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What is the correct way to apply and release the handbrake?

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anonymous_2 22 Aug 2013


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2897 members . 1217 topics . 2221 posts
gices 22 Aug 2013

When applying the handbrake, you need to press the release button and lift it all the way to the top and then let go of the release button. This will ensure the parking brake is fully engaged. Some people forget to press the button on the handbrake when lifting it up and therefore hear a grinding noise which should be avoided as it wears the ratchet mechanism.

parking brake application

To release the parking brake, you just need to press the release button in and move the lever slightly up before pushing it down completely. This engages the ratchet and allows you to smoothly push the lever to the floor.

Note Some people argue the clicking sound they hear when applying the handbrake allows them to judge whether it needs replacing (if it's more than 5-7 clicks) but really if you see the lever going too high up when you're lifting it, that's one sign the cable is too loose among other symptoms.

On modern cars (especially those where the parking brake is at the foot like on most automatic cars), you don't have a release button and pressing the parking brake makes that horrible sound but I suppose it's been designed this way without affecting the braking mechanism.

groovychick 17 Sep 2013

My instructor said the same thing - you have to press the release button for the handle to move smoothly up and down. I find the noise it makes irritating when people do not do it properly.

JOYACLUPEN 02 Nov 2019

Should I use handbrake when stationary on an inclined road?

GOOD DAY. Is it recommended to use the handbrake in a super hilly/elevated street wherein the traffic is on stop/red sign?...thank you very much.

[Migrated from previous topic 10961 dated 11 Apr 2010]

gices 02 Nov 2019

You should definitely use your handbrake when waiting for traffic to move on a hill or inclined road. This is what it's there for - to prevent the car from moving when you need to be stationary. It will make it easier for you to move off as well because you will get to balance the vehicle better when the handbrake is on and this means your car will not roll back when it's time to go forward. Many drivers have the bad habit of using their brake pedal instead of their parking brake when they have stopped at traffic lights. It is important that you do not follow them and that you secure your car by raising your handbrake when you are stationary.

[Migrated from previous post 856 dated 11 Apr 2010]

anonymous_2 02 Nov 2019

Not only is it better driving to apply your hand brake at lights etc, it is also more considerate. You are not dazzling the person behind you with your brake lights.

[Migrated from previous post 1438 dated 15 Dec 2010]