Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Emergency Brake Control

emergency brake

Bad or Failing Emergency Brake Control Inspection

by a top-rated mechanic at your home or office

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.

HAVE SYMPTOMS OF CAR TROUBLE?
Get an $80 diagnostic
by a top-rated mechanic at your home or office.

Get a quote · Book an Appointment · Our expert mechanics come to you.

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.

HAVE SYMPTOMS OF CAR TROUBLE?
Get your car fixed at your home or office.

Get a quote · Book an Appointment · Our expert mechanics come to you.

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.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Still not sure about your car's issue?
Diagnose your car
What kind of issue are you experiencing?
Brakes are squeaking
Car is not starting
Car is overheating
Car is shaking (vibrating)
Fluids are leaking
Heating and A/C
Smoke or steam is coming out of the car
Warning light is on
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

More related articles

P0121 OBD-II Trouble Code: TPS "A" Circuit Range Performance Problem
P0121 code definition Throttle Pedal Position Sensor/Switch (TPS) A Circuit Range Performance Problem...
P0240 OBD-II Trouble Code: Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance
P0240 code definition Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance What the P0240 code means P0240 is an OBD-II generic code triggered when the Engine Control Module (ECM) detects the intake boost...
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...


Related questions

Q: Emergency break light won't shut off

Hello. Thank you for writing in. There are a few issues that will cause the light to stay on. One of the most common is that the parking brake cable get stretched out and either needs to be adjusted or...

Q: Brakes not pumping up.

The best thing to do with a new master cylinder is to bench bleed it. Here's how: You use a vice to grab the nubs of the master cylinder and mount it up about waist high. If you don't...

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...