The parking brake is also called the emergency brake, or hand brake, and is used to keep the vehicle in place. The parking brake has a cable that directly connects from the brake mechanism to the lever, or foot pedal, of the vehicle. The parking brake should be used when the car is left unoccupied for an extended period of time.
Maintaining a Parking Brake
Since the parking brake is a safety feature, it should be maintained on a regular basis. Regular checkups and preventative maintenance on your vehicle will help keep the parking brake from getting stuck when you need it the most. If your vehicle has sat for a long time, or you use the brake often, it may be a good idea to have it inspected.
Do Not Drive With the Parking Brake Engaged
One thing to always remember is to not drive while the parking brake is on. This can cause lots of problems within the braking system. Driving with the parking brake on can wear down the brake pads, the temperature of the engine will rise, and wear the linings of the main brakes. If you notice a rubber smell while the brake is depressed, you should bring the car to the mechanic right away.
Parking Brake Adjustment
The parking brake will need to be adjusted after a certain amount of time, just like regular brakes do. Over time, the brakes can corrode and not work properly. If the brake is not working like it is supposed to, it may be time to schedule an appointment with a certified mechanic to get it cleaned. If needed, the mechanic will replace any lines or drums that have corroded over time.
Using the Parking Brake
The parking brake is simple to use. Depending on the make and model of your vehicle, the parking brake will be a pedal or a hand brake. If it is a pedal, push firmly down until you feel the brake engage. This means the parking brake is on. To disengage the parking brake, push the pedal down and it will automatically release. For a hand brake, push the button in and pull up on the lever. This means the brake is on. To release the brake, push the button, pull slightly up on the lever, and lower it to its original position.
The parking brake is an important safety feature of your vehicle that keeps it in place while your car is left unoccupied. Keep your brakes maintained by taking your vehicle to get inspected regularly. YourMechanic offers brake system services as well as services for parking brakes for your convenience.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as 4 Essential Things to Know About Your Car’s Parking Brake and was authored by Valerie Johnston.