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Harley-Davidson Braking Problems Result in Recall of 175k Motorcycles

Nearly 175,000 Harley-Davidson motorcycles have been recalled due to a risk that the the brakes may fail, increasing the risk of an accident and serious injury. 

The Harley-Davidson motorcycle recall was announced by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on February 5, due to the potential for deposits to form on components of the braking system, which could disrupt the operators ability to control the motorcycle. To date, no injuries or crashes have been reported in relation to the recall.

The recall warns that the deposits could build up over time if the Dot 4 brake fluid is not replaced for a prolonged period of time beyond the two year maintenance recommendation specified in the Owner’s Manual. In the event deposits form within the components, a valve within the ABS Hydraulic Control Unit may stick and reduce the driver ability to brake, increasing the risk of a crash and serious injuries.

In the event deposits begin to form in the braking system, drivers may begin to notice the front brake lever or rear brake pedal will begin to have more resistance than normal, and may not be able to be actuated right after starting the motorcycle.

According to the recall notice, Harley-Davidson’s field data indicated that a high number of motorcycle owners had not reported having the DOT 4 brake fluid flushed in accordance with the Owner’s Manual instructions.

In an effort to prevent owners who may not be aware of the required brake fluid flush from being involved in a crash, Harley-Davidson decided to issue a recall campaign to offer a one-time brake fluid flush and to reinforce the importance of the required maintenance.

Owners are being asked to visit the NHTSA Harley-Davidson recall safety report (PDF) to view the list of recalled model year motorcycles.

The manufacturer has begun notifying customers of the recall campaign by mail with instruction on how to schedule an appointment at their local dealer, where dealers will flush the entire brake system with a new Platinum Label DOT 4 brake fluid free of charge.

Customers with additional questions or concerns regarding the recall may contact Harley-Davidson Customers Service at 1-800-424-9153 and reference the recall number 0171.

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