7 Steps of Harley Davidson Brake Pad Replacement: Front & Rear A Quick Guide

Are you also among the Harley riders who often face brake pads issues? Are you worried about Harley Davidson brake pad replacement?

Even though the Harley bike offers desirable qualities, it also faces pesky and costly issues and, worn-out brake pads are one of them.

Let’s have a look at the article and learn about the Harley Davidson brake pad replacement.


How Does Front & Rear Brake Pad Work On Harley?

As we know that, brakes are the most critical safety feature on a bike; Harley Davidson Softail designed the brake system with excellent cast-iron and stainless steel suitable for high performance.

Do you have any idea how the brake pads work on your Harley?

The Harley pads are the high friction physical entity in the brake system that a caliper uses to convert kinetic energy into thermal energy in the form of abrasion.

Furthermore, the front and rear brake pads perform their particular function accurately and repeatedly by maintaining thermal stability.

Now that you know their working mechanism- let’s learn how to detect a bad brake pad.

Bad Brake Pad Symptoms?

Like every other system, a brake pad needs maintenance at regular intervals to keep it functional and efficient.

However, if you don’t consider it your priority, it wears down over time due to friction and fails to work as effectively as it should.

Following symptoms should help you examine whether you have bad pads or not. Whenever you apply the brake, it;

  • Wobbles & vibrates violently
  • Generates squealing or grinding noises
  • Cranks and clicks
  • Red or Yellow brake indicators
  • Pulls the car to one side
  • Releases sharp & burning odor.

How Do You Test Your Harley Brake Pads?

Functional brake pads are an integral part of your Harley brake system; if they wear down over time, you need to test them.

Now you may be wondering how to test the Harley brake pad to ensure your safety and brake system lifetime?

It’s simple; but, make sure your brakes cool down for at least an hour before you begin inspecting.

Firstly, test the brake fluid of your Harley. If it is dark and dirty, you may need some fresh brake fluid.

Now check if the brake pads and wheel of your Harley bike are dusty. If you notice that they are clean and clear, you need immediate Harley Davidson brake pad replacement.

How to Change Front Brake Pads On Harley Davidson Softail?

Are you thinking of changing the front-brake pads of your Harley Davidson bike to save you a lot of money?

Almost all bikes have front brake pads nowadays; however, they wear out more quickly than the rear ones.

Consequently, front brake pads need to be changed more often. So, get ready and learn about Harley Davidson front brake pad replacement.


If you plan to change the front brake pads of your bike, you need the following tools. The plus point is; they are easy to manage and easy to find.

  • Mechanic’s protective eyewear & disposable gloves
  • Jack & Jack stand
  • Lug nut wrench to discard the wheel nuts
  • C-Clamp tool to compress and retract the piston
  • Allen wrench apparatus to hold brake calipers in place


As per expert mechanics, you can replace your Harley bike pads within 30 minutes to 1 hour.


The front brake pads of your Harley bike cost ranges between $100 and $250.

Step-by-Step Process of Harley Davidson Brake Pad Replacement

Now you may be wondering how to change front & rear brake pads on Harley Davidson Softail? Don’t bother thinking! Just go through our step-by-step guide.

01. Mount the Bike & Remove the Front Wheel

Off the engine, until it cools off before mounting the bike. Now remove the front wheel and put the jack in its place, lift it off to exert some pressure on the jack.

02. Unscrew & Remove the Front Bolts

Unscrew the bolts from the top of the front brake till they loosen, remove the bolts from caliper pins and lift the caliper off the brake disc.

03. Pivot the Caliper With Screwdriver

Use the screwdriver to push the brake pads, pivot up the caliper and force its pistons into the caliper body.

04. Use Wrench to Slide Out the Old Brake Pads

After lifting and lubricating the caliper, use a wrench to pull the brake pads out of the caliper bracket and slide out the retaining clips.

05. Install New Brake Pads With Retainer Clips

Reattach the caliper brackets and install the new brake pads in place of the old ones; however, fit them properly to avoid issues.

06. Remount the Caliper & Front Wheel

Now retract the piston, remount the caliper over the new brake pads, insert the anchoring bolts to hold the caliper in place, and fit the wheel.

07. Pump the Front Brake Pedals

Let’s pump the front brake pedals repeatedly after inserting the wheel to reengage the caliper pistons and enclose the brake pads.

Can You Change ONLY Front Brake Pads?

Yes, you can change only the front brake pads of your Harley as both the brake pads wear out at different rates.

However, they need replacement more often because they are more active and wear out faster.

How to Change Rear Brake Pads on Harley Softail?

Are you interested in understanding the general mechanism behind Harley Davidson rear brake pad replacement?

Let’s go through this article to learn about the tools, time & cost and, simple procedure to change the rear pads of your bike.


Although the tools needed to replace the rear brake pads are the same as the front ones, you also need the tools listed below.

  • Caliper piston retractor tools
  • Brake torque wrench
  • Premium quality brake pads and rotators
  • Brake pads specific lubricants
  • Brake pad bleeder wrench


In general, an expert person needs 30-60 minutes to replace the old brake with the new ones in your Harley bike.


The estimated cost for the Harley rear brake pads is between $100 and $300.

Step by step process

Harley Davidson brake pad replacement is among the maintenance procedures you will have to perform once in a while.

