Harley-Davidson Recalls 174,636 Motorcycles: Possible Brake Failure

Harley-Davidson Recalls 174,636 Motorcycles: Possible Brake Failure Road King
2011 Harley-Davidson Road King, part of huge recall

Potential Brake Failure Problem Triggers Huge Harley-Davidson Touring and VSRC Recall

Harley-Davidson has recalled 174,636 of its 2008-2011 Touring, CVO Touring and VSRC (V-Rod) motorcycles equipped with anti-lock brakes (ABS).

Harley reports that the bikes affected (listed below) in The Motor Company’s largest recall (behind clutch recall in 2014 that affected 128,000 Tourer and Softail motorcycles) may experience brake failure due to older brake fluid absorbing moisture and not functioning properly.

Harley-Davidson Recalls 174,636 Motorcycles: Possible Brake Failure Road King
2011 Harley-Davidson Road King, part of huge recall

The recall announcement indicates that deposits may form on components within the brake system if the DOT 4 brake fluid is not replaced for a prolonged period of time beyond the 2-year maintenance schedule specified in the Owner’s Manual.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened an investigation of the problem in July 2016.

The chronology of the investigation states: “NHTSA opens investigation PE16-009 to evaluate ABS module failures ‘resulting from brake fluid absorbing moisture from the surrounding environment’ on MY2008 – 2011 ABS-equipped motorcycles. The Opening Resume states: ‘[t]he ‘old’ fluid, which is hygroscopic, becomes contaminated by moisture and allegedly corrodes the ABS actuator valves.

“The valves then fail to cycle and the affected brake calipers are no longer actuated when riders apply the brake(s). While it may be true that the complainants failed to adhere to Harley Davidson’s 2 year brake fluid service interval requirement, the consequent sudden and complete loss of brake(s), without warning, is a concern.’”

From October to December 2016, Harley-Davidson “launched a 10-Channel Communication Campaign to further educate customers on the specified maintenance schedule related to brake fluid flushing on motorcycles that use DOT4 brake fluid.”

And on 6/2/17 Harley-Davidson issued a letter to all identified owners of 2008-2013 Touring/CVO Touring/VRSC model motorcycles explaining importance of flushing brake fluid in accordance with service requirements.

Harley-Davidson Recalls 174,636 Motorcycles: Possible Brake Failure - 2011 CVO Street Glide
2011 Harley-Davidson CVO Street Glide, part of huge recall

On January 24, 2018 Harley-Davidson decided to conduct a voluntary recall to provide a free one-time brake fluid flush using a new fluid (H-D Platinum Label DOT 4 Brake Fluid) on MY2008 – 2011 Touring, CVO Touring and VRSC motorcycles equipped with ABS and to again reinforce the importance of regular brake fluid flushes.

Harley-Davidson will notify owners, and dealers will flush the entire brake system with new Platinum Label DOT 4 brake fluid, free of charge. The recall is expected to begin February 12, 2018. Owners may contact Harley-Davidson customer service at 1-800-258-2464. Harley-Davidson’s number for this recall is 0171.

The recall may include the following 2008-2011 Harley-Davidson motorcycles:

All years

  • Road King (FLHR)
  • Road King Police (EFI) (FLHP)
  • Road King Police (EFI) (FLHPE)
  • Electra Glide Standard Police (EFI) (FLHTP)
  • Electra Glide Classic (EFI) (FLHTC)
  • Electra Glide Ultra Classic (EFI) (FLHTCU)
  • Street Glide (EFI) (FLHX)


  • CVO Road King 4 (FLHRSE4)
  • Night Rod (VRSCDA)
  • CVO Ultra Classic 3 (FLHTCUSE3)
  • Night Rod Special (VRSCDXA)


  • Road King Classic (EFI) (FLHRC)


  • Road Glide (EFI) (FLTR)
  • Electra Glide Standard (EFI) (FLHT)


  • V-Rod (VRSCAW)
Harley-Davidson Recalls 174,636 Motorcycles: Possible Brake Failure 2009 V-Rod
2009 Harley-Davidson V-Rod, part of the huge recall


  • CVO Ultra Classic (FLHTCUSE4)
  • CVO Road Glide 3 (FLTRSE3)


  • Night Rod Special (VRSCDX)
  • V-Rod Muscle (VRSCF)


  • CVO Ultra Classic 5 (FLHTCUSE5)
  • CVO Street Glide (FLHXSE)


  • Electra Glide Ultra Limited (FLHTK)
  • Road Glide Custom (FLTRX)


  • Road Glide Ultra 103 (FLTRU103)
  • Street Glide 103 (FLHX103)
  • Road King Classic 103 (FLHRC103)
  • CVO Ultra Classic 6 (FLHTCUSE6)
  • CVO Road Glide Ultra (FLTRUSE)
  • Road Glide Custom 103 (FLTRX103)
  • CVO Street Glide 2 (FLHXSE2)

Owners may also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov . The NHTSA Campaign Number is18V076000.