Harley Davidson Recalls 175K Bikes In U.S. Because Brakes Might Fail

An expert says a disturbing number of cars that are the subject of recalls are going unfixed.

Harley-Davidson is recalling several hundred thousand motorcycles because the brakes might fail.

The voluntary recall, which last week Harley said would cost it $29.4 million, covers CVO Touring and VSRC bikes — model years 2008 through 2011 — equipped with anti-lock brakes.

Worldwide it includes more than 251,000 motorcycles, with nearly 175,000 of those bikes sold in the U.S. 

In July 2016, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began investigating problems with the brakes after getting 43 complaints, including reports of three crashes and two injuries.

The problem is linked to a module that's part of Harley's anti-lock brake system that can corrode and fail without warning. Usually, only the front or rear brakes won't work. But in one case, both systems gave out, resulting in a low-speed crash into a garage door,

The trouble appears to lie with the brake fluid, which some owners apparently aren't changing as required every two years. 

The old fluid can become contaminated by moisture and may be corroding the anti-lock brake system's actuator valves. If it does, the valves won't work.

"While it may be true that complainants failed to adhere to Harley-Davidson's two-year brake fluid service interval requirement, the consequent sudden and complete loss of brakes, without warning, is a concern," the recall documents said. 

Dealers will flush and replace brake fluid starting Feb. 12.

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