Is There a Difference Between a Parking Brake and an Emergency Brake?

An auxiliary brake is a brake system that's separate from your regular foot-pedal brake system. Auxiliary brakes are more commonly called a parking brake, an emergency brake, or a handbrake, and are connected to calipers that grip onto the rear wheel rotors. These are not the same calipers that the normal brakes use because the emergency brake system is separate from the main brakes in case of brake failure.

The key difference between auxiliary brakes is that one is called a “parking brake” while the other is called an “emergency brake” but in essence there is no difference. The term "handbrake" is most commonly used in reference to performance vehicles.

Why different names?

The name that a particular brake bears depends on the intended use of it by the manufacturer:

  • When the car has a manual transmission or when the brake is controlled electronically (activated by a button rather than a lever), it's called a parking brake. This is because it's used for keeping the car in place when it's parked on any surface. Manual vehicles are in neutral unless they are left in gear when parked, so the parking brake keeps them in place. Automatic cars benefit from the use of a parking brake, as it protects the parking pawl in the transmission that holds the car in place when the transmission is in Park.

  • The term "emergency brake" is a bit misleading. While the auxiliary brake may be used in an absolute emergency, it is still more useful in the practical sense to use it for parking. Since calling it a "parking brake" may seem confusing to customers who already put the car in park when they park it, it is called an "emergency brake" instead.

  • In a performance or race vehicle, this part is called a handbrake, primarily because this particular brake locks up the rear wheels, allowing drivers to slide their car around corners with relative precision. This is also not a very safe practice, and should never be attempted on public roads.


Schedule Brake Pad Replacement
Service Area

$124.92 - $448.62

Price range for all vehicles
Average rating from 12,227 customers who received a Brake Pads Replacement.

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

Excellent Auto Repair Ratings.

4.2 Average Rating

Auto Repair

Service Hours

7 AM - 9 PM

7 days a week

Phone Number

Phone Hours

Mon - Fri / 6 AM - 5 PM PST

Sat - Sun / 7 AM - 4 PM PST

Address

We come to you at no extra charge

Guarantee

12-month/12,000-mile warranty

Service Area

Recent Brake Pad Replacement reviews

Excellent Rating


YourMechanic Brake Pad Replacement Service

Average Rating

4.9/5

Number of Reviews

12,227

Rating Summary
11,683
346
72
35
91
11,683
346
72
35
91

Rafael

26 years of experience
39 reviews
Rafael
26 years of experience
Mazda 3 - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - Oakland, California
Rafael is great. He's nice, calm, takes his time, knows what he's doing. Competent and honest. Highly recommend him.
Mazda 6 - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Rodeo, California
He was amazing! Was even able to do additional work that was needed for my brakes in the same day. great work! would highly recommend.

Aurelio

35 years of experience
18 reviews
Aurelio
35 years of experience
Nissan Maxima - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - San Antonio, Texas
Aurelio has done it again!!! Great service and completed faster than I expected. Very happy to say he is MY mechanic for any and all my car maintenance. Great Trustworthy person all the around and extremely knowledgeable. I appreciate him always taking the time to explain car stuff and answer any questions I have.

Pierre

8 years of experience
109 reviews
Pierre
8 years of experience
Toyota Venza - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Stoughton, Massachusetts
Arrived earlier than scheduled and completed all the work required. His demeanor and knowledge was great and I am very happy with the work!

Bryant

11 years of experience
405 reviews
Bryant
11 years of experience
Scion iA - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Carmel, Indiana
This is my first time using this service. I am very happy with it. Bryant was very knowledgeable and did quality work. I will use this service more regularly.

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