What to do if the handbrake does not hold in the car

Why the handbrake does not hold on the car and what to do in such a situation

Many Russians do not often use the handbrake in urban conditions of operation. This is explained by the harsh winter climate, when the pads can become encrusted with ice, due to which the handbrake jams, that is stuck.

The handbrake in a car

But according to traffic rules, the parking brake must be on for safety reasons and to prevent accidents. In this case, the handbrake must be in good condition. And sometimes it happens that it does not hold when you turn it on.

Not to say that the situation is very common. Especially on new cars with automatic, where there is a park mode. It usually happens to owners of used and domestic models.

How the handbrake works

If we talk about the classic handbrake, it works elementary. In the cabin, under the hand of the driver, there is a special lever. It is a cable, enclosed in a shell, connects to the adjusting bolt. The latter is connected to a bar, on the edges of which there are two cables. These run out to the two rear wheels.

This pair of cables connects to the bracket responsible for squeezing and unclenching the brake shoes, thereby locking and unlocking the rear brake drums.

By pulling the parking brake handle up, the cables are tensioned. Special brackets in the drums are unclenched, they dilute the brake shoes, and thus creates a forced locking of the wheels.

But it is important to understand that not all cars use cable or mechanical handbrakes. More and more often it is possible to meet systems on the basis of hydraulics. Typically, they are installed on cars where the rear is not the classic drums, but brake discs. The hydraulic system duplicates the function of the main braking system.

By raising the brake handle, a special piston creates pressure that acts on the brake discs, causing them to lock.

If there is a failure to the hydraulic handbrake system, the causes of such malfunctions will be different from those of the cable unit.

Car Brake System

Causes of failure

Now you need to determine why the parking brake or handbrake on the car does not hold.

Many of the causes are fairly simple and common. They can be diagnosed and fixed in a matter of minutes:

  1. Worn out rear pads. This is one of the most common reasons why the handbrake does not work on the car. With such a malfunction, in parallel, the driver may hear a strong rattle when pressing the brake pedal. There is no way to solve the problem by tightening the cable. You will have to install new pads first. And it is extremely important to change the pads on both sides at the same time, regardless of the condition of the second element on the axle.
  2. Incorrect adjustment. Speaking of the reasons why the handbrake won’t hold the car in place, very often it turns out that it’s all about the adjustment. The adjusting bolt is loose, and therefore the problem is solved by tightening it.
  3. Cable jamming in the sheath. This is a problem common after a long time of using the car, i.e. it occurs on cars with mileage of more than 5 years. Moisture can gradually penetrate into the cavity between the cable and the sheath. Rust forms, and jamming occurs. You can try to solve the problem by disassembling and lubricating the cable or replacing the cable assembly.
  4. Cable breakage. Breakage can occur under the car or directly at the connection to the lever. This can only be solved by replacing it.
  5. Formation of ice, salt and reagents sticking on the pads. Not the most common phenomenon. But if you drive in puddles in winter, and then leave the car in the cold, then this scenario is not excluded;
  6. Oil or brake fluid on the pads. This can happen when the cylinder or oil seal leaks. Brake clutch is insufficient, the fluid provokes slippage. First the leak is repaired, then the surface of the pad is cleaned.
  7. Problems with the hydraulics. Relevant for cars with a hydraulic parking brake. Here, the working fluid itself usually leaks, the required level drops. Requires partial repair or replacement of components.
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Worn out car brake pads

The reasons may indeed be different. Not always replacing components is the only way out of the situation. But if the pad shows signs of wear and damage, then you should not count on preventive measures. Only replacement.

The cost of professional adjustment

To go to the car service or not, each motorist decides for himself. If the handbrake does not hold the car at all, the problem may lie in the improper adjustment. Turning to the service station, the client will be asked for at least 300-500 rubles for this procedure. In metropolitan service stations, prices are at the level of 1,000 rubles.

And what to do in such a situation must be determined in advance. It is not at all difficult to adjust the handbrake cable independently. If the problem lies in its breakage and needs to be replaced, then a more reasonable solution would be to take the car to the service, where a specialist can pull a new quality cable handbrake.

Not only can the handbrake cable become loose, but it can also tighten more than necessary. In both cases, an adjustment is recommended.

If you decide to solve the issue with the adjustment yourself, it is not unreasonable to read the instructions.

Checking the condition

It is not always the problem that the handbrake does not want to hold the car is due to improper adjustment. It is better to make sure of this in advance, so as not to carry out complicated work in vain.

Some motorists advise visiting a car service, where a special stand is used to check the functioning of the handbrake. But if you do not want to pay money for this or banal do not see the point in going to specialists, use the folk method.

The easiest way to check the parking brake is as follows. The rear wheel is suspended with a jack, the handbrake is engaged, and the tire rotates manually. If it twists, the brake does not hold and you need to regulate or replace it.

There is an alternative method. But you should not use it without necessity. The idea is to pull the parking brake lever, engage first gear on the box and press on the gas.

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If the node is in good condition, the car will twitch slightly, and then stall. If not, the car will just start driving. This is a direct indication that intervention is needed.

Adjusting the car's handbrake

How to adjust the parking brake

Regardless of the model and make of car, the adjustment procedure is not much different when using the classic cable handbrake.

There is only one major difference. The handbrake can be adjusted from inside the car or from under the car.

Most often it is the variant of work under the car that is used.

