Most modern vehicles have electronic parking brakes. All you need to do is push a button on your dashboard or centre console to have the parking brakes engaged. However, those behind the wheel of slightly older cars will probably have a manual handbrake. A handbrake handle in the cabin is connected to a handbrake cable that runs to the vehicle's back wheels.
Handbrake cables are made out of metal, which means they will deteriorate over time no matter what you do. Here are just four signs you need to replace or repair your parking brake cable.
1. Failure to Hold the Vehicle
When your handbrake cable fails completely, the parking brakes won't engage at all. However, that might not happen right away. When the parking brake cable gets worn or stretched, it won't be able to pull on the parking brake as tightly as it should. That means the parking brakes won't be able to hold the weight of the vehicle. If you park on a slope, the vehicle may slowly start to roll. You may also notice it leaning to one side.
2. Active Parking Brake Light
If your vehicle has a manual parking brake, it should also have a Parking Brake Warning Light on the dash. When that light comes on, it means the parking brake is engaged and that you shouldn't try driving. However, the Parking Brake Warning Light may also come on when the brake handle has been released. This means the brake isn't releasing properly.
Slackness is a common problem in old parking brake cables. Linkages get worn, pivot points and pins get grooved and the cable itself starts to stretch. The upshot is that your parking brake cable won't be as tight as it once was, and you should be able to notice the difference. If you need to pull the parking brake handle up higher than you used to, it's a sure sign the parking brake cable has become too slack for comfort.
4. Rust or Fraying
Handbrake cables run underneath the car and aren't usually covered up. As such, they get hit with water and road debris, so they can start to rust as time goes by. As you might have guessed, rust significantly weakens handbrake cables, and a rusted cable is likely to snap when too much pressure is placed on it. There may also be noticeable signs of fraying. If you know your way around a vehicle, you can check this yourself by looking under the car. If not, visit your local mechanic or service centre for brake repairs.
Welcome to my little road on the web. I'm Sara Rowley and I'm simply crazy about motor vehicles and driving! I have taken my family of four boys all the way from Townsville to the Cape. We also followed the path of Burke and Wills to the Dig Tree. Of course, I've garnered a little bit of knowledge about vehicles and how they operate. There aren't many mechanics on the Strzelecki Track! However, I mostly avoid problems by getting advice from experts and finding the best maintenance services to keep my vehicles in tip-top shape. Consequently, my friends and family are always picking my brain about where to go when they want to buy a new vehicle or get repair work done. I thought it would be useful to keep this blog so that everyone who loves motor vehicles can share their joy and knowledge.