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Maintaining Your Amphibious ATV’s Brakes

The brakes on your Argo do more than stop. These vehicles use a skid steering system, braking the inside wheels to change direction. Checking your brakes periodically is important to keep both your brakes and steering system in working order. Here’s what you need to look for when you inspect your brakes, and what you need to do to perform basic maintenance.

Brake Fluid

Check the brake fluid level after every 50 hours of use. Wipe off the master cylinder to keep dirt from getting in the brake fluid. Remove the screws holding down the cap, then lift the cap off of the reservoir. Add fluid until the level is within a half inch of the top of the reservoir. Only use DOT 5 brake fluid. This silicone-based fluid isn’t compatible with alcohol-based DOT 3 fluid.

Brake Pads

Inspect the brake pads every 25 hours of operation. Remove the firewall to access the brakes, which are mounted on the sides of the transmission. Replace the pads if there is less than a 1/10th of an inch of pad material left, the pads are glazed, or they are contaminated with oil from a leaking engine or transmission.
To change the pads, remove the cotter pints holding the old pads in place. Pull the pads on one brake straight up out of the calipers. Use a screwdriver or pry bar to push in the caliper piston, then slide in the new pads. Install new cotter pins. Repeat this procedure on the other brake. Rock the handlebars back and forth to activate the brakes. This pushes the caliper pistons out, so the pads sit close to the rotors.
To break in the new pads, drive your XTV to an area with flat ground. Get up to 13 MPH, then use the brakes to drop down to 8 MPH. Repeat 10 times. Shut off the engine, and let the brakes cool. Repeat the process, accelerating and braking 10 more times.

Brake Cooling

A brake cooling fan comes standard on some models, and can be added to any amphibious ATV. Argo recommends installing a fan, if you use your vehicle on snow and ice, operate in extreme summer temperatures, or use low gear regularly. The fan helps the steering brakes stay cool at low speeds.
Check the ducts periodically for dust and debris. The fan should turn on when the ignition is on, even if the engine isn’t running. If it doesn’t, check the electrical connections.

Need Something for Your Argo?

Shank’s Argo is one of the largest dealers in the East. We don’t just sell XTVs, we also have the parts and service you need to get the most from your vehicle. Visit us at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA. You can have our service department do the work for you, or buy the parts you need to do it yourself. Not in the area? Visit us at We can ship the parts and accessories you need to any address in the U.S. or Canada.

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