to get rid of trapped air is by using a vacuum pump that removes all the air from the system and makes the brake build proper pressure.

3. Tear And Wear Of The Brake Pads

Tear And Wear Of The Brake Pads
Source: garagewire

Keep inspecting your brake pads and shoes since if they are worn then they may reduce the braking power of an ATV that doesn’t let it build pressure.


  1. The first thing you need to do is to remove the wheel present on the worn brake pad and shoe side.
  2. Remove all bolts with the help of a socket wrench and slide the caliper to remove worn brake pads and shoes.
  3. Then install the new brake shoes and pads. Once you are done with it, install the wheel in its place and then start the engine to check if everything is working properly.

4. Defective Master Cylinder

If there is any leakage in the master cylinder then air gets in the system easily by reducing the pressure in the brakes.


  1. The best solution for this problem is the replacement of the master cylinder with the new one. But do not forget to bleed the brake system right after installing the new master cylinder to remove air bubbles from the system. You can do it yourself with the help of a manual or take your vehicle to a professional to get it done.

5. Dry Rubber Pistons

atv Dry Rubber Pistons
Source: ebay

Dry rubber pistons can be the reason for low pressure in the brakes and therefore it is necessary to inspect them thoroughly to fix the problem.


  1. Firstly, remove the rubber pistons from the vehicle and then clean them very well with the help of brushes to get rid of all dirt and dust.
  2. Then lubricate them properly with the brake fluid and reinstall them in your vehicle.
  3. After this process, check your brakes if they are working efficiently.

6. Damaged Or Clogged Brake Lines

Off-road riding, sudden jumps, and uneven roads can damage the brake lines and due to cracks and blockages in the brake lines ATV brakes do not hold pressure. But you can fix it easily.


  1. Remove the brake lines from the ATV
  2. Then check if they are worn or damaged. In this case, replace them with new brake lines by following all the instructions.
  3. After the installation of new brakes, a bleed brake system to remove air bubbles from it, and run the engine to see if your ATV is running smoothly.

7. Fluid Leakage In Brakes

Fluid Leakage In Brakes
Source: buybrakes

Fluid leakage is indeed one of the main causes of pressureless brakes in ATVs. If you want to overcome the problem of pressureless brakes then examine all parts closely to see where the real problem lies.


  1. Check all the inner components including calipers, brake lines, and master cylinder.
  2. If you see any sign of damage then try to fix it or replace the old parts with new ones.
  3. Then refill the brake fluid reservoir and test your vehicle to see if it is working properly.

8. Imbalanced Disc Brakes

Imbalanced disc brakes reduce the braking power and welcome unpleasant situations like crashing and collisions. Do check the brake system to avoid any unwanted circumstances.


  1. Brake imbalance is due to the inner components of the brake system. Check all the inner parts that consist of brake pads, shoes, rotors, and calipers
  2. If there is any damaged part then replace it with the new one.
  3. Reinstall new parts with proper care and then take your ATV for a test drive to ensure its smooth functioning.


In short, ATV brakes won’t hold pressure due to worn brake pads, contaminated or low brake fluid, faulty master cylinder, or air trapped in the system.

We have discussed all the causes alongwith their solutions to make things easy for you.  

If you are still facing any issues regarding your vehicle then it is better to consult an experienced mechanic since he is better at fixing things.