Your parking brake is only as good as the cable


Those who use their parking brake regularly rarely will […]

Those who use their parking brake regularly rarely will run into any problems with it, while those who seldom use it may see their parking brake cable become rusty and corroded to a point where it no longer functions.

“It is a little unusual for an emergency brake to have a problem on a vehicle when it is always used,” said Doug McAllister, owner of Douglas Automotive in Crystal Lake, Fox River Grove and Barrington.

“Generally, problems occur when the emergency brake is never used and all of a sudden somebody tries to use it.”

McAllister heard from the owner of a 1996 Chevy S10 truck who used his parking brake every day until he recently encountered a problem with it.

Eventually, his emergency brake pedal would not release which caused the back drums to lock on the pads. The cable on both wheels would only move about a half inch when he pulled on the cable by the back wheels.

McAllister determined that the cable was probably the issue.

“It certainly sounded like he had a cable that was seizing up and causing the brake to stay on,” McAllister said. “That’s something one of our expert technicians can diagnose and repair. Since his vehicle is about 20 years old, having a problem with the cable would not be totally out of the norm.”

He advised the truck owner to put his primary focus on the front cable.

“If you disconnect it from the rest of the cables you should be able to confirm where it is seized and not returning on its own,” he said. “If you have already proved that the rear cables are moving freely then you should turn your focus over to the front cable.”