Driving With The Parking Brake On

Today my husband drove our 2007 Mazda3 about 3 miles with the parking brake on, in town with a 40 mph speed limit. When we pulled into the gas station there was a terrible smell. It was a lot like burning rubber or maybe bakelite.

Now I can smell it in our garage. The brakes work. There is enough brake fluid in the resevoir and I don’t see any drips and nothing looks melted.

So I wonder how much damage he might have done. Could the rotors be warped? Can we expect the calipers to leak sometime soon?

You should have your rear brakes looked at. Your vehicle uses the pads and rotors rather than a separate set of shoes inside mini-drum, so your parking and primary rear brakes are the same. It is hard to say what to expect, maybe nothing, maybe more, but have them looked at anyway. Most places will do a brake inspection for little or no money.

The brakes will probably be okay. From the wording of your post, I take it the car has rear disk brakes. The parking brakes in most cars with rear disks consists of small rake drums integral with the rotors and small brake shoes. The normal braking surface of the rotors isn’t used, nor are the pads nor calipers. The wheel bearings may have their service lives shortened. For peace of mind, have a mechanic check everything out, though.

I see you replied while I was typing. You seem to have more specific knowledge of this car, so I defer to your answer!

Have them looked at. I have seen this before and it can glaze the braking surfaces and I have seen where the backing adhesive gets hot and the braking material actually slides on the backing.