Although many car owners are good about getting the brakes in the car inspected and having routine maintenance performed, many people overlook parking brake repair as part of their maintenance regime. However, parking brakes are crucial part of your car's brake system and should never be overlooked. So, this article will address some of the most important aspects of parking brake repair and how to correct common problems.
Keep the Parking Brake System Lubricated
Many parking brake problems can be corrected (and prevented) by lubricating the parking brake system. Sometimes, parking brakes are hard to engage or stick because the moving parts in the system lack proper lubrication. Generally speaking, a can of WD-40, or another silicone based lubricant, does an excellent job of lubricating your car's parking brake system.
If you are experiencing problems with the parking brakes on your vehicle sticking, pull out a can of WD-40 and spray lubricant on the sliding mechanisms or the actuator levers of the parking brake. In most cases, the actuator levers are found on your car's rear brake calipers. So, you will have to remove the tire and wheel to get to them. In extreme cases of neglect, you may have to remove the rear brakes to get to the problem area.
Make Adjustments Frequently
Generally speaking, a parking brake system consists of a series of pulleys and cables. Over time, cables can begin to stretch or wear out. Many times, simply removing the slack in parking brake cables can correct the problem. Most vehicles have a cable tightening mechanism that is used to relieve the slack in the cables and is usually fairly easy to use.
You should refer to your car owner's manual for directions or instructions on how to make adjustments to your car's parking brake system. In the unlikely event that no information is contained in the car owner's manual, you can easily find information for adjusting your car's parking brake online. Simply use your favorite search engine to find parking brake information on the make and model of your vehicle.
Watch Out for Snapped Parking Brake Lines
In most cases where a parking brake fails completely, the culprit is usually a broken or snapped parking brake cable. Replacing a broken parking brake cable is very easy, and makes a excellent DIY project for even the most mechanically challenged.
Changing out a broken cable usually only involves jacking up the vehicle, tracing the cable back to the car's brake calipers, removing the broken cable and replacing it with a new one. For popular vehicles, you can usually find a replacement parking brake cable at your favorite auto parts store. However, if you're not able to locate one there, you can always visit a car dealership that sells your particular model vehicle and order one from the part's department.
Get the Electric Parking Brakes Inspected at the Dealership
Some the newer vehicles come equipped with electric parking brakes. Electric parking brakes work basically in the same manner as those that use cables. However, electric parking brake employ an electric motor system instead of a lever that is pushed with your foot or pulled with your hand. Problems with electric parking brakes will usually require a visit to your local authorized car dealership because sophisticated diagnostic tools may be needed to find the problem.