How to Repair Sticking Parking Brakes

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There are several possible reasons why a parking brake begins sticking--cold weather, lack of lubrication, or the need to replace the cable and springs. When you experience this, it is important to find the cause as soon as possible. It is true that the parking brakes are not your primary brakes, but they are important to safe driving, and you don't want to find out they are not holding your vehicle in place while you are trying to park on a hill.

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Things you need

  • Parking brake cable
  • Rotating clip
  • Screwdriver
  • Ratchet wrench
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Diagonal shears
  • Pliers
  • Vice grips
  • Jack stand
  • Chocks

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    Diagnose the Problem

  1. 1

    Engage and release the emergency brake several times.

  2. 2

    Drive the vehicle around the block a couple of times, stopping and starting frequently to try to release the sticking brake.

  3. 3

    Push on the back of the car on the side on which the brake seems stuck.

  4. 4

    If your parking brake sticks more in cold weather, turn on a heat source and warm up the lever.

  5. 5

    Lubricate the parking brake lever. If these tricks don't release the sticking parking brake, you may need to replace the emergency brake springs and cable. The springs are located underneath the drum and are simply used to hold the brake shoes in place. When these wear down, it can cause the brake to stick.

  6. 6

    Pound the brake drum with a hammer, loosening it. Pull the drum off the vehicle, exposing the parking brake mechanisms.

  7. 7

    Locate the two springs. There is one on each side, located directly under the brake shoes. Use your fingers to twist the lock washers holding them on. The springs will expand and pop off when freed.

  8. 8

    Replace the springs. Tighten the lock washers in place on top of the new springs.

    Repair Parking Brake

  1. 1

    Take the nut off the centre console, press down on the brakes three times, then set the parking brake.

  2. 2

    Remove the jack from the car and hoist up the rear of the car. Set the chock under the front wheels and double-check to make sure the vehicle is secure before continuing.

  3. 3

    Remove the parking brake clip of the raised tire and disconnect the cable. Unhook the clips from the cable, and you can then remove it fairly easily from the tube.

  4. 4

    Reinsert the parking cable you purchased, reversing the order in which you removed the old cable.

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