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Emergency/Parking Brake Cable Replacement Cost Estimate

Worried you might overpay for your emergency/parking brake cable replacement? Use Jerry’s GarageGuard to get fair cost estimate for your emergency/parking brake cable replacement.
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John Davis
Expert Automotive Writer
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Reviewed by Kathleen Flear, Director of Content
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Edited by Jessica Barrett, Senior Car & Insurance Editor

How much does a new emergency parking brake cable cost?

The average cost to replace an emergency parking brake cable is $315 to $400+, including $170 to $250+ for parts and $140 to $180 for labor. The exact price will depend on your vehicle’s year and model.
The cost of parts includes a new brake cable and may involve new emergency brake shoes if yours are worn out. As for the labor cost, it takes around 1 to 3 hours for a certified mechanic to inspect your vehicle, determine whether a repair is necessary, and then perform the emergency parking brake cable replacement.
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How did we estimate these prices?

Jerry's experts researched and collected data from 2500+ real repair shops in all 50 states in the US, including everything from the total cost of repair services to the hourly labor cost for mechanic labor in each shop. We combined that data with our expert database of hundreds of real repair jobs, thousands of real cars, millions of real car part prices in order to best estimate the cost of each repair service. Our labor cost estimate is calculated by taking the average hourly labor rate for a certified mechanic in the US, times the number of hours it takes on average to complete a repair. We recommend you compare your local shops with Jerry and contact those shops directly to get final pricing for your vehicle.

What parts do you need for an emergency parking brake cable replacement?

Your emergency parking brake is a simple, non-hydraulic system used to activate your vehicle’s braking system, whether it be drum brakes or disc brakes. If you’ve got a snapped cable, the other components of your emergency brake system could also be in trouble. 
The total parts list could include:
  1. A new emergency/parking brake cable ($3-$250): The emergency parking brake cable connects the emergency parking brake control (a pedal, lever, or button) to your brakes, providing an alternative way to stop the car. It engages the brake shoes (or brake pads), which use friction to stop the car's wheels from rolling. Even though these cables are made from strong, braided steel, they can rust and snap.
  2.  A new emergency parking brake shoe ($20-$92): In a drum brake system, the parking shoe presses outward against the brake drums, locking them in place with friction. Like regular brake shoes, the parking brake shoe can be worn down or deformed after years of use.
  3. New brake pads
    ($15-$540): In a disc brake system, the brake pads clamp onto the rotors, locking them in place with friction. The brake pads (and the brake calipers on which they’re mounted) are prone to wear and scratching after lots of use.
  4. New emergency parking brake controls (varies by type): Whether it’s a parking brake lever, pedal, or electronic button, the control activates your vehicle’s backup brake system. Use it too much (or too little) and your parking brake control could get stuck in place or otherwise malfunction.
Keep in mind: To put your emergency parking brake system in order, your mechanic may install a new cable, shoe, pad, or control.
We recommend purchasing parts at local auto parts stores like AutoZone, Advance Auto Parts, and O'Reilly Auto Parts, as well as online retailers like Amazon and RockAuto. We also recommend reputable brands such as ACDelco, Wagner, and Dorman. However, like price, recommended brands may also vary depending on your vehicle’s specific year, make, and model.
MORE: What to do if your parking brake won’t engage
Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts cost a lot more than aftermarket parts, but they often include better warranties. For example, a new genuine Toyota emergency parking brake cable includes a 24-month/25,000-mile warranty (if it’s installed by a certified Toyota mechanic). The car manufacturer matters, too—Nissan, Chevrolet, and Dodge offer cheaper OEM parts than BMW or Mercedes-Benz. 
That being said, some aftermarket performance parts manufacturers offer just as much, if not more, quality as OEM parts—and at a lower price point.
You can buy new parking brake cables at automotive body and parts shops like AutoZone, Advance Auto Parts and O'Reilly Auto Parts; at dealerships; or online at Amazon and RockAuto. If you prefer OEM parts, try shopping on your vehicle manufacturer’s official website. Ford, Kia, Mazda, Volkswagen, and just about every other car maker sell OEM parts online. Check your owner’s manual for any crucial specifications so you don’t buy the wrong parts.

Where can I get my emergency/parking brake cable replaced?

You get the best price by comparison-shopping, but you need the right data to make an informed decision. Try using Jerry's
GarageGuard™
, our auto repair estimate service, to find a great mechanic in your area!
Jerry's GarageGuard™ offers fair pricing estimates* on brake cable replacements and other fixes nationwide from over 2,500 vetted repair shops. Find out how much they charge for labor and diagnostics as well as what real users have to say about them!
To compare auto repair costs in your area, download the app and check out some of our vetted shops below.
175 Reviews
RepairSmith - Las Vegas

177 Reviews
54th Street Auto Center
address
415 W 54th St, New York, NY
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$191
163 Reviews
Speedy Pete's Auto LLC
address
22854 Bryant Ct #108, Great Falls, VA
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$110
115 Reviews
On The Go Tires
address
(Mobile repair service), Fort Myers, FL
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$75
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How did we vet these shops?

Jerry experts researched 2500+ real repair shops across the US. We talked to real shop customers, and analyzed both real shop pricing data and thousands of real customer reviews from each shop to verify them individually. We do not partner with the shops listed above, and our analysis is always unbiased.

How will a mechanic fix my emergency brake cable?

