When should I set my parking brake?
Most people think you only need to use your parking brake (also called the emergency brake) when parking on a hill or if your car has a manual transmission but this is incorrect. In this article, we’ll talk about why you should use it every time you park.
It’s Called The Parking Brake For A Reason
The parking brake got its name for a reason: you should use it when you park your car. Cars are held in “park” by a device inside the transmission called a parking pawl. The parking pawl can break or become dislodged and the car will roll away. Granted, there is a low chance this will occur, but there is a chance nonetheless. The parking brake maintains a stronger hold than the prawl, making it a better option for holding your car in place while parked. Using this when you shift nto “park” will reduce the strain on the parking pawl and help protect the transaxle, constant velocity joints, and transmission from unnecessary stress. Additionally, if your car was hit while parked, this brake would provide further stability, lessening the risk of your car rolling away.
How to Set the Parking Brake
You should always set your emergency brake while your foot is still on the brake pedal and before shifting into “park” to reduce the strain on the parking pawl. Most are hand-operated levers located in the center console; to set it, you can simply pull up on the lever. To release the brake, press the button on the end of the brake handle and lower the lever.
In some vehicles, it might be a foot pedal located on the far left side of the driver’s pedal area. To set the brake, push firmly on the pedal; to release push the pedal is pushed down until you hear a click or pull the brake release lever located near the parking brake pedal. In more modern cars, you can simply press a button or flick a switch to engage the parking brake.
The most important part of using the brake is remembering to disengage it before driving again! In most vehicles, you release by doing the opposite of engaging. Trying to drive with the parking or emergency brake on can cause hefty damage to your vehicle. If you’re diligent, the process of setting the brake when you park and disengaging it before you drive should become a habit, so you should never forget to do either part.
At V&F our expert mechanics use the latest diagnostic equipment, and high-quality CARQUEST auto parts, to make sure we get the job done right. Plus, our auto repair services are backed by an industry-leading 3-year / 36,000-mile warranty on parts and labor. Call us today at (413) 314-2280 or schedule an appointment online.
This article was originally published in August 2018.