Emergency Brakes

I have a 1998 Ford Escort.

The handle for the Emergency Brakes will go up only about 1/3 of the way, but the brakes do not lock into place; I?m still able to move the car back and forth.

The handle will lock in place, and to disengage you do have to press the button.

Furthermore, I never use my emergency brakes, so how can they be broken?

Can anyone tell me what is going on and around about how much this should cost to fix?


I don’t think your emergency brakes themselves are broken but the cables from the emergency brake handle to the actual shoes or calipers are rusted solid. It is possible that if you do get the inner cables to move that you will have a hard time getting the emergency brakes to release – possibly overheating them if and when you do drive. One reason to use the emergency brakes on a regular basis is to keep the cables free.

The reason they are doing that is the cables have rusted do to lack of use.

It is NOT an emergency brake, it is a parking brake and it should be used every time you park your car.

If you really think it is an emergency brake, borrow someone’s car who has a working parking brake and stopping the car from say 35 mph and see how much good it would do you in any kind of emergency.

I would suggest having a mechanic take care of this and start using it every time you park.

Ditto and second that motion. I’d bet good cash the cable is rusted. If it’s not used, it rusts solid. Or worse, if you use it, it activates and then won’t release. Get it repaired and then use it regularly. Reminds me I should cycle mine…

My neighbor had a nice 80-something Volvo until his teenage daughter in a panic stop used the “emergency brake” and rammed the car into the back of another.

Yup! Here’s another vote for a rusted/frozen brake cable that resulted from NOT using the e-brake. Now the OP is going to have to pay for the replacement of the brake cable that he decided not to use because…?

The moral of the story, as with other issues, is–use it or lose it!

I second the consensus above. Also have mechanic if and when he/she replaces cable(s)- have mechanic free up and lube the pivot point where e-brake; er- parking brake arm meets brake shoe. If this point is rusted up/frozen, p-brake may engage but not release- the same thing that might happen w/the rusted p-brake cables. Show mechanic this post if you want. If he’s good he’ll probably say, “Oh, yeah- I always lube that pivot point.” Or he may say, “Hmmm… that’s not a bad idea.” If he/she says something like, “well, it’s not really necessary”, you’ve gotta kinda definately tell him/her one way or another you’re gonna have someone else do it. ljmouzon- always use your e-brake; er- park brake!

Thank you to all that replied. This defiantly puts me at ease when I take it to the shop tomorrow.
I will defiantly be using the emergency brake after this.

That’s why it is actually called “parking brake” I guess…