How to tighten the handbrake on Polo sedan

Adjusting the handbrake of a Volkswagen Polo sedan

If, having returned from a store to a parking place, you have found your “iron horse”, having driven into a fence or, worse, into someone’s expensive SUV, there are two possible variants of what has happened. The first, banal: you are a usual blonde, who forgot to tighten a handbrake in a parking. The second: the drive of a parking brake is loose or its cables are broken.


The drive is “capricious” most often. It is clear that if you brake a lever back and forth hundreds of times all the time, sooner or later the ratchet mechanism will wear out and it will need its adjustment. Even if the handbrake still holds the car in place, you still need to periodically check the condition of the device. On the Volkswagen Polo sedan to do this is simple: tighten the lever to the stop and count the number of clicks. The norm – 8-9 divisions. If they are more, it means it is time to “fix” the parking brake.

Before you “dig” the tunnel, under which the handbrake drive is located, you need to adjust the gaps between the brake shoes and drums on the rear wheels. Inside the interior of the Polo sedan, lower the lever down and repeatedly press down on the brake pedal with force.

After adjusting, you can begin the procedure of adjusting the handbrake actuator. For work you will need only a wrench for “10”:

    Remove the rear cupholder.

Remove the cupholder


Locking nut

Handbrake Drive Adjustment

Adjusting the actuator may also be necessary after replacing the complete unit. Most often on the Polo sedan, the fault is taken by the toothed sector, or the dog, which are subjected to wear faster than other parts of the lever.

To replace the handbrake you will need the same 10 mm wrench and 13 mm socket head:

  1. Dismantle tunnel trim.
  2. Disconnect signal lamp relay from the actuator lever.
  3. To loosen the rear cables, unscrew the retaining nut to the end of the threads.

Unscrew nut

New cable

Replacing Rear Drive Cables

It is not uncommon for the handbrake adjustment to come in handy when replacing the rear cables, which over time stretch out so badly that the normal tightening procedure no longer helps. In addition, damage to the strands of cables on the Polo sedan may in the future lead to their complete breakage.

For work you will need a wrench with a head on the “10”, a wrench for removing the wheels, pliers and a flat screwdriver:

  1. Disconnect the equalizer from the front of the rear cables.
  2. Drive the car to the inspection pit, loosen the wheel bolts, jack up the rear axle and put it on a solid support.
  3. Dismantle the rear left wheel.
  4. Unscrew the 7 bolts of the protective cover and remove the part.
  5. Use a screwdriver to act on the clamps that hold the cable to the body and remove its sheath.

Rope retainers

Unscrew the screw

Rear cable cap

Remove rope from beam

Cable sheath

Installing a new cable

Careful monitoring of handbrake actuator condition is not only a guarantee of safety on the road. Monitoring the operation of this important unit of the braking system will allow the owner of the Polo sedan to save unnecessary money and save nerves from unnecessary trips to the department of the traffic police.

Description of the handbrake on the Volkswagen Polo

Handbrake in Volkswagen Polo consists of the following elements: a mechanical handle, attachment to the body, cable-tensioner. The principle of operation is as follows: the driver presses out on himself, the lever, the tension force increases, the cable unclenches the brake pads, the car is fixed in a stationary state.

Systematic use, mechanical damage contributes to the stretching of the cable, the quality of fixation of the technical means is reduced.

Handbrake, as the mechanism is called among Volkswagen Polo motorists, is used not only during idle time, but also while driving. Often there are situations when it is necessary to brake in an emergency, to evade a collision by changing the trajectory of the car.


The main problem of the majority of car owners is that this unit does not work or works unstable. Not all pay due attention to the handbrake, which is reflected in the statistics of administrative fines and accidents.

Handbrake adjustment

Eliminate insufficient tension of the handbrake Volkswagen Polo you can do on your own, without visiting the service station. Measure by ear the number of clicks of the ratchet device. The allowable number of steps is 8 – 9, no more. In the case of exceeding or reducing the number, you can talk about the malfunction of the handbrake.

In order to adjust it will be necessary:

  • set the brake shoes in the normal position. By several pressings on the brake pedal align the pads;
  • the handbrake lever is in the lowered position;
  • in Volkswagen Polo interior remove cup holder, plastic trim;
  • lift the handbrake lever by 3 to 4 steps;
  • We tighten the key “14” adjusting the washer for 2 – 3, or more, if necessary. The main thing is not to overdo it, as it will jam the rear wheels;
  • we lower the handbrake to zero position, check the degree of tension by fixing the machine “under the hill. If necessary, tighten.

Sometimes it happens that the adjustment is useless, the thread travel is not enough for the full tension of the cable. It is necessary to replace the brake pads, tensioner drive Volkswagen Polo.


Replacing handbrake cables and pads on the Volkswagen Polo

Before installing new friction linings, carry out a diagnosis of the toothed sector, the pawl. Often because of the wear of the metal teeth, it is impossible to tension the handbrake. To check the condition of the actuator it is enough to press the lever to its maximum position, visually inspect the mechanical actuator. Obvious defects will be immediately visible. Based on the results of diagnosis, decide whether it is necessary to replace the friction pads, cable.

Replacing the brake

The main stages of replacing the cable, brake pads

  • dismantle plastic cover of the tunnel panel;
  • remove indicator lamp relay contacts from the actuator;
  • unscrew the regulator nut to reduce the tension;
  • Remove the cable lugs from the fork tensioner. We loosen them, lead them under the bottom of the car;
  • and then we unhook the back of the car, take the wheels off;
  • unscrew the brake drums one by one (seven bolts in total), disassemble the mechanism;
  • remove the cable end, install a new one, reassemble in reverse order;
  • remove spring, remove worn pads, install new pads;
  • screw the wheel on. Repeat the same actions on the opposite side.

In the end, start the cables into the cabin, to the mechanical actuator. Adjust the degree of tension with the already familiar nut – regulator. We set the Volkswagen Polo under the slide, check the quality of fixation. The second stage: diagnostics of rolling of the car in neutral position of the gearbox. Excessive tension leads to increased fuel consumption, as the resistance of the brake pads is overcome.


Signs of overstretched handbrake

  • impaired acceleration dynamics;
  • lever travel is too short;
  • the vehicle does not hold up well on hills;
  • brake system malfunction indicator on the center console;
  • Increased fuel consumption;
  • While driving, you can hear extraneous sounds, squeaks in the area where the brake drum is located.


Causes of handbrake failure

  • Continuous operation without intermediate preventive maintenance;
  • mechanical, technical damage, accident, collision, bump
  • overtensioning of the cable, which has led to its stretching, tearing or deformation;
  • wear and tear of mechanical drive, metal teeth;
  • Deformation of standard fasteners.

Serviceable state of the handbrake – the guarantee of your safety, saved money on administrative fines, peace of mind while driving. Subject to the rules of installation, service life exceeds 60,000 km before the major replacement of cables. In between will require periodic tightening of the nut – adjuster handbrake Volkswagen Polo.

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