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Your parking brake ensures that you’re able to park securely on an incline. It also ensures that you don’t have to rely on the parking gear of your transmission, as it’s possible for the transmission to slip, and then the car can roll. Most parking brakes are relatively simple, but they are subject to several potential problems that could leave you with a parking brake that won’t release.
Depending on the make and model you drive, you could have one of several different parking brake setups. There are multiple systems in current use. However, they all share a few basic characteristics.
When you pull up the parking brake handle, that motion engages a cable or pair of cables depending on the car in question. If you have two cables, one goes to each rear wheel. If you have only a single cable, it will run to a “splitter” somewhere near the back of the car, which will then split into two cables, with one running to each rear wheel.
That cable is what engages the parking brake. Disengaging the parking brake requires a return spring on each drum or caliper (again, this varies significantly from one car to another). Then the return springs are engaged, the parking brake disengages, and the cable returns to its normal position (this occurs when you put the parking brake handle down).
Corroded Parking Brake Cable: Parking brake cables are subject to rust and damage. They’re exposed to the elements, and even a little bit of corrosion can be enough to cause your parking brake to not disengage. It’s also possible for other problems to mimic this condition, including ice forming during winter.
Damaged Return Springs: Over time, your return springs wear. Once they lose enough strength, they won’t be able to disengage the parking brake. It’s also possible for a return spring to be damaged, bent or even broken.
Rear Caliper Pivot Arm Seized: Both rear calipers have pivot arms that play a role in engaging and disengaging your parking brake. If these are seized, your brake may not disengage.
Stuck Caliper: If your car has rear disc brakes, it’s possible that a stuck caliper is to blame. Again, this will depend greatly on the make and model you drive, as some cars that use rear disc brakes don’t use the caliper to actuate the emergency brakes.
A top-rated mobile mechanic will come to your home or office to inspect the parking brake system, including the cable, the springs, the calipers and more. 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 your parking brake system, including the handle, the cable assembly, the cable itself, the return springs, the calipers if necessary and more. It may be necessary for the mechanic to remove one or both rear wheels, as well as the drums/discs and calipers to access the parking brake.
If your parking brake will not disengage, you cannot drive the car. Driving will overheat the brakes and damage the parking brake, as well as the rotor. One of our professional mechanics can come to your location and assess the situation, and then repair the parking brake so you can get back on the road once more.