Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Ford Focus - Reverse gear/Emergency brake

I drove my 2005 Ford Focus 200 miles and parked it at the Kansas City airport for the weekend. When I got back after my weekend vacation, the car started but wouldn’t move in reverse gear. I was able to disengage the parking brake. However I could feel that the park brake was not moving easily. I then forced the car in reverse a few feet even though there were some groans and noises coming from the back. I then put it on drive and drove forward to the kerb. I then tried reverse again and voila everything had come unstuck. It moved freely. I was able to drive back the 200 miles without problem. I checked the transmission fluid and it was good. Is this just a case of stuck brake or is it the beginning of major transmission problems? Fyi, I have an automatic transmission and there are only about 70000 miles on the car.

Sounds like it may have been a bit damp out the day before or the same day the car was parked. A little rust develops on parts that normally moving regularly. Now after your trip enough rust developed to keep the brakes from working normally.

It might be a good idea to have your brakes checked just to be sure.

Thanks! Yes it was raining quite heavy all through my drive to the airport Friday evening. I will certainly get the brakes checked.

It’s good you’re using your park brake, but if you’re gonna leave it sit for a couple days or more, then it’d be best to leave it alone.

This is quite common. If you use your parking brake on a regular basis, I’m surprised you never encountered it before.

The problem is rust. It doesn’t take much moisture or time. The rust goes away with the first few applications of the brakes, and then everything goes back to normal.

I wouldn’t worry too much about it.