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Emergency Brake

I always put on the emergency brake before putting the car in park. My husband only uses the park gear and not the emergency brake. Is this harmful to the car?

Why use the parking brake with an auto transmission, especially on flat ground? Damage will occur when somebody drives the car with the E-brake applied or if salt/rust/ice causes the E-brake to stay applied even when you try to release it.

That said, it’s not a bad idea to put the brake on from time to time just to keep things from sticking.

It’s always safer to use the parking brake when parking but I wouldn’t use it for putting the car into gear however. That’s what your right foot is for. Just hold the brake and shift. Most vehicles require you to do this anyway. You are not harming the car to do what you are doing but it’s unnecessary. I hope your husband uses the parking brake on hills. A lot of drivers don’t.

Your owner’s manual will tell you to always use the parking brake when parked. It’s a backup/failsafe in the event that the linkage to the transmission might fail or the parking pawl in the transmission might fail. It also prevents strain on the parking pawl that might cause the transmission to get stuck in park.

I always use the parking brake, but then I do have auto parking brake release on my cars.

On many Japanese vehicles the parking brake adjusts the rear brake shoes.

I use the parking brake every time I park and My work requires us to always use the parking brake.
I don,t think they call it an emergency brake anymore.

Because parking brakes are cheaper than automatic transmissions. Use both!

I use the same procedure you use. The parking brake is a safety feature. The transmission is designed to make the car go. The parking brake is designed to hold the car in place.

I don,t think they call it an emergency brake anymore.

Yea it’s NOT called an emergency brake anymore…but when I’m driving down the road and if my brakes fail…I’m going to use my parking brake for that emergency.

Some rear disc brake systems require that the parking brake be used to keep the rear brakes properly adjusted. But most people that drive vehicles with automatic transmissions never use the parking brake. So when you go to do a rear disc brake job, you have to tell the owner of the vehicle that they also need new rear calipers because the old ones are rusted in place from not using the parking brake.


I still call it an emergency brake - in an emergency its still better than no brakes.

The transmission cannot hold the car on a hill. You should always use the parking brake. Just a few weeks ago, someone did not use the parking brake on the parking lot at work. Their car rolled into another car. You’d think that the lot is flat, except for that car rolling into another one.

Use the parking brake.

Your method of using the parking brake first is absolutely correct. Not only is it safer, but if you are on an incline it keeps the weight of the car off the parking brake pawl.

If you don’t use the parking brake or even if you put it in park and release the regular brake first before using the parking brake you run the risk of finding it difficult to get the car out of park.