Let’s get one misconception out of the way, the parking brake isn’t only used for parking on hills.
What’s the purpose of the parking brake, how does it work?
Think of your parking brake as a clamp for your wheels. This system protects your vehicle by bypassing the hydraulic braking system ensuring that the vehicle will stop in an emergency or keep it in place while parked.
Most vehicles today are built with an automatic transmission. When in park, the “parking pawl” engages inside the transmission restricting the movement of the transmission. While not a common occurrence, this “pawl” can break or become dislodged, causing the vehicle to roll away.
When used correctly, the parking brake helps relieve stress and tension on the transmission and other drive components.
With a manual transmission, the parking brake is even more essential. Leaving a car in gear does not lock the transmission, only makes it harder to move.
With both transmission types, the parking brake is your added security against catastrophic failures. Additionally, if your vehicle is struck while in park, your parking brake will keep the vehicle from rolling away.
The parking brake is called a parking brake for a reason; you should always use it. To set it correctly, you should set the brake while your foot is still on the brake pedal. This will reduce the stress on the parking pawl.
Always remember to disengage prior to driving. driving with the parking brake on can reduce the effectiveness of the braking system.
If you feel your parking brake is not working correctly or if you’d driven with your parking brake on for a long period of time, contact us to have it inspected.