No matter what vehicle you drive, it is equipped with an emergency parking brake. While some people use this each and every day, others never end up using it. It is meant to stop your car from rolling if you are parked on a hill. Your car will have an emergency parking handbrake lever, or a brake pedal you push with your foot. You press or pull on the lever to engage the brake. To disengage you press on the pedal again or press a button on the handbrake lever and push the lever back down.
It's a very simple system to use and is made up of a few key components. The emergency brake control refers either to the pedal or the lever that you use to apply and disengage the brake. It is recommended that you have your emergency brake control inspected on a yearly basis just to be sure it is in good working order. If you don’t use it often, or at all, it can seize up due to rust and the emergency brake cable can even break. There is no set life expectancy of the emergency brake control, which is why regular inspection is suggested.
When you release or engage the emergency brake lever or pedal, if you find there is zero resistance then it's time to look at whether the emergency brake control is faulty. It may need replacing, so the best way to determine is to have a certified mechanic take a look.
Along the same lines, it may be that you can't even get the emergency brake lever or pedal to engage at all. Again this signals an issue with the emergency brake control, as well as other possible parts of the system.
You may be able to get the emergency brake to engage, but then it can cease up and you may not be able to release it. This will make driving impossible since it is stuck in the engaged position.
The emergency brake control refers to either your vehicle’s parking brake pedal or lever. It is wise to have this control inspected on a yearly basis so that if it is found to be faulty, it can be replaced immediately. If you’re experiencing any of the above mentioned symptoms and suspect your emergency brake control is in need of replacement, get a diagnostic or book an emergency brake control replacement service with a professional mechanic.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How Long Does an Emergency Brake Control Last? and was authored by Valerie Johnston.