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Emergency brake

My son-in-law says that using my hand brake is unnecessary (except on hills) and is harmful to the car. Being a good mother-in-law, I’ve stopped using it as a backup to leaving my car in Park. Is he right about it being harmful?

Your son-in-law is very misguided and wrong. Using the handbrake does not affect your car’s life or reliability. Having said that, in cold climates you will find many drivers not using thier handbrake since under certain conditions it can freeze up.

If you parked in a moist, warm underground garage, and went and parked out in -40F weather and applied the brake it could easily freeze up. Similarly, if the car is driven through a puddle, and parked ovenight below freezing with the brake on, it could happen as well.

Where I live, all these things can happen, and I use the handbrake most of, but not all the time.

As Doc stated, your son-in-law is wrong, wrong, wrong.

Using the e-brake is harmful?
On the contrary, failure to use it can be harmful to the car (by placing more strain on the transmission’s “park pawl”), and potentially harmful to people and other cars when the car rolls away (through failure of the “park pawl”, which is rare, but does happen).

In fact, using the hand brake on a regular basis is the only way to be sure that it will actually function when you might need it in an emergency. An unused e-brake will tend to develop rust on the cable that activates it. The cable and related linkage can rust in place, thus making the e-brake inoperable.

As Doc stated, an e-brake can freeze under the right (or is it wrong?) conditions, so you might want to avoid using it in wet conditions that will be followed by falling temperatures. Then again, the e-brakes that tend to freeze under these conditions are the ones that are rarely used…

Hopefully, your son-in-law is knowledgeable on other topics, because he has no clue regarding this automotive issue. Our body parts must be used in order to remain functional, and the e-brake is similar.

I agree with Doc and VDC completely.

My suggestion? When your son-in-law is with you AND you park on level ground (note the AND), dispense with the parking brake. The rest of the time, use it if you’d like.

The level ground emphasis is because routinely not using your parking brake on hills can create excess wear on the parking pawl and you may someday find yourself unable to take the car out of park.

Your son-in-law is wrong. Use your parking brake.

Let me join the chorus. Your son-in-law is wrong. The parking brake is a safety feature, and should be used whenever the car is parked. I apply the parking brake every time I park either of my vehicles.

I’d love to hear him explain how using the parking brake is “harmful to the car.” He needs to educate himself before he starts telling others what to do.

Wow! Thanks I will use it when it’s not raining and/or freezing and the car isn’t in the driveway where he’ll see it because he lives next door. He wouldn’t respond well to being told that he’s wrong, so I should save that one for something where I need it more.
I will enjoy using the brake again; it hasn’t felt right to not use it.

Thanks!! I’ll use it discreetly and happily.

Wow…thanks. Yes he is knowledgeable about a lot of thing, and a good man. And now I will start using the brake when it isn’t wet and cold. But not in my (level) driveway because he lives next door. My nice car, Sylvia, thanks you too.

He had 3 or 4 reasons which I can’t recall, being in my late 70’s with short-term memory gaps, especially for things I didn’t like hearing. The reasons involved the brakes and the transmission as I recall.

Thanks for setting me straight. I’ll use it when weather permits.