Parking Brake Repair: How to Adjust an Emergency Parking Brake

  • 2-3 hours
  • Advanced
  • 0-2,000
What You'll Need
Wrench Set
Owners Manual
Car Lift

When it comes to parking brake repair, you will find that the adjustment is something that you will sometimes have to worry about. The parking brakes are completely mechanical, which means that they are pieces of equipment that need adjustment as opposed to complete replacement. Testing your parking brake for adjustment is something that you should do at least once a year to make sure that it does not go out when you need it most.

Step 1 – Test

The first thing that you will need to do to properly adjust your parking brake is to test it. Go to a hill or a road that slopes and get the emergency brake set on. Make sure that you pay special attention to when it becomes engaged. You should begin to notice it working when it is about a third of the way pushed in or pulled. This means that whenever the parking brake is two thirds of the way pushed down or pulled that it should be completely engaged. If your parking brake has not been completely engaged by the time that you have pulled or pushed it in then it is time for an adjustment.

Step 2 – Check Owner’s Manual

Once you have checked to see when the parking brake becomes engaged, then you should take a look at the owner’s manual to compare. If the owner’s manual says something different as to when your parking brake should be engaged, then it is definitely time to adjust it.

Step 3 – Adjust

You will need a car lift so that you can get your car completely raised up. A car jack will not be able to do the job properly. The emergency brake will be located underneath the car, in the general location of where the parking brake is on the inside of your vehicle. Getting a wrench or a screwdriver, you will need to tighten up the brake line. The make and the model of your car will determine the type of tool that is needed. You will simply need to turn your emergency brake adjustment until it is tighter.

Step 4 – Test the Adjustment

Once you have tightened up the emergency brake, then it is time for you to test the parking brake once again. Go back to the hill or the road that is on a slope and once again engage the emergency brake. As you are doing this, see if you can tell any difference in when your emergency brake begins to engage as you press down or pull on it.

Step 5 – Repeat

You may end up needing to repeat tightening your emergency parking brake more than once. Make sure that you do not tighten it too much as it could cause damage to the actual brake. Once your emergency parking brake line can no longer be tightened then do not attempt to tighten it any more to prevent damage.