Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Emergency / 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.


Next Step

Schedule Brake System Inspection

The most popular service booked by readers of this article is Brake System Inspection. Once the problem has been diagnosed, you will be provided with an upfront quote for the recommended fix and receive $20.00 off as a credit towards the repair. YourMechanic’s technicians bring the dealership to you by performing this job at your home or office 7-days a week between 7AM-9PM. We currently cover over 2,000 cities and have 100k+ 5-star reviews... LEARN MORE

SEE PRICING & SCHEDULING

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

Recent Brake System Inspection reviews

Excellent Rating

(261)

Rating Summary
245
8
2
1
5
245
8
2
1
5

JOHNNY

33 years of experience
102 reviews
JOHNNY
33 years of experience
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.
Toyota Camry - Brake System Inspection - Carmichael, California
Johnny was early, friendly, and thorough! He explained things to me about my car that I had no idea about before! I booked him for a diagnostic appointment and I’m definitely requesting him for a follow-up!

Jay

37 years of experience
850 reviews
Jay
37 years of experience
Chevrolet C10 Pickup - 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.

Benji

22 years of experience
201 reviews
Benji
22 years of experience
Land Rover Range Rover Sport - Brake System Inspection - Phoenix, Arizona
Benji performed a detailed inspection on my 2007 Range Rover and completed the work very quickly. Highly recommend!!
Lincoln MKX - Brake System Inspection - Gilbert, Arizona
Very professional and knowledgeable. Very good business sense and cordial. Thank you for taking care of my car today! ☺

Robert

22 years of experience
185 reviews
Robert
22 years of experience
Toyota Prius - Brake System Inspection - Grapevine, Texas
Very pleasant, helpful demeanor. Answered questions willingly and helpfully. Today was just a diagnosis; he'll do the repair in a couple of days - very quick response.

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

Related articles

How to Break in Brake Pads
Having new brake pads and rotors installed happens on a regular basis. Once those brake pads and rotors are mounted, it is...
Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Emergency / Parking Brake Shoe
If your parking brake does not properly hold the vehicle or does not function at all, you may need to replace a parking brake shoe.
What Does the Low Fuel Level Warning Light Mean?
The low fuel level light warns you when your car is nearing an empty tank of gas. It should be refilled before driving several more miles.

Related questions

Brake pedal stuck to floor - 1972 Volkswagen Super Beetle

Hello. There is a return spring on the assembly that must be dislodged or broken somehow, and when this happens there will be issues with the pedal returning. Have the pedal assembly and the hydraulic portion of the system inspected...

What do I do if the gas pedal on my truck gets stuck?

In case of an emergency, your truck is equipped with a Brake Over Accelerator feature. This feature allows you to stop the car if the gas pedal gets stuck. To use the Brake Over Accelerator feature. Steadily press the...

What are some signs of brake wear?

Brakes are an important part of your driving experience. Without them, driving would not be safe, so it is important that you make sure they are always functioning properly. To look for signs of brake wear. Some brake noise...

How can we help?

Our service team is available 7 days a week, Monday - Friday from 6 AM to 5 PM PST, Saturday - Sunday 7 AM - 4 PM PST.

1 (855) 347-2779 · hi@yourmechanic.com