Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Driving with the Emergency Brake on

Ok my husband has a 2000 Toyota celica and i was driving it the other day and i had put the emergency brake up to clean around it( not that that matters) and i forgot I had put it up and i drove about 5 minutes (or less) with it up and then i realized that it was up and so i stopped and put it down. Would that cause any damage?

No smoke, no smell, no damage…5 minutes, no problem. You didn’t TELL HIM did you???

oh no smoke no smell. HELL no i didnt!! he would be SO angry with me. i know more about cars than he does so he would assume that i ruined the car. cause he says its making rumbling noises (we just had alot of work done to it) so im going to guess that something is wrong with it that doesnt pretain to the E-brake or something wasnt fixed correctly.

Was the brake actually applied to any degree?
Many times it is still hardly on because the line has stretched.
I have tried to stop slowly moving vehicles using just the emergency brake.
Have had to pull the handle up quite a distance to create much braking.

It might be a good idea to park it on a hill somewhere, put it in neutral and just confirm that the brake will still hold the car. The trouble is that on many modern cars with rear disc brakes, the parking brake consists of a little miniature drum brake that’s really not designed to actually stop the car from any great speed. Driving around with the parking brake on can wear the mini brake shoes down pretty quick.

The brake was actually applied to a degree and Greasyjack i did apply the parking brake on a hill in neutral and it stayed put nicely. So should i worry?

Don’t worry. If your 12 year old vehicle still has a parking brake that works you are truly lucky. You probably did minor damage at best to the parking brake so don’t worry at all.

If it had been on sufficient to cause damage you would have felt the drag, smelled the pads burning, and probably not have had it hold the vehicle in a hill now.

You’re fine. Chances are that when you raised the lever to clean under it you didn’t raise it enough to engage the parking brakes. I’ve made the error of attempting to drive off with the parking brake engaged and the drag is immediately noticable.