How to tell if your parking brake cable needs to be replaced.
It's very easy to diagnose a failure in your parking brakes if you pull the brake handle or depress the emergency brake pedal and the parking brake shoes make little or no engagement with the drums. If the parking brake cable has been severed or become damaged in any way, you will not be able to set and release the parking brake. It is not unusual for this to happen, since over the course of your car or truck's life you will drive over any number of hazards that can yank on that cable. But just because it could happen to anyone doesn't mean you should continue to drive with a broken parking brake cable; this is unsafe for a number of reasons. So if you notice signs that your parking brakes aren't engaging like they should, make sure to get your parking brake cable checked out.
Where is your parking brake cable located, and what does it do?
We all know the handle to pull up on in between the seats or the tiny pedal to step on to set the parking brake, but how does it all work? That's where the parking brake cable comes in. Parking brakes cables are usually made out of metal and may have rubber linings or fittings on them. When you activate your parking brakes
either by handle or pedal, it pulls a cable located underneath your car that is attached to a set of brake shoes that are mounted inside your rear brake drums or rotors. The shoes are spread apart making contact with the inside of the drum, and are supposed to prevent the rear wheels from rotating. The parking brake can also be used in emergency circumstances to help slow the car if there is a failure of the regular braking system. It is not recommended to regularly use the parking brake to stop your car unless it's an emergency, because the parking brake cable would likely stretch.
Replace it yourself.
Since parking brakes are not often used by most owners, repairs to the cable are somewhat rare. Be sure to wear proper protective equipment. As always, consult a professional if you are unsure about how to change the parking brake cable.
- First and foremost, make sure your parking brake is not engaged. Then, lift your car and put it on jack stands.
- Now, remove the rear wheels andthe brake drums or rotors to expose the shoes. You may be able to access them from behind the backing plate, but it is often easier this way. If you are replacing an intermediate or front cable, you will obviously not need to do this part.
- Next, remove the cable from the parking brake lever and push it out the backing plate. You will want to trace it forward to the equalizer bar and/or hand brake lever.
- Disconnect it at this point, and re-install your new parking brake cable following the same steps in reverse.
A good job starts with good parts.
Depending on the make and model, we have a great selection of parking brake cables at Car Parts Discount. All have a 12-month warranty and are available with expedited shipping if you need it in a hurry. We carry many great brand names from Dorman, Gemo, Cofle as well as OEM parts all at the best prices available. Not only are you getting a quality part, but when you look at the cost of a new parking brake cable from our online store you will surely be pleased. Get this important safety device on your car working properly again with a new parking brake cable. Next time you or parked on a hill you can relax knowing that your car will not roll away.