An e-brake cable replacement requires basic car knowledge, basic car equipment, and some manual dexterity. More importantly, your mechanic needs to be thorough—they won’t call it a day before testing the emergency brake several times! 
As long as they’re working on your car, the garage should also take a look at your brake shoes, drums, and/or rotors. Here’s what they’ll do:
  1. Raise your car and release the emergency parking brake. 
  2. Use a pair of wire cutters to unthread the brake cable from the rear brake of the car.
  3. Use a pair of wire cutters and pliers to unfix the brake cable from the brake assembly in the front of the car.
  4. Thread the new cable through the brakes and the connection near the rear wheels of your car, then secure it in place.
  5. Test your emergency parking brake.

Can I drive with a broken emergency brake line?

No, you should not drive with a broken emergency parking brake line. Not only could a malfunction send your car rolling down a hill or into traffic, but if your main brakes fail, you’ll have no way to stop your vehicle. While you might think of the backup braking system as unnecessary—why worry if the main brakes work, right?—it’s one of the few things you can rely on in a serious situation.

What is an emergency parking brake cable replacement?

During a parking brake service, the mechanic will check and replace the cable that connects your emergency brake controls to your disc or drum brakes. The parking brake cable functions similarly to the brake pedal but uses a cable instead of brake fluid to apply pressure. Eventually, the cable can rust and break, which would make the car roll even if the parking brake is enabled. 

When do I need an emergency parking brake cable replacement?

The emergency brake cable, along with your entire brake system, should be inspected once a year. It is recommended that you engage the parking brake every time the car is parked to keep the brake adjusted properly.
You might need a new cable if your emergency parking brakes:
  1. Don’t hold the car in place
  2. Won’t release
  3. Show a warning light
Every aspect of your brake system is crucial for safe functioning and driving. Ignoring small repairs can lead to major safety issues or serious problems in the future.  
Key Takeaway If you see a warning light or you can’t get your emergency parking brakes to work, ask a mechanic to look at the brake cable.
MORE: What to do if your parking brake won’t hold

How long do emergency brake cables last?

Emergency brake cables should last the entire lifespan of your vehicle. However, frequent use, infrequent use, and extreme weather conditions could conspire to break your cable early. If you’ve got an older vehicle that has more than 10 years or 145,000 miles on it, it’s time to get an inspection.

Can I do an emergency parking brake cable replacement myself?

Yes, you can perform an emergency parking brake cable replacement yourself. All you need is a jack, jack stands, pliers, wire cutters, a flashlight, a flat screwdriver, and a socket or wrench set. This DIY brake repair requires two hours and some dexterity.

FAQs

Parking brake cables can fail if they’re broken, frayed, or detached. Salty roads, wintry conditions, and the resulting rust could cause a cable to snap. A loose car component or faulty clip could rub against or fray the cable. Or, if your car sustains damage to its underside, the intact brake cable could be jolted out of place.
Yes, the parking brake and emergency brake are the same thing—and so are the e-brake and handbrake! No matter the name, it’s activated by a lever, pedal, or electronic button. If your main brakes fail, bypassing the hydraulic system linked to your brake pedal gives you an alternative way to slow down (or stop rolling down a hill).
You can leave your emergency brake on overnight but don’t leave it any longer than that. Eventually, your brake pads (brake shoes) could bind to the brake rotors (or drums). Rainy and snowy conditions could also cause the cable to freeze and snap.

Meet Our Experts

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John Davis
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Car Expert
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Certified mechanic with 10+ years of experience
John Davis is an expert automotive writer and former automotive mechanic. John's work spans multiple categories, and he relishes the opportunity to research a new subject and expand his area of expertise and industry knowledge. To date, John has written more than 200 articles covering car maintenance and care, car advice, how-to guides, and more.
Prior to joining Jerry’s editorial team, John worked as a mechanic and freelance writer, creating content for clients including HotCars and SetPower.
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Jessica Barrett
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Car Expert
Jessica Barrett is a senior insurance writer and editor with 10 years of experience in the automotive and travel industries. A specialist in car insurance, car loans, and car ownership, Jessica’s mission is to create comprehensive content that car owners can use to manage their costs and improve their lives. As a managing editor for a team of writers and insurance specialists, Jessica has edited over 2,000 articles for Jerry on topics ranging from local insurance shopping tips to refinancing car loans with bad credit.
Before joining Jerry as a senior content editor in 2021, Jessica created visual content for clients such as Expedia, Vivid Seats, Budget Direct Car Insurance, Angie’s List, and HomeAdvisor. Her content was published in Business Insider, Forbes, Apartment Therapy, and the BBC.
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Kathleen Flear
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Car Expert
Kathleen Flear is an expert insurance writer and editor who heads up Jerry’s editorial team as director of content. Kathleen empowers drivers to make smart car ownership decisions through  best-in-class articles on insurance, loans, and maintenance. Prior to joining Jerry in 2021, Kathleen served as managing editor for a team of SEO content marketing professionals at Article-Writing.co and worked as a freelance writer and editor for a range of digital publications, including Chicago Literati magazine and Golden Words. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English language and literature from Queen’s University, and a master’s degree in creative writing and fiction from Sierra Nevada University.
*The price information provided on our car repair webpages is intended for general informational purposes only. Actual prices for car repair services may vary based on various factors, including but not limited to the make and model of your vehicle, the extent of repair required, and the prevailing market conditions. All prices for real repair shops are estimations based on our research only. Therefore, the prices listed on our webpages should not be considered as final quotes or binding offers.