The Fiat Punto was manufactured between September 1993 and 1999, at which time it was replaced by the Fiat Nuova Punto. It proved to be one of Fiat's most popular cars, combining good design with reliable technology and offering customer options such as three- and five-door models and a range of different engines. Despite cosmetic changes to the body and interior, including the handbrake console cover, the handbrake adjustment procedure remained the same and applies to all models.
Position the car on a flat surface of sufficient strength to withstand the use of jacks under the rear axle. Place chocks to both sides of the front tyres to prevent the vehicle rolling forwards or backwards when the handbrake is not set.
Use a flat screwdriver to gently pry the top off the plastic facia at the rear of the handbrake housing between the front seats. Remove the securing nuts, found in each corner, using a socket set with a short extension arm. Lift the handbrake console upwards and off the handbrake arm.
Check that the chocks are still tight against either side of the front wheels so the car cannot move. Fully release the handbrake, and then reapply it gently, counting three clicks as you raise the lever.
Locate the lock nut attached to the handbrake adjuster. This is under the handbrake lever, slightly forward of the point at which the lever connects to the main handbrake assembly. Fix a ring spanner on the lock nut, or use a well-adjusted adjustable spanner.
Identify the adjustment screw, positioned at the forward end of the handbrake mechanism. Turn the screw anticlockwise to tighten the handbrake and clockwise to loosen it. Assuming that the brake needs to be tightened, turn the adjuster one full revolution in an anticlockwise direction before releasing and then reapplying the handbrake.
Remove the chocks, release the handbrake and move the car to a gentle incline. Check if the brake holds the car stationary on the incline. If the car remains stationary, move to Step 7, otherwise return to a flat surface, replace the chocks and turn the adjustor through another full revolution. Repeat the process until the handbrake holds the car on the incline.
Position the car back on a flat surface and with the front wheels choked, jack up both rear wheels and place axle stands under the rear axle to support the car. Release the handbrake and ensure that both rear wheels rotate freely without binding. If they bind, repeat the adjustment process, but turn the adjustor clockwise a little at a time, until the wheels spin freely.
Lower the car to the ground, apply the handbrake, and replace the handbrake console and trim.
- In an incline isn't available, attempt to push the car along a flat surface.
- Keep the console and fixings in the car while you work. That way they can neither become lost nor accidentally trodden on or driven over.
- Never omit the axle stands. Jacks can, and do, fail. Serious injury may result when the car suddenly drops and traps your limbs.