The handbrake is weak: what to do?

The handbrake is required to keep the vehicle stationary while parking and to stop in an emergency. For owners of cars with a manual transmission, this mechanism is very important. In this article, we will look at what can cause a weak handbrake. However, if you are thinking about selling your car and want to estimate its value, then a car depreciation calculator of JunkCarsUs will help you.

Causes of a broken handbrake


If the handbrake does not work, then a breakdown has occurred. There are several reasons that can lead to this situation.


For example:


  1. The rope broke. 
  2. The brakes are dirty. They got dust, dirt, and snow, so the handbrake can be weak.
  3. The rope is jammed. This happens when the shell or steel wires are damaged.
  4. Worn brake pads. It suffers every time you use the accelerator, so it is important to monitor its condition.
  5. The handbrake is incorrectly adjusted. Maybe, the bolt is not tightened properly, the cable length is incorrectly selected by mistake.

How to detect a malfunction of the handbrake?


If the handbrake does not work or cope well with its functions, you will need to check the vehicle. We recommend you entrust this task to a professional, as he has not only the necessary knowledge but also the tools. His experience will allow you to find a breakdown quickly. For example, a specialist can remove the rear wheels of a car to check the condition of the drums. In addition, very often experts evaluate the cable, it can break or be damaged.


It is necessary to assess the condition of the brake pads, if they are very worn out, then replacement with new ones will be required. 


There are many different breakdowns that can cause a weak handbrake. In order to determine the cause, you need to make a quality diagnosis of the car. Very often, drivers can independently assess the condition of the handbrake. Let’s look at ways to self-inspect a car:

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  1. The car must be placed on a slope, the handbrake must be raised halfway. If the car does not start moving arbitrarily, then the handbrake is working properly. However, there are situations when the car starts to roll. Then you need to tighten the handbrake to full and observe the result. If the car continues to roll, then the handbrake is clearly not working properly. The driver needs to find the cause. As a rule, the handbrake will need to be adjusted or replaced with a new one.


  1. In the second experiment, the driver needs to raise the handbrake and engage 1st gear. After that, the driver should release the clutch. If the handbrake mechanism is not broken, the car’s engine will stall. If the handbrake fails, the vehicle will start moving. In this case, the driver needs to urgently solve the problem.


What to do in case of a broken handbrake?


The mechanism must be in excellent condition because it blocks the wheels and ensures the stability of the car on the surface. This is important because an accident can occur if a parked vehicle accidentally drives off.


The handbrake also helps with emergency braking, it is used as the main brake if the hydraulics fail. This will prevent an accident, and align the car in case of skidding. For this reason, it is not recommended to drive a car if you do not hold the handbrake.


You need to independently diagnose or contact the master to identify the cause and eliminate it. Drivers may experience handbrake performance issues after pad replacement. This is usually due to incorrect cable adjustment. If you contact specialists, they will be able to quickly identify and fix the problem. Often, in such cases, the car does not need serious repairs that require large financial investments.

What to do if the handbrake does not hold well?


Often people ask themselves: the handbrake does not hold, what to do? If the cable does not break, then it will need to be tightened. In most cases, the adjustment is made under the car, so this option should be considered.

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What do you need:


  1. Tighten the handbrake by 2-3 clicks, how much depends on the situation.
  2. Raise the car with a jack or use an inspection pit.
  3. Loosen the tightening nut on the assembly. Tighten the cable by turning the second nut.
  4. When it is stretched enough, you need to check the result of the work. To do this, lower the handbrake in the cabin and see if the wheel will scroll easily.
  5. If everything is ok, then you need to tighten the locknut.

This method is also used if, after replacing the rear pads, the handbrake does not hold. The problem will be solved when it is possible to choose the correct length of the cable.

Useful tips for car owners


When the handbrake does not hold, you should not park even at a slight slope. Engaging first gear does not guarantee that the vehicle will be immobilized. For this reason, you need to figure out why the handbrake does not hold well. Until then, there is no need to park even on a slight slope.


There are situations when the operation of the handbrake is undesirable. For example, if the driver drives through puddles, and then frost hits, you will have to urgently dry the brakes. To do this, you should slow down 5-6 times on the road. Otherwise, if you tighten the handbrake in the parking lot, the brake pads may freeze to the drums. The car won’t run after that. If you listen to the advice, you will be able to avoid unwanted situations.

Wrapping up


The handbrake is a very important mechanism in a car. It may be needed in emergency situations, so it is extremely important for drivers to monitor the condition of the handbrake, and if necessary, replace it. However, if you have an old car and want to get rid of it and buy a new one, then JunkCarsUs will help you with this. The company buys not only old cars, but also vehicles that have been damaged by fire, water, or after accidents.