To perform the adjustment with your own hands, it is necessary:

  • Press the handbrake lever for 2-3 clicks. On different models of cars may require a different number of clicks.
  • Using a jack, gently lift the car on the side where you plan to perform the work. Or drive your car to the observation pit. The second variant is physically easier and more convenient.
  • Loosen the tightening nut on the adjusting assembly. By turning the second nut, the cable is gradually tightened.
  • At the same time, watch how the braking force changes on the flattened wheel.
  • As soon as you can not manually twist the wheel, the cable is tensioned to the right level.
  • Now go back inside, lower the handbrake lever. In this position, check if the rear adjustable wheel turns freely.
  • If all is well, pull the lever out again, and go to turn the wheel again. Repeat this manipulation 2-3 times. It is important to make sure that the parking brake handbrake is stable.
  • Tighten the locknut in the final step.

Handbrake after adjustment

An alternative is to adjust through the interior of the car. In this case, the main problem is that you will have to get to the adjusting screw itself. Usually for this you have to carry out dismantling work, remove the panel.

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How much easier or harder it is than getting under the car depends on the specific situation and the specific car where the parking brake problems occurred.

Possible penalties

Motorists legitimately fear fines for not operating the handbrake on a car. And an employee of the traffic police can bring for this to administrative responsibility.

There is an article 12.5 in the Code of Administrative Offences. Only here, some cunning employees of the traffic police rely on the second part of this article, where the punishment for driving a vehicle with a faulty brake system is prescribed. It threatens with a fine of 500 rubles and detention of the car.

In fact this article is about the handbrake. Only the document clearly states that the parking brake is an exception. That is, under 12.5 part 2, you can be punished only for the malfunction of the braking system, but not for the problems with the handbrake.

Relevant is the first part of article 12.5 of the CAO. Here we are talking about the same 500 rubles fine. But it is important that the officer has no right to detain the vehicle.

The traffic police inspector has no right to stop the car to check the serviceability of the handbrake. The stop is allowed only if there is a visually noticeable malfunction.

If you were issued a fine, then you have the opportunity to pay not 500, but 250 rubles. This penalty is included in the list of articles that are subject to a 50% discount for payment within 20 days after the ruling. Just wait in advance to get your receipt in the database of the traffic police.

The handbrake does not hold: reasons and what to do in case of malfunction?

The parking brake is designed to immobilize the vehicle while it is parked, but not all drivers use it. If the vehicle has an automatic transmission, then you can do without the handbrake. At the same time, the owners of cars with manual transmission usually leave the vehicle on the first speed when parking. This is due to the fact that there have been situations when the parking brake has stopped holding. It is recommended to understand why this happens, and what to do in this case.

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Causes of handbrake failure

Handbrake failure reasons

If the handbrake does not hold, then a breakdown has occurred. There are several reasons that can lead to such a situation.

  • The cable broke. The break can be under the car or on the handle.
  • The brakes are dirty. Dust, dirt, snow got on them. Because of this, the handbrake often does not hold well.
  • The cable is jammed. This happens when the sheath or steel strands are damaged.
  • The brake pads are worn out. They wear out every time you apply the brake, so it is important to monitor their condition.
  • The handbrake is not properly adjusted. The bolt may not be tightened properly, or the cable length may have been incorrectly selected.
  • Oil or brake fluid has gotten into the pads. If the handbrake does not hold, the cause is often a fluid leak. It is important to identify the leak and repair it if possible.

When the handbrake does not hold properly, you need to contact a technician or try to fix the problem yourself. First, it is important to know the exact cause so that you can take the right action.

How do I find out if the handbrake is malfunctioning?

How do I know if my handbrake is defective?

If the handbrake stopped holding, or poorly copes with its functions, it will be necessary to check the TC. It is better to entrust the task to a specialist, as he has the necessary tools, and he knows what parts of the car to check. It may be necessary to remove the rear wheels to assess the condition of the drums.

You also need to check the cable, make sure that it is not torn or damaged. The brake pads need to be evaluated, if they are badly worn, you will need to replace them with new ones. When the handbrake does not hold, the reasons may be different, so you will need a thorough inspection of the car.

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There are two ways to diagnose it yourself:

  1. You need to drive the car on a slope, then squeeze the handbrake, but not all the way out. If the car will not roll, then there is nothing wrong with the system. Sometimes it also happens that the car starts to move. Then you should tighten the cable up to the end and see what happens next. If the car continues to drive like this, then you will have to figure out why the handbrake won’t hold. It is likely that it will have to be adjusted, or completely replaced.
  2. You must fully apply the handbrake and engage 1st gear. Then you should gently release the clutch. If the handbrake is good, the engine will stall. When problems are observed, the car will start moving. This indicates a problem that requires an urgent solution.

It remains to remember why the handbrake does not hold and consider each cause. It is necessary to understand what options are possible in a particular case.

What to do if the handbrake fails?

What do I do if the handbrake won't hold?

Handbrake must be serviceable, because it is he who blocks the wheels and ensures the stability of the vehicle on the surface. Including on a slope the car will not roll down. This is important, because it can cause an accident if the parked vehicle accidentally drove.

The handbrake also helps during emergency braking, and is used as the main brake if the hydraulic system fails. It will help prevent an accident and level the car in case of a skid. For this reason, it is not recommended to get behind the wheel of the car if the handbrake does not hold.

You need to diagnose yourself or go to a master to identify the cause and fix it. There are situations when, after replacing the pads, the handbrake does not hold, which is often associated with improper adjustment of the cable. A specialist will easily identify the problem and then fix it. In most cases, expensive repairs are not required, but it all depends on the specific situation.

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