Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls
  1. Home
  2. Articles
  3. Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Emergency / Parking Brake Cable

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Emergency / Parking Brake Cable

parking brake cable

The parking brake cable is the cable that many vehicle’s use to engage their parking brakes. It is usually a steel braided cable wrapped in a protective sheath, and is used as a mechanical means of activating the vehicle’s parking brakes. When the parking brake lever is pulled, or the pedal is depressed, the cable pulls on the calipers or brake drums to engage the parking brake of the vehicle. The parking brake is used to secure the vehicle so that it will not roll when parked or stationary. This feature is especially important when parking or stopping the vehicle on inclines or hills, where a vehicle is more likely to roll and is at at risk of an accident. When the parking brake cable fails or has any issues, it can leave the vehicle without this critical safety feature. Usually a bad or failing parking brake cable will produce a few symptoms that can alert the driver of a potential issue that should be serviced.

1. Parking brake does not hold car properly

The most common symptom of a problem with the parking brake cable is a parking brake that does not properly hold the vehicle. If the parking brake cable becomes excessively worn or stretched, it will not be able to pull the the parking brake as tightly. This will result in the parking brake not being able to hold the weight of the vehicle, which may cause it to roll or lean, even when the parking brake is fully engaged.

2. Parking brake does not function

Another symptom of a problem with the parking brake cable is a parking brake that does not function. If the cable snaps or breaks, it will disable the parking brake. The parking brake will not function and the pedal or lever may be loose.

3. Parking Brake Light comes on

Another symptom of a problem with the parking brake cable is an illuminated Parking Brake Warning Light. The Parking Brake Warning Light comes on when the brake is set so that the driver does not drive with the brake engaged. If the Parking Brake Light becomes illuminated even when the brake handle or pedal has been released, then this may be an indicator that the cable may be stuck or jammed, and the brake may not be releasing properly.

Parking brakes are a feature found on virtually all road going vehicles and are an important parking and safety feature. If you suspect that your parking brake cable may be having an issue, have the vehicle inspected by a professional technician, such as one from YourMechanic, to determine if the vehicle needs a parking brake cable replacement.

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

Insurance Requirements for Car Registration in Kentucky
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet requires that all drivers in Kentucky carry liability automotive insurance, or “financial responsibility” in order to operate a vehicle legally and maintain vehicle...
Veteran and Military Driver Laws and Benefits in Idaho
The state of Idaho offers a number of benefits and perks for those Americans who have either served in an Armed Forces branch in the...
P0291OBD-II Trouble Code: Cylinder 11 Injector Circuit Low
P0291 code definition When your vehicle’s PCM registers the P0291 code, it means that a voltage reading came from the fuel injector circuit – for cylinder number 11’s fuel injector –...

Related questions

Q: Q: What does the front fog lamp light mean?

The front fog lamp light is located on your instrument panel. When the front fog lamps are turned on, the front fog lamp light will illuminate.

Q: Battery dead, dash lighs on, chugging noise, RPMs fluctuating

Considering that your vehicle was dead, required a jumpstart, and had multiple unrelated lights coming on I would say you may have an alternator issue. Alternators are responsible for keeping all of the electronics in your vehicle powered up while...

Q: What does the Cal message mean?

The Cal message can appear on your driver information center (DIC). When the DIC displays this alert, it means that the DIC compass needs to be calibrated. If this alert is accompanied by three dashes, then your compass is not...