Hand brake

I have a 2004 Hyundai Accent which has a hand-brake which you pull up with your right hand. My regular foor brake has some problems which the dealer?s mechanic hasn?t been able to fix yet. My question is this: If my foor brake fails for any reason do I pull up my hand-brake slowly or hard and fast? Thank you.

Really hard and fast will make you lose control of the car. The best action would be to pull as much as you need, just like applying a foot brake. You can practice a little on an empty supermarket parking lot by driving slowly and using the handbrake gently first, to stop the car.

But please get your regular brakes fixed as soon as possible.

Years ago the 1957 Chrysler products had the emergency brake on the drive shaft right behind the transmission (cost saving). On a number of occasions an owner applied this brake quickly and the result was the front universal joint snapped and the driveshaft dug into the pavement, making the car polevault. They quickly moved the handbrake back to the back wheels.

The answer is a little of both. The hand brake only controls the rear brakes, which do less than 30% of the braking in normal conditions. When you apply the brakes, it causes weight to shift from the rear wheels to the front. So the brake system uses the front brakes for at least 70% of the stopping power. If it didn’t do this, it would be really easy to lock the rear brakes in normal stopping. It would also take longer to stop than it does.

Therefore, you want to pull gently. However, this won’t have much effect. You will have to pull harder to get any real stopping power out of it. Make sure you don’t lock them up or you will loose control of the car. Also keep in mind that it will take you more than three times as much distance to stop than it would take if you had properly working brakes.

Pull it up as hard and fast as you can. You will not lose control because only the rear brakes are applied, and the hand brake is too weak to give you the stopping power you expect from the regular braking system. As you may gather, it is particularly foolhardy to drive at all with defective brakes.

Sorry but I respectfully disagree, having tried this years ago. Depending on speed, road surface, etc., locking the rear brakes will not only not stop you very fast, but throw you into skid.

Try it in a big parking lot. I am willing to bet that you are not going to be able to pull that brake with enough power to even stop moderