Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Emergency Brake Control

As a safety feature, all road going cars and trucks are equipped with some sort of emergency / parking brake system for parking and manual braking in emergency situations. The emergency brake is meant to only be used as a means to stop the car if the vehicle’s primary braking system fails. In the event of some sort of hydraulic or electronic brake failure that disables the main brakes, the vehicle can still be stopped using the emergency brakes. Emergency brakes also double as an additional safety method to secure the vehicle when parked.

Most emergency brakes are controlled by a simple handle or lever mechanism that engages the emergency brakes when set. The handle or pedal is connected to switches that will detect if it is set or not. It is also connected to a steel braided cable that will set the emergency brakes when it is pulled. As the emergency brake control mechanism is the direct means for activating the emergency brake, when it has any issues, it can cause problems with the functionality of the emergency and parking brake. Usually a problematic emergency brake control mechanism will produce a few symptoms that can alert the driver of a potential issue that should be serviced.

1. Emergency / Parking brake does not properly engage

One of the first symptoms of a problem with the emergency brake control mechanism is a parking brake that does not properly engage. If there is any problem with the parking brake handle or lever, it may cause the emergency brake to not function correctly. This may cause difficulty when parking on inclines, and will leave the vehicle without a suitable brake in emergency situations.

2. Emergency / Parking brake does not disengage

Another symptom of a bad or failing emergency brake mechanism is a parking brake that does not disengage, or one that does not disengage properly. If the parking brake pedal or lever jams, or has any issue, it can cause problems disengaging the parking brake. This is a problem, as driving with a parking brake engaged can cause the brakes to overheat and sustain damage.

3. No resistance at parking brake pedal or lever

Another symptom of a problem with the emergency brake control mechanism is no resistance at the pedal or lever. If the lever or pedal breaks, this may cause zero resistance at the pedal. This can also be caused by a defective parking brake cable, so having the pedal checked is highly recommended.

Emergency brakes are an important feature that is mandatory on all vehicles, and any problem with the control mechanism can leave the vehicle without this emergency feature. If you suspect that your emergency brake control mechanism may be having an issue, have the vehicle inspected by a professional technician, such as one from YourMechanic. They will be able to look at the system and replace your emergency brake control if necessary.


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Johnny

33 years of experience
264 reviews
Johnny
33 years of experience
Toyota RAV4 L4-2.4L - Brake System Inspection - Sacramento, California
Johnny arrived early which was great, he performed the inspection in less than half an hour, and gave us a complete quote for all items needing attention, including the brakes as our main concern. Johnny is fast and efficient so I scheduled the work done by him.
Ford Escape - Brake System Inspection - Sacramento, California
The convenience is worth the cost. I was also tired of the dealership not really caring about my old car. Last couple of times I had to wait well over an hour to get my car after the dealership said "It's ready!". They also wouldn't fix the things I asked saying they didn't have time and I need to come back.

Jay

37 years of experience
947 reviews
Jay
37 years of experience
Chevrolet C10 Pickup V8-5.4L - Brake System Inspection - Moreno Valley, California
Knowledgeable, Professional, Friendly, and PATIENT! Sickeningly HONEST, as I tried to ply him with cash, alcohol, outside work, and wild dancing girls - although I wouldn't have "ratted him out" if he HAD accepted. A guy like this needs a "bigger cut" than what you are paying him ... because loyalty like his is hard to find these days! THANKS!
Volkswagen Jetta - Brake System Inspection - Moreno Valley, California
As usual, Mr. Jay provides efficient and professional quality of work. I would highly recommend him to any customer searching for a good mechanic.

Christopher

10 years of experience
114 reviews
Christopher
10 years of experience
Ford Explorer V6-3.5L - Brake System Inspection - Katy, Texas
Christopher was very knowledgeable and was able to address our concerns. We would trust him with future service needs.

Jesse

16 years of experience
61 reviews
Jesse
16 years of experience
Nissan Frontier V6-3.3L - Brake System Inspection - Flagler Beach, Florida
Jesse took the time to explain everything that was going to be done and why and then proceeded to repair my truck not only professionally but quickly. As a disabled Veteran and no longer able to perform work that was needed to be done it is nice to know a mechanic such as Jesse will take the time to explain all the various issues and what needs to be done before a blanket you need everything. After Jesse went thru everything I felt comfortable that all work was required and needed. 8 can safely say I will use yourmechanoc .com again and hope I can request Jess

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