If you own a car, it is important to ensure that all its components are functioning properly. One of the critical parts of your vehicle is the emergency brake.
It is designed to keep your car from rolling away when parked and can be a lifesaver in emergency situations.
However, like any other part, the emergency brake can break down, and it’s essential to know the signs of a faulty one.
In this article, we will take you through a step-by-step guide on how to tell if emergency brake is broken.
What is an Emergency Brake?
Before diving into how to check for a broken emergency brake, it’s crucial to know what an emergency brake is.
The emergency brake is also known as the parking brake, handbrake, or e-brake. It’s a secondary braking system that is manually operated, and it’s usually located between the front seats or on the center console.
The emergency brake uses cables to activate the rear brakes, and it’s used to keep the car stationary when parked.
Signs of a Broken Emergency Brake
There are several signs that your emergency brake is broken or not functioning correctly. Here are some of the most common signs to look out for:
The brake lever moves too freely
If your emergency brake lever moves too freely and doesn’t offer any resistance when pulled, it’s a sign that the brake cable is broken or has become loose. This means that the emergency brake won’t work even if you pull the lever.
The car rolls away when parked
One of the most apparent signs of a broken emergency brake is when your car rolls away when parked.
If the emergency brake is functioning correctly, your car should remain stationary when parked, even on an incline. If your car starts rolling, it’s a clear sign that the emergency brake is not working correctly.
The brake warning light is on
If the emergency brake warning light on your dashboard is on, it could indicate a problem with the emergency brake system.
The light could be an indication that the brake is not fully disengaging, or the brake fluid level is low.
A burning smell
If you notice a burning smell coming from your car, it could be a sign that your emergency brake is faulty.
A broken emergency brake can cause the brake pads to rub against the brake rotors, causing friction and producing a burning smell.
If you hear unusual noises when engaging or disengaging your emergency brake, it could be a sign that the brake cable is frayed or damaged. The noises could be a clicking, grinding, or squeaking sound.
How to check for a broken emergency brake?
Now that you know the signs of a broken emergency brake let’s look at how to check for one. Here are the steps to follow:
Step 1: Locate the emergency brake lever
The emergency brake lever is usually located between the front seats or on the center console. Once you locate the lever, pull it up slowly and note the resistance.
Step 2: Check the brake warning light
Before starting your car, check the brake warning light on your dashboard. If the light goes off after the engine starts, it means that the emergency brake is disengaged.
If the light remains on, it’s an indication that there’s a problem with the emergency brake system.
Step 3: Check for resistance
While the engine is running, pull the emergency brake lever slowly and note the resistance. If the lever doesn’t offer any resistance or moves too freely, it’s a sign that the brake cable is broken or loose.
Step 4: Inspect the brake pads and rotors
If you suspect that your emergency brake is faulty, it’s important to inspect the brake pads and rotors.
To do this, you’ll need to remove the wheels and visually inspect the brake pads and rotors for any signs of wear or damage.
If the brake pads are worn out or the rotors are damaged, it could be a sign that your emergency brake is not functioning correctly.
Step 5: Check the brake cable
Another way to check for a broken emergency brake is to inspect the brake cable. The cable is responsible for connecting the emergency brake lever to the rear brakes.
Check the cable for any signs of damage, including fraying or rust. If the cable is damaged, it may need to be replaced.
Step 6: Test the emergency brake on an incline
Finally, to ensure that your emergency brake is functioning correctly, test it on an incline. Park your car on an incline and engage the emergency brake.
The car should remain stationary. If the car starts rolling, it’s a clear sign that your emergency brake is not working correctly.
Read also: How to Bypass a Brake Caliper?
How often should I check my emergency brake?
It’s recommended that you check your emergency brake every six months or during your routine car maintenance.
Can a broken emergency brake cause accidents?
Yes, a broken emergency brake can cause accidents, especially if your car rolls away when parked.
How much does it cost to repair a broken emergency brake?
The cost of repairing a broken emergency brake depends on the extent of the damage and the type of car. It can range from a few hundred dollars to over a thousand dollars.
Can I still drive my car with a broken emergency brake?
It’s not recommended to drive your car with a broken emergency brake. It can be dangerous and could cause accidents.
Can I fix a broken emergency brake myself?
It’s not recommended to fix a broken emergency brake yourself, especially if you don’t have experience with car repairs. It’s best to take your car to a professional mechanic.
In conclusion, a broken emergency brake can be dangerous and can cause your car to roll away when parked or in an emergency situation.
It’s important to know the signs of a faulty emergency brake and how to check for one.
By following the step-by-step guide provided in this article, you can ensure that your emergency brake is functioning correctly and keep yourself and others safe on the road.