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E-Brake Handle Sticks

Hello everyone,
This is a puzzle for me and I haven’t had any luck finding a solution on my online searches. It’s like nobody every really has this problem. This is for the emergency brake on a 2008 Toyota Yaris. When you pulled the handle up to lock the e-brake it stays there. The button seems to be locked in and you can’t get the handle to go back down. I have managed to release it only by taking a flathead screwdriver to the base of the handle where there’s this gear (or sprocket) and lifting the part from the gear’s teeth with the flathead and then I can lower the handle.

What I want to do is learn how to repair this permanently. I think it might be the button but is there a tutorial somewhere or someone who can give me a rundown on how to do it?


You are pulling up on the handle as you push the release button, right? If the handle is going to the end of its upward travel, there might not be enough play to release pressure from the button. The solution would be to adjust the brakes (rear drums, correct?) and/or cable.

If you can insert a screwdriver to release the E-brake, try inserting the straw from a can of aerosol brake cleaner and wash the mechanism down.

If the E-brake lever is located on the center console, all kinds of stuff can fall into the mechanism gumming stuff up.


I had a sort of similar problem on my truck one time. The truck is not the handle type of e-brake setting method where you pull a handle back, but instead you press on a pedal with your foot to set the e-brake. Sometimes I’d press the pedal but it would just come right back up. Other times I’d press and set it, then it would be difficult to get it to release for the next drive. I expect both are a similar type of ratcheting mechanism.

The problem was just the ratcheting parts had lost most their lubrication over the years. I solved it by using a wire brush to clean off any obvious oxidation on the ratcheting parts, then spraying some WD 40 and just letting it sit for a week like that. Make sure to give a dose to the pivots too. I noticed some clear improvement after this, but not completely solved, so I repeated the whole thing another time. This time it completely fixed the problem. Then I got out a can of light lubricating oil and gave the moving parts a little coat of that for the road. Been working fine for 5 years now.

If that doesn’t work, could be the cable is binding up somewhere between the handle and the rear brakes, or the rear brakes are not working correctly.