parking brake

How to Release a Parking Brake

A parking brake is a car brake that is sometimes referred to as the emergency brake, e-brake, or a hand brake. While most parking brakes are hand operated, there are some types – depending on the make and model of the vehicle – that are operated by a foot pedal. A parking brake prevents the vehicle from moving and provides an extra safeguard against rolling when the car or truck is parked on a hill or incline. Here, we’ll discuss how to release the parking brake, as well as when and how to use one to ensure your vehicle remains stationary when parked.


How to Release a Parking Brake That’s Been Activated

Releasing the parking brake on your vehicle depends on the type of e-brake installed in your car. Generally speaking, you will perform one of the following release actions: pull the foot lever above the foot pedal to release the e-brake, press the button on the hand-activated brake and press the center lever down, push the e-brake button on the car’s console, or shift the stick lever beneath the dashboard.


Types of Parking Brakes

Of course, your vehicle should come with a manual that discusses its parking brake’s operation in more detail. Newer vehicles may come with the button on the dashboard that allows drivers to simply press to activate the parking brake and press to deactivate it. Older vehicles might have the shift lever beneath the dashboard or the e-brake foot pedal.

However, many cars on the road today continue to feature a center lever parking brake that is often installed between the driver and passenger seats. To activate this type of parking brake, drivers must pull the lever upward from its flat position. There may be a clicking sound involved as the driver pulls this lever upward. In order to release the stick and, therefore, the parking brake, the driver must press a button on the top of the lever while pushing the brake back down into its flattened position.


When Should Drivers Activate Their Parking Brake?

Parking on a hill isn’t the only time drivers can or even should activate their emergency brake. In fact, many auto experts suggest that drivers use the brake frequently in order to keep it in good functioning condition and prevent it from corroding. Using the brake even when parking on a flat surface can help reduce stress on the car’s transmission or its driveline parts. By using the parking brake routinely, you can develop a good habit.

Some drivers have actually been forced to rely on their parking brake in order to slow and stop their vehicle if their regular brakes fail. The parking brake cannot immediately stop the vehicle, but it can be used to help slow and finally bring the car to a stop. To learn more about your car’s particular parking brake and its operation, be sure to check your car’s manual.

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