Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
Bret asks: My parking brake engages but it doesn’t hold the car, which I discovered the other day when it rolled back after I had “parked” it. The car has a manual transmission and I usually leave it in neutral with the parking brake applied. Usually, the brake holds it just fine but this it didn’t. I was lucky I was able to jump back in and stop it from rolling down my driveway and into a culvert. Any thoughts on why the parking brake engages but doesn’t hold?
My reply: The parking brake – the old school manual/mechanical type with a foot lever you depress or a handle you pull – needs occasional adjustment to take up slack that develops in the cable as the (rear) brake pads/shoes (if rear discs) wear.
There is usually an adjustment nut on the cable – a service manual will tell you where, exactly – that you turn in or out to increase/decrease the play on the cable. Once properly adjusted, the brake should hold the car in place again. But you probably ought to make doubly sure by putting the transmission in gear rather than neutral when parking/leaving it!
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