Parking brakes are also known as emergency brakes or handbrakes. It plays a crucial role in ensuring the safety of a vehicle when it is parked or stationary. While parking brakes are designed to be reliable and robust, they can occasionally fail, posing a risk to both the vehicle and its occupants. Let’s find out the various factors that can contribute to parking brake failures, providing an understanding of why they occur and how they can be prevented.
What Causes Parking Brake Failure
Parking brake failure can be caused by various factors, including:
Worn Brake Cables
The parking brake or emergency brake system operates independently, utilising a separate cable to engage or disengage the parking brake. When you engage the parking brake, the cable tightens and when you release it, the cable loosens, allowing you to resume driving.
Over time, this cable can become corroded or rusty, especially when you don’t use a vehicle often. Lack of regular usage prevents the cable from going through its normal tightening and loosening process, which can result in rust formation.
- Prevention: Regular inspection and maintenance of brake cables can help identify any signs of wear or damage early on. Replacing worn cables promptly is crucial to ensure the parking brake’s proper functionality. Read on to find out what are the common car brake problems.
Faulty Lever, Pedal, Handle, or Button
The lever, pedal, handle, or button in your car’s parking brake system is the part that you physically interact with. This helps in engaging or disengaging the parking brake. While different vehicles may have different mechanisms, such as levers, handles, or separate pedals, the function remains the same.
In newer car models, electronic hand brake systems often utilise a button or switch to engage the parking brake. Regardless of the specific mechanism used in your vehicle, these components serve as the primary point of failure of the parking brake system.
When the lever, pedal, handle, or button is faulty, it can be difficult to engage or disengage the parking brake. Even if the other components of the parking brake system are in good working condition, a malfunctioning lever, pedal, handle, or button can render the parking brake ineffective.
- Prevention: To prevent parking brake failures caused by faulty levers, pedals, handles, or buttons, it is important to conduct regular inspections and maintenance. During routine vehicle check-ups, carefully examine these components for any signs of malfunction.
Faulty Parking Brake
One of the common parking brake malfunction causes is a faulty brake. Different types of braking systems work differently. Improperly adjusted parking brakes are a frequent cause of failure. When the parking brake is not adjusted correctly, it may not engage fully or provide sufficient force to hold the vehicle in place, particularly on steep inclines. Also, an excessively tight parking brake can result in dragging brakes, leading to premature wear and compromised braking performance.
- Prevention: Following the manufacturer’s guidelines for adjusting the parking brake is essential. Regular inspections and adjustments by a qualified mechanic can help maintain the optimal functionality of the parking brake.
Contaminated Brake Pads or Shoe
Contamination of the parking brake pads or shoes can compromise their ability to grip the rotors or drums effectively. Oil, grease, dirt, or brake fluid leakage onto the brake components can cause reduced friction, resulting in a weakened parking brake performance or complete failure.
- Prevention: Proper brake maintenance and regular cleaning of the brake components are necessary to prevent contamination. Avoid parking or working in areas with oil or grease spills to minimise the risk of contamination.
Broken or Damaged Springs
Springs within the parking brake mechanism provide the necessary tension and force to engage and disengage the brake system. If these springs become broken or damaged, the parking brake may not engage fully and cause a park brake fault. This can cause several issues with the parking brake system.
- Prevention: Routine inspections of the parking brake mechanism can help identify any broken or damaged springs. If any issues are detected, prompt brake repair or replacement of the springs is crucial.
Brake System Malfunctions
Parking brake failures can also occur due to underlying vehicle brake system issues. Problems such as brake master cylinders, callipers, or hydraulic lines can affect the overall functionality of the parking brake. A faulty ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) can also impact the parking brake’s performance. However, whenever you see a brake warning light, make sure you start looking for an issue immediately.
- Prevention: Regular brake system maintenance, including inspections and fluid checks, can help detect any potential issues before they result in parking brake failure. Consult a professional mechanic if you find any issue in the brake system.
This is all about the causes of emergency or parking brake failure. It is important to note here that a parking brake failure can lead to serious consequences, including accidents and property damage. This is why understanding the potential causes of parking brake failures is crucial. Also, in case your car brakes fail, here is what you need to do.
Also, regular maintenance, prompt repairs and adherence to manufacturer guidelines are key to preventing parking brake malfunctions. Vehicle owners must take proactive measures and keep an eye on the symptoms of parking brakes not working to enjoy a worry-free parking experience.
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Stay tuned to dubizzle’s auto blog to know more about the latest car safety features.