Useful Car Tips

What to do When Your Parking Brake is Stuck

July 13, 2018
If you are reading this, you have most likely used your parking brake at least once. Have you gotten a little bit excited and pulled the lever a little bit too much? We understand, this happens to the best of us. But, now that it is stuck, how to get it back to normal you ask? Well, first here are a few tips on the parking brake because knowing when and how to use the parking brake can really help you get out of certain situations.

When is a good time to use the parking brake?

If you drive a manual transmission car, chances are that you use it every day. Anyone who has an automatic car only uses it when they park on a hill for added safety. The thing is that it doesn’t matter what car you have. The emergency parking brake should be used every day! When we shift our vehicles into the park position, a device called a parking pawl goes into effect. There is a metal pin that fits into a ring that is attached to the transmission. When the car is in park, this pawl prevents the shaft in your transmission from turning. The scary part is that the parking pawls can break. Once it does, this will cause your vehicle to roll away. A parking brake is an added feature as a precaution to prevent your car from moving, even if the pawl breaks. Therefore, using your parking brake whenever you get a chance can potentially protect your vehicle. You can walk away with a clear mind and not worry about your car rolling away.

What causes my parking brake to get stuck and what should I do?

A big issue with parking brakes is corrosion. Many things such as water and dirt can build up can cause cables or metal to erode. This is very dangerous because it can cause your parking brake to fail or make the cables snap. To ensure that corrosion doesn’t occur, it is best if the parking brake is used constantly. Your emergency brake can also end up freezing in place due to extreme temperatures. If the weather is cold and wet, it is very likely that your e-brake has simply frozen in place. The best and simple way to fix that is to turn your vehicle on and wait until it warms up and the ice melts away. Another reason your e-brake gets stuck is simply from you pulling it too hard. No need to have a strength test with your e-brake lever. It works just as well without all that extra effort. When you pull your lever too hard, it can cause your brakes to become stuck against the wall of your wheel drums. Don’t worry, this is not a time to start panicking. There are several things that you can do to release a stuck brake. As long as you are not in traffic and it is safe for you to leave the vehicle, try rocking your vehicle back and forth, this helps at times. Or you can simply try getting underneath your car and manually pulling out the cables. Another trick you can try is to try setting and releasing the brake a few times and hopefully the brakes get knocked free. If none of these tricks ended up working for you, your best bet now would be to call a tow truck. To avoid having this happen in the first place, make sure the brake is being used and maintain your vehicle and its serviced regularly.
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