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Your parking brake is a valuable component that helps ensure better safety when parked on an incline, and also helps reduce unnecessary loading of the transmission. If you’ve ever parked on a hill and not used the parking brake, you’re familiar with the loud “thunk” and lurch that happens when you crank the car and put it in drive when you’re ready to leave. Engaging the parking brake avoids this, and enhances safety. However, if your parking brake is stuck, the light in your dash will stay on, and you may damage the brake shoes while driving.
Your parking brake is actually very little more than a lever attached to a cable. When you pull the parking brake handle in the cabin, it engages a cable. That cable runs from the parking brake handle under the car and to the back wheels. Pulling up on the handle pulls the cable taut, which engages the parking brake.
The brake itself is nothing more than a pair of small brake shoes mounted inside the drum built into the rear rotors of your car. The shoes press outward on the drum, holding the wheel in place (it’s not as strong as your normal brakes, and generally cannot hold the car by itself on anything more than a very gentle incline).
When you put the parking brake handle down, the cable disengages the parking brake and the shoes retract from against the walls of the drum. This releases the vehicle, allowing you to drive without damaging the parking brake.
Rust and Corrosion: One of the most common problems with parking brakes is corrosion on the cable that leads to the rear brakes. Once the cable begins to rust, it can stick. When this happens, you won’t be able to release the parking brake.
Engaged Too Hard: While uncommon, it is possible for the parking brake to stick if you applied it to hard. If you crank back on the handle as hard as possible, you’re overdoing it, and it’s possible for the cable to stretch, the shoes to stick and more.
Damaged/Stuck Adjuster Screw: The rear brake shoes are operated by an adjuster screw. If the screw is stuck, corroded or damaged, it will not move and your parking brake will not disengage.
Leaving It Engaged for Too Long: Most of us use our parking brake on a relatively limited basis, leaving it engaged overnight at the longest. In some situations, leaving it engaged for a long period (say over the winter in storage) can cause the assembly to freeze and stick.
Our professional mobile mechanic will come to your home or office to inspect the parking brake handle, cable, lever, adjusting screw, shoes and other components in the system. The mechanic will then provide a detailed inspection report that includes the scope and cost of the necessary repairs.
The mechanic will inspect all aspects of the parking brake, from the handle to the cable, all the way back to the lever, the spring, the adjusting screw and the shoes. It may be necessary to remove one or both rear wheels. It may also be necessary to disassemble the rear brakes to reach the parking brake components.
If your parking brake is stuck, you cannot drive the car without causing further damage. It’s highly advised to leave your car parked where it is if you notice that the Parking Brake light stays on after lowering the handle, or feeling resistance when trying to drive (or smelling burned brake material after driving). One of our professional mechanics will be able to diagnose the problem and restore functionality to your parking brake.