What does a stuck emergency/parking brake inspection include?

During a stuck parking brake inspection, the mechanic will check out your entire parking brake system, including the cable, lever, spring, adjusting screw, and brake shoes. If necessary, the mechanic may need to disassemble the rear brakes and wheels to access the parking brake parts.
Parking brakes are connected to the rear brakes by a steel cable. Pulling the lever applies force to the cable, shifting force to the back brakes to hold your car in place.
When releasing the lever to disengage the brake, the brake shoes retract from the walls of the drum, releasing the vehicle. If this doesn’t happen, it could keep you stuck in place.

How to perform a stuck emergency/parking brake inspection

During a stuck emergency/parking brake inspection, a mechanic will look for a few different issues:
  • Worn out parking brake cable: One of the most common issues with parking brakes is a rusted or corroded cable. If a cable is rusty, it tends to stick, preventing you from releasing the parking brake.
  • Engaged too hard: While it’s less common than other causes, the parking brake can get stuck if you applied it with too much force. If you pull back the lever as hard as possible, the cable may stretch and the shoes might stick.
  • Damaged or stuck adjuster screw: An adjuster screw is what operates the rear brake shoes. If the screw gets stuck, damaged, or corroded, it won’t move, keeping your parking brake from engaging.
  • Brake engaged for too long: Most people leave their parking brake engaged overnight, but leaving it engaged for long periods of time may cause the system to freeze and stick.

When do I need to get my stuck emergency/park brake inspected?

Driving with an engaged parking brake causes additional damage to your braking system, so it’s best to stay put and schedule an inspection as soon as possible. It’s also important to keep notice if your parking brake light stays on even when you’ve disengaged it, if you feel resistance when driving, or if you smell burnt brake materials after driving.

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