Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

How to Adjust a Parking Brake Cable

parking brake lever being pulled

A parking brake is both a safety feature and a necessity in many parts of the world. Parking brakes are used to secure the vehicle, preventing it from moving or rolling away when the car is parked. Many different things can cause the parking brake to loose its grip or fail completely.

If you notice that the brake lever needs to be pulled up many times or clicked many times before it engages, you may need to adjust the parking brake cable in your vehicle. If your parking brake is in good working order but does not hold like it used to, follow the steps given in this article to adjust your parking brake.

  • Note: This article covers the adjustment method for parking brakes with a lever type engagement. Your vehicle may have a different style brake and the parts involved may just be in different positions, but the adjustment procedure will be similar.

Part 1 of 3: Locate the parking brake cable adjuster

Materials Needed

parking brake being pulled

Step 1: Check the parking brake clicks. Slowly pull up on the parking brake and feel the engagement point.

Count the number of clicks it takes before the brake becomes tight.

Compare the number of clicks to the number recommended by the owner’s manual.

Step 2: Locate the parking brake lever boot. The parking brake lever mounted on the center console contains a boot around the brake lever.

Under this boot you will find the workings of the parking brake.

  • Note: Some cars may have a different procedure to access the adjuster and additional components in the console may need to be removed on your specific vehicle.

parking brake boot being raised

Use a plastic pry tool to gently pry around the edges of the boot. Raise the boot up until you can view the adjustment bolt.

Park 2 of 3: Adjust the parking brake

Step 1: Adjusting the parking brake. The adjustment bolt will be located on the parking brake lever. This bolt tightens the cable leading to the rear brakes.

parking brake assembly and adjustment screw shown

Tighten the bolt by a few turns and then check the parking brake cable. Check the brake by pulling the lever up and feel for tightness. Keep tightening the bolt until the proper tightness is achieved.

Part 3 of 3: Check the final operation

Step 1: Put the brake lever boot back. Once the parking brake cable is adjusted to a satisfactory level, put the parking brake lever boot back into its original location.

Reinstall any other parts that were removed to access the parking brake assembly, if needed.

Step 2: Check the operation of the parking brake. To check the parking brake operation engage the parking brake and place the transmission in neutral. It should be tight at this point.

Exit the vehicle and go to the front of the vehicle. Gently push back on the car, it should not move at all with the brake engaged.

Now that your parking brake is adjusted, you can safely park on hills with the knowledge that your vehicle will not roll down hill when you leave it.

If you find that your parking brake is stuck or if it does not release, get a certified mechanic from YourMechanic to inspect it for you.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

Post a question and get free advice from our certified mechanics.

ASK A QUESTION

More related articles

How to Find the Keyless Code on a Ford Explorer or Mercury Mountaineer
Many Ford Explorers and Mercury Mountaineers were manufactured with an option known as the Ford keyless entry keypad. Some models refer to it as SecuriCode as well. It...
How to Transfer a Car Title in Idaho
In order to prove ownership of a car, you must have the title. However, when a car is sold, given away or inherited, the title needs...
Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...


Related questions

Q: What does the Brake Warning Light on the dash mean?

The Brake Warning Light on the dash of your Altima should come on briefly when you first crank the engine. It should turn off quickly afterward, though. If it doesn’t turn off, it can indicate a couple of different things....

Q: Emergency brake stuck

This is a common issue on the Ions. The lever on the caliper will not release the parking brake. Sometimes re-engaging the parking brake lever will release the emergency brake but generally will only work for a short period of...

Q: Parking brake does not disengage.

Hello, I assuming that when you push the button on the parking brake lever the lever drops but the parking brake stays engaged. From what it sounds like there is a cable stuck, keep the parking brake applied. If you...