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In addition to the regular service brakes, your car has an emergency, or parking brake. This is either a pedal or lever, designed to allow you to apply part of the brake system if the regular brakes fail. The lever or pedal connects to a cable, which in turn connects to part of the regular brake system, usually on the rear brakes. When you press the pedal or pull up on the lever for the parking brake, the cable pulls against a separate actuator to apply the brakes.
While the emergency brake is far less efficient than the regular brakes, it will stop the car in the event the regular brakes fail. And it’s useful for helping keep the car from rolling when you park. But there is a downside to the emergency or parking brakes. Since they only actuate half the brakes, using the emergency brake to stop the car is much more likely to cause the wheels to lock. If you have to use the parking brake to stop the car, always apply it gently and be prepared to release it slightly.
Many systems are built with a self-adjusting parking brake, but may still need to be manually adjusted from time to time because heat, dirt, and dust can interfere with proper performance. If you don’t engage your parking brake often the cables can stretch or snap leaving you with no back-up in case you need to use your parking brake for parking or an emergency.
A successful parking brake adjustment will let you drive—and park—safely knowing your emergency brakes will be there for you when you need them.
At AAA | Bob Sumerel Tire and Service, we’ll help you stay on top of vehicle maintenance and repair. Contact us online or call today to schedule your service at one of our convenient locations in and around the Cincinnati, OH, area.
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