How to fix a stuck hand brake

Written by adam raphael
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How to fix a stuck hand brake
You can unstick your hand brake with a hammer. ( Images)

The hand brake, or emergency brake, in a car gives you extra braking power when parking or during an emergency-stopping situation. However, hand brakes sometimes stick. You will know the brake is stuck because you will feel friction and drag coming from one of your wheels and sudden, awkward stopping. If some simple fixes don't unstick your brake, it may need to be replaced.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Four-way lug nut
  • Hammer
  • Punch

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  1. 1

    Release and engage the brake completely five times while stationary.

  2. 2

    Start driving forward and make a sudden stop with your regular brakes. The car will jerk you forward, so make sure you are wearing your seat belt.

  3. 3

    Drive the car in reverse for a short distance and stop short as before. Drive straight and back four times, braking sharply each time.

  4. 4

    Turn the engine off and bounce the rear of the car near the stuck wheel. Push the car down on the wheel and let it rise back up.

  5. 5

    Push and release the car to make it bounce four times. Make sure the car is descending on the frame each time.

  6. 6

    Remove the wheel that is experiencing the sticking from the brake by releasing the lug nuts with a wheel brace. Take off all of the lug nuts.

  7. 7

    Place your foot against the lower edge of the wheel and strike it with your hand along the top edge. The wheel should loosen so you can get it off the car.

  8. 8

    Tap the round plate on the back of the parking brake mechanism with a hammer. The assembly that is uncovered when you move the wheel is the hand brake. The plate you should tap is called the backing plate, and all of the other brake components are attached to it.

  9. 9

    Grasp the brake cable that connects the brake line to the assembly. Move the cable back and forth. Do not pull the cable or bend it; just move it enough to allow it to flex a little.

  10. 10

    Place the tip of the punch against each of the four holes in the backing plate. You can access these holes through the front of the assembly.

  11. 11

    Apply a very small amount of pressure to the punch when it is placed in each hole. Do not force the punch into the holes.

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