Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Emergency / Parking Brake Cable

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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.


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YourMechanic Brake Pad Replacement Service

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4.9/5

Number of Reviews

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Rating Summary
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10,671
333
68
34
85

Michael

15 years of experience
518 reviews
Michael
15 years of experience
Mercedes-Benz GL450 - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Atlanta, Georgia
Micheal was punctual and friendly. Work was completed within promised time. Will definitely use again.
Volvo S80 - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Roswell, Georgia
Michael was SUPER QUICK with doing my brake and rotors. Great communication throughout the whole process. Will always recommend

Kenneth

19 years of experience
509 reviews
Kenneth
19 years of experience
Toyota Sequoia - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Newport Beach, California
Kenneth did a great job and very knowledgeable. He has a great attitude and I will for sure be using him again.

Chuy

13 years of experience
129 reviews
Chuy
13 years of experience
Honda Civic - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - Cicero, Illinois
Excellent work on doing the breaks for my car and the break and steering system flush I’ll definitely recommend and take into consideration for chuy’s work whenever I need a fix on my car

Richard

16 years of experience
72 reviews
Richard
16 years of experience
BMW 328i - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Dublin, California
Richard was an outstanding mechanic. After he arrived, the first thing he did after taking the initial pictures of the car is an assessment into what work was asked. He quickly verified that I did not need brake fluid and my front brakes even-though it affects his personal commitments and time, which I think is highly appreciate and thorough professional. He was detailed oriented - took time to make sure that all the issue are fixed. He paid attention to detail in overall car assessment- he goes above and beyond. He was also teaching me through the process which I found highly educational and appreciate him providing the information ensuring and making me comfortable what he was doing and explaining patiently all the questions that was thrown at him. When he works - you know he's highly skilled and experienced and knows his stuff. He is highly experienced. He is a "Master" mechanic in true sense :)

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