Jump to content

Exercise your parking brake

Barry Wolk

Recommended Posts

I sent one of my employees out in my 12 year old daily driver to get a gas cylinder for my hi-lo. He noticed that the parking brake light was on so he tried to release it. The light stayed on so he pushed the pedal to the floorboard and heard a pop.

It turned out to be a rusted parking brake cable that seized when he engaged it. It engaged the brakes so hard that I could barely get the truck to move. I had to call a tow truck.

I started thinking about it and I couldn't remember the last time I set it. I use the parking brake in my cars that have stick shifts, but I never seem to use the parking brakes in my automatics, except the Mark II as it starts in Neutral, not in Park. I thought that strange, but that's the way it came.

We who live in the Land of Flat (Michigan) rarely use our parking brakes. I asked a dozen people and no one that drove an automatic used them.

The mechanic said that we need to exercise our parking brakes fairly frequently, or they will seize up from lack of use.

You never know when you might need it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest martylum

Hi-the original name for that brake item you call "parking brake" is emergency brake to be used in case your regular brakes fail.

I think it should be as carefully restored as the hydraulic brakes you regularly use since you never knew when you'll need to rely on it.

At just about every National car meet I've traveled to someone has had a failure or near failure of the regular brakes due, usually, to poor maintenance.

Martin Lum

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I guess I have the opposite issue: I always set my parking brake.

Except when the car gets to be more than several years old and I am in the mountains for skiing. I've found that if I put the parking brake on and there is any moisture around and it is below freezing that the brakes don't release. So I have to go through the mental check list for the revised procedure of not setting the parking brake when in the mountains in winter (if I'm driving a manual transmission car I will leave it in first or reverse depending on the slope and I'm looking for as flat a parking spot as possible).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have the same issue with my truck. A while back I released the parking brake from inside the cab as usual. The handle/mechanism went to the normal "not in use" position, but the brake did not release. I played H . . . getting the truck into the garage, a very short distance. I was able to crawl under the truck and manually release the brake.

Now, I only have to repair the problem!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...