Checking Your Emergency Brake

by Lee Wyatt
(last updated May 28, 2010)

An emergency brake, while a vital piece of automotive equipment, is never really thought about until an emergency happens. Considering how this particular piece of automotive equipment could save your life, or at the very least keep your car from rolling down a hill, it might be a good idea to check it every once in a while. Luckily, there are a couple of methods that anyone can use to check their emergency (or parking) brake. Here are the two best methods, one test that is quick (takes all of 5 minutes), and one that is more in depth. For your initial exam, I would suggest using the more in depth test, then proceed to the quick test later on for a periodic review of your brake.

In Depth Exam:

  1. Lift. Loosen the tire lug nuts for the tires where your brakes are located (either the front or back). Raise up that portion of the car. Preferably you should use a car lift, but if you need to, use some car jacks. To maintain stability, also use some safety stands.
  2. Tires. Finish removing the tires from the car. Do this the same way you would when changing the tires on your car.
  3. Check. You should be able to see the brake pads or drums relatively easy. Have some one else reach into your car and engage the emergency/parking brake. When it is engaged you should see either the drums or pads move, this is good. You want to see them move, if you do not then you need to adjust your emergency brake connections.
  4. Finish. Replace and reconnect the tires and lower your car.

Quick Test:

  1. Hill. Find a hill. It does not have to be particularly large, just one with a pronounced slope.
  2. Roll. Stop the car at the top of the slope and place your car into neutral. If you car does not immediately start to roll, you might have to put it into gear just enough to get it to move.
  3. Brake. Once you have the car rolling, engage the emergency brake. You should stop (often rather abruptly). If the emergency brake does not stop the car, use the regular foot brake.
  4. Consider. If necessary, do a more in-depth exam of the emergency brake where you can make any needed adjustments.

Author Bio

Lee Wyatt

Contributor of numerous Tips.Net articles, Lee Wyatt is quickly becoming a regular "Jack of all trades." He is currently an independent contractor specializing in writing and editing. Contact him today for all of your writing and editing needs! Click here to contact. ...

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