Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

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

asked by on

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?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

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

Q: Car slips out of gear

Hello! I suggest having the transmission module tested by a technician. There are certain specifications of resistance and voltages a module must have to properly work. Both resistance and voltage can be tested with a multimeter. If it fails testing...

Q: My 2015 Lexus GX460 parking brake needs adjusting, is there any way to adjust it? The car is AWD , an think it has 4 wheel disk br

There are adjusters within the parking brake shoe assembly on each rear wheel. To access the adjusters, the rotors are removed, and through an iterative process, the adjustment is made. If you desire that your parking brake be adjusted, please...

Q: 2012 BMW 535xi shakes at 50 mph when braking

If you've had both sets of rotors replaced, then I will assume the brakes are not the problem. Other issues that would cause the problem you are having include worn wheel bearings, worn steering or suspension parts, or tires that...

Related articles

How Do Power Car Windows Increase Passenger Safety?
Power windows are responsible for approximately 2,000 emergency room visits every year. When a power window closes, it exerts enough force to bruise or break bones, crush fingers, or restrict an airway. Though...
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...
P2103 OBD-II Trouble Code: Throttle Actuator Control Motor Circuit High
P2103 means there is a fault with the throttle actuator control motor circuit, likely due to a defective electrical component or part.