Emergency brake


I recently heard that I should keep my emergency brake on, while parked, at least once a week, and if I do not follow this recommendation I am harming the braking system. A co-worker stated that the brake wih rust out and then fail when I actually need an emergency brake. Is this true? My car is inspected each year. Do they test the emergency brake during a NY state inspection?


Use the brake now and then to keep it from freezing up. Also, on many cars, this is what keeps the rear brakes adjusted. Set the parking brake, then press firmly on the service brake to adjust the rear brakes…


The emergency brake is simply applying the rear brakes in most cases. Don’t worry about ruining anything by not using it, although you should use it while parking on slopes. As far as rusting out, your co-worker may be doing large quantities of crack cocaine.


A rust problem is more likely to develop in the release mechanism than in the applying system. In other words, be wary of letting your car sit for 6 months with the p-brake engaged while you are on overseas your tour of duty.

It is a good idea to apply and release your p-brake every now and then, at least once a month. As for NY inspection, they probably do test. You can verify by asking at any inspection site. You have nothing to worry about if you know the brake works.




Well if you don’t use it, at least occasionally, you likely will not be able to use it at all. It will rust in place.

I would like to point out that it is NOT an “emergency” brake, it is a parking brake and you really should use it every time you park.

If you have a manual it can keep you from finding your car down the hill from where you parked it (no you will not remember to use it on those times you park on a hill if you don’t use it all the time.) or if you have auto, it may take the stress off the parking transmission lock, which is far more expensive to replace if you brake it.


I agree. Read the owner’s manual. The words “emergency brake” will not be there. It’s a PARKING BRAKE. Use it EVERY time you park the car, regardless of the transmission type. It’s an additional safety feature, and it’s foolish not to use it.


Always use it, slopes or otherwise. It’s a safety issue. It’s common sense too. What’s your reason for not using it? If it’s not an important part of a car, why do you think the car makers even put it in every car?


It is best to firmly set the parking brake every time you leave the car. The parking brake will keep the car from rolling away if it slips out of gear (manual transmission) or Park (automatic transmission). Exercising the linkage frequently will keep it from seizing up due to corrosion.

The only exception is if you expect not to drive the car again for several weeks or months. (If the linkage is going to stick, you don’t want it to stick with the brake applied.)

If you have an automatic transmission, you need to avoid putting pressure on the “park pawl”. With the car in gear or in neutral (not in Park), use the foot brake to hold the car in place. Firmly set the parking brake before shifting to Park and taking your foot off the pedal. This way, if the car is on a hill, the load is carried by the parking brake, not the park pawl.