01. Mount the Bike & Remove the Rear Wheel

This step is the same as the front brake pads replacement; you need to mount the bike, set the jack, loosen the nuts and remove the wheel.

02. Unscrew & Remove the Slider Bolts From Calipers

Now unscrew the bolts from the top of the brake, remove the slider bolts and use mechanic wires to lift the caliper.

03. Pivot & Lubricate the Calipers

Pivot up the caliper; it flexes the rubber hose. Now wipe the caliper pins and brush them with silicone lubricant.

04. Remove the Worn-out Brake Pads

After lifting the pivot, brake pads expose; slide out the worn-out brake pads and pull the old stainless steel clips.

05. Insert New Brake Pads and Calipers

Now use new retainer clips, reattach the caliper brackets, and fix the new brake pads in the clip-like grooves of caliper brackets.

06. Reinstall the Rear Wheel

Now lower the calipers in their place, retract the pistons to make room fr brake pads, and remount the rear wheel using nuts.

07. Pump the Rear Brake Pedals

After remounting the wheel, make sure to pump the rear brake pedals properly to fix the brake pads around the brake disc.

Can You Change ONLY Rear Brake Pads?

As we said before- front and rear brake pads work & wear down at different rates; therefore, it’s not a hard and fast rule to replace both tires at once.

Shortly, you can change only the rear brake pads of your Harley Softail if you want.

Best Brakes For Harley Davidson Softail and Sportster

Are you hunting for the best brakes for Harley Davidson Softail and Sportster to keep your bike’s brake system updated?

Don’t worry, and stay connected with us to help you decide the best brake pads on the market.

01. ECCPP FA400 Front and Rear Carbon Brake Pads Kits


Highlighted Features

  • Fingertip Control System
  • Carbon metal brake pads
  • 15 lb weight

These are among the most recommended top-selling brake pads made with copper fibers, Kevlar, and Carbon.

Carbon Kevlar Brake pads ensure high resistance to heat and excellent stopping power with their superb fingertip brake power and control.

‘’Although it offers nice pads, there are several pad fitting issues. Also, it is a bit heavy; overall, it is perfect for regular bike users.’’

What We Liked

  • Suitable for regular speed purpose
  • Produces less noise and dust
  • Economical and durable
  • Provides excellent thermal stability

What We Didn’t Like

  • Weighs heavier

02. Foreverun Motor Front and Rear Sintered Brake Pads


Highlighted Features

  • Sintered metal brake pads
  • Replaceable rear & front clippers
  • Two sets of HQ brake pads

The Sintered brake pads feature quality performance and a premium exhaust system to manage heat dissipation. Furthermore, they are easy to ride even on muds and wet roads.

‘’In general, they offer everything you need in a bike; however, they lack in terms of noise issues. Nevertheless, the sintered brake pads are worth a try.’’

What We Liked

  • Suitable for racing
  • Impressive performance & durability
  • Excellent heat dissipation
  • Works great on wet roads with anti-slip grip

What We Didn’t Like

  • Rowdy & Noisy

Harley Davidson Brake Pad Replacement Cost

The Harley Davidson brake job cost depends on two typical factors; it’s quality and endurance time.

If you opt for these two factors, the overall cost may increase; it promises more efficacy with little to no maintenance charges.

Let’s read the article to learn more about the DIY and Professional cost of Harley pads.

DIY Cost

If you are planning to replace the brake pads of your bike yourself, you can save a good amount of money; however, there is no hard and fast answer if you inquire how much new brakes cost, to be exact.

Provided that there is no labor cost, the brake pad replacement may vary between $40 and $80 per set.

Professional Cost

If you are looking for a professional mechanic to replace the brake pads of your Harley, the overall expense would be a new brake pad cost plus labor cost.

So, as you guessed, the professional cost is much more than the DIY cost- that may vary between $100 and $300 per axle.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the best Harley Davidson bike for me?

When it comes to finding the best Harley bike, we recommend choosing among these popular models;

  • 2008 FXDWG Dyna Wide Glide
  • 2012 CVO Softail Convertible
  • VRSCDX Night Rod Special

How much does the Harley Davidson brake job cost?

As we cleared before, it depends on the quality and endurance time of the brake pad in question.

If your priority is quality work, you might have to pay some extra cost. However, if you are looking for a low-cost brake job, you have no option but to compromise the quality.

Overall, the estimated expense ranges between $100 and $300 for the Harley brake job.

Can I replace the brake pads and discs myself?

Yes, of course, you can replace the brake pads yourself by following our step-to-step guide to replace the Harley Softail pads.

However, you must be careful and precautious while doing your job.

How can I guess if my bike brakes fluid needs to be changed?

There is no rocket science; make sure to check if the brake fluid is clear of any dirt.

If the color of your Harley brake fluid is dark and dull, you need brake pad replacement.

Can I use mediocre-quality brake pads on my bike?

Although it’s not a hard and fast rule to use premium quality brake pads, you can also use mediocre quality products. However, we suggest using the former pads to get more brake efficacy with maximum durability.


In our discussion of how to change front & rear brake pads on Harley Davidson Softail, were you able to find your answers? How did your experience go with Harley brake pads replacement?

In our opinion, your bike brake rotors and pads need replacement after covering a specific mileage to ensure maximum efficiency and maximum life span.

We hope you managed to analyze and replace your Harley Softail brake pads in an affordable price range. Be sure to provide us with your feedback.