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

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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.

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