What is a parking brake control?

Every vehicle has a parking brake control. A parking brake control is a lever that can be manually applied to stop your vehicle from moving. The parking brake is independent of your car’s primary braking system, meaning it can be used to stop the car if your primary brakes fail. Most cars use either a handbrake or a foot brake as their parking brake control.

Both handbrakes and foot brakes are connected to metal cables. The cable runs to the rear brake shoe. When the emergency brake is applied, the brake shoe clamps onto the brake rotors. This causes the vehicle to remain stationary.


Causes of damaged handbrake, footbrake or parking brake

There are several potential causes of a damaged handbrake or footbrake in a vehicle. Some common causes include:

  • Wear and Tear: Over time, the handbrake or footbrake components can experience wear and tear due to regular use. The constant pressure, friction, and mechanical action can lead to the degradation of brake pads, shoes, cables, or other brake system parts.
  • Corrosion: Exposure to moisture, road salt, and other corrosive elements can cause rust and corrosion on the brake components. Corrosion can weaken the integrity of the handbrake or footbrake system, affecting its performance and reliability.
  • Fluid Leaks: Brake fluid leaks can occur in the hydraulic system, leading to a decrease in brake performance. Leaks can be caused by damaged brake lines, seals, or calipers. Insufficient brake fluid levels can result in a loss of pressure and reduced braking power.
  • Incorrectly adjusted Brake Components: Improper adjustment of the handbrake or footbrake can lead to issues. If the brake cables, pads, or shoes are not adjusted correctly, it can result in ineffective braking or excessive wear on the brake components.
  • Damaged or Worn Brake Cables: The brake cables transmit the force from the handbrake or footbrake to the brake mechanism. If the cables are damaged, frayed, or stretched, they may not engage or release the brakes properly, affecting their functionality.
  • Caliper Problems: Brake calipers can experience issues such as sticking or seizing due to dirt, debris, or worn-out components. A malfunctioning caliper can cause uneven braking, excessive wear on brake pads, or a dragging sensation while driving.


Symptoms of a failing hand / foot / parking brake control:

Parking brake lights

  • Less tension when applied: If you notice a significant decrease in braking power when engaging the handbrake or footbrake, it could indicate a problem. The brakes may feel less responsive or require more force to slow down or stop the vehicle.
  • Brake Pedal or Lever Feels Loose: A loose or spongy brake pedal or handbrake lever that moves excessively without providing a firm resistance can suggest an issue. It may feel as though there is a lack of tension or pressure in the braking system.
  • Brakes Dragging: If you experience the sensation of the brakes dragging or the vehicle not rolling freely, it could indicate a problem with the handbrake or footbrake. This can occur due to a sticking or seized brake caliper, worn-out brake pads, or improper adjustment of the brakes.
  • Handbrake or Footbrake Won’t Engage or Release: Difficulty in engaging or releasing the handbrake or footbrake is another sign of a failing system. It may feel stuck, jammed, or require excessive force to operate properly.
  • Noise or Vibration When Applying: Unusual noises, such as grinding, squealing, or scraping sounds when applying the handbrake or footbrake, can indicate worn-out brake pads or damaged brake components.
  • Warning Lights: If the brake warning light on the dashboard illuminates or stays on, it is an indication of a potential problem with the braking system, including the handbrake or footbrake.


How important is a handbrake / foot brake replacement?

The handbrake / foot brake is the device that controls your emergency braking system. If it is not working correctly, your vehicle may roll, especially on hills. If you drive a manual vehicle, you should pay extra attention to your parking brake. This is because automatic vehicles rely less on the parking brake to remain still while stationary.


Parking brake control cleaning, adjustment & replacement in Hamilton

Are you having problems with your hand / foot / parking brake control? If so, we can help!

At Grimmer Motors, our trusted, experienced and qualified mechanics can examine your hand / foot / parking brake, determining if any components are due for a replacement. We can then provide you with a repalcementthat you can count on. For parking brake services in Hamilton, contact Grimmer Motors today!


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