How can you tighten a car’s handbrake?

I drive a car with a manual transmission, so my parking brake gets a lot of use, but I’ve noticed recently that the lever needs to be pulled up a lot before the brake actually engages. How can you tighten a car’s handbrake?

Jack Walsh · Updated on
Reviewed by Shannon Martin, Licensed Insurance Agent.
As you know, the handbrake in a manual car is incredibly important, so if it’s feeling loose or having trouble engaging, the issue needs to be resolved immediately. The good news is that tightening a handbrake isn’t too tricky.
Before you can tighten the brake, you should gather the following:
  • Plastic pry tool
  • Owner’s manual
  • Screwdriver
  • Socket wrench
Once you have all your materials:
  • Engage the handbrake. Count the number of clicks until it is engaged and compare to the recommended number in the owner’s manual. If it is above the recommended amount, continue onto the next step.
  • Remove the handbrake trim using the plastic pry tool and screwdriver to expose the brake’s inner workings. Each vehicle is different, so if you’re having trouble, consult your owner’s manual.
  • Adjust the brake by using your socket wrench to tighten the adjustment bolt.
  • Check the handbrake and continue to adjust until appropriately tightened.
  • Reinstall the handbrake trim.
  • Test the handbrake by engaging the brake on a hill or by trying to push your vehicle.
As you can see, adjusting the handbrake yourself is easy and saves you a potentially costly visit to the
. If you’re looking for other ways to save some money, look no further than your
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