Q: Do I need to fix my parking brake on my automatic car?

asked by on November 09, 2015

I drive an automatic car and my parking (emergency) brake no longer works. Do I really need a parking brake when the “park” position on my shifter works fine? I angle the wheels when parking on an incline.

I would have to say yes! Cars are required to be equipped with a parking brake. The parking brake assists the transmission in keeping the vehicle stationary. When you put your vehicle in “park,” a metal rod about the size of a pinky finger (called the parking pawl) slips into a notch that holds the transmission in place. All the weight of your car is resting on this one rod inside your transmission. Therefore, it is important to get your parking brake fixed to avoid damage to your car if the transmission cannot hold the weight of the car alone.

It is recommended to aim your wheels toward the curb as an extra precaution if your parking brake fails.

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

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

F-150 loses power while trying to go reverse

Fix your exhaust and coil packs first, because if you'd want to get everything running right and your exhaust is leaking, that messes with your air flow out of the exhaust, which makes the oxygen sensors respond weirdly and can...

Possible booster needed - 1996 Lexus LX450

A "normal" brake job only addresses wearing parts like brake pads and rotors (or brake shoes and drums on drum brake vehicles). The brake booster rarely fails, and then usually because the brake master cylinder has allowed brake fluid to...

When I brake it makes a loud grinding noise

Hi, thanks for writing in. This is a sign of bad or warped brake rotors. When brake rotors get hot due to friction and then col down repeatedly, they can develop low spots in them which can cause them to...

Related articles

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Brake Master Cylinder
Common signs of a faulty brake master cylinder include abnormal brake pedal behavior, contaminated brake fluid, and the Check Engine Light turning on.
How to Handle a Car With Total Brake Failure
Brake Brake failure is terrifying and most motorists consider it to be a worst-case scenario. Here are a few things to keep in mind in case you find yourself in such a situation. Awareness of your surroundings is key....
How to Decide Between Manual and Automatic Transmissions
There There are a lot of decisions that have to be made when buying a new car. Everything from choosing a make, model, and trim level to deciding if upgrading the stereo is worth the extra money. One of the...