Posted by Performance Auto Specialists Tips

What to Do if Your Parking Brake is Stuck

Emergency Parking Brake | Performance Auto Specialists

You should use your emergency brake every time you park, whether you are parked on a flat surface or a steep hill. In the case of an emergency when you can’t stop your car, slowly pull up on the emergency brake handle or press the pedal down. When using your emergency brake when you park, you should first stop your car with your primary brakes, then set the emergency brake, and then place your car in park. So what do you do if you get back into your car and the emergency brake is stuck?

Cold Weather

Ice can cause the parking brake to freeze when it is cold outside. To fix the issue, start by turning your car on. The ice may melt as the engine warms up, allowing you to disengage the parking brake. Gently rev the engine, which can help the engine heat up faster to speed up the melting process. After the car has warmed up, try disengaging the parking brake a few times. This may help break up any remaining ice. If the brake is still stuck, consult your owner’s manual to find which wheel the parking brake is connected to, and try melting the ice with a hairdryer. If you know ahead of time that the temperatures will reach below freezing, consider not engaging your parking brake. 

Rust or Corrosion

Your parking brake may become rusty or corroded over time, causing the cable that engages the brake to get stuck. You may need to call a tow truck for help if this is the issue, but you can try disturbing the brakes manually, applying and releasing the brake a few times. Try shifting into drive and reverse, and back between drive and reverse again to move the vehicle back and forth slightly. This may help dislodge some of the rust. Prevent rust from taking over by using your parking brake every time you stop, or at least once a day.

Left On Too Long

You should only leave your parking brake on as long as overnight, at the most. If you leave it on too long, it may get stuck or frozen in place. Try the same tactics for a frozen parking brake when this happens. Avoid engaging your parking brake for long periods of time, like when you go out of town or aren’t planning on driving for a while.

Engaged Too Hard

If you tugged a little too hard when engaging your parking brake, you may have jammed it. Pulling too hard on the emergency brake can get the brake shoes stuck against the walls of the wheel drum and may stretch out the cable that runs from the brake handle to the wheels. If you’ve tried to release the brake but it still won’t budge, you may need to seek professional help. 

Performance Auto Specialists

Performance Auto Specialists services all makes and models of cars, trucks, SUVs, and minivans. Whether you need brake repair, engine repair, A/C repair, or emissions services, Performance Auto Specialists has you covered. Contact us today!

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Performance Auto Specialists has offered affordable, reliable repair and maintenance to Wilmington residents since 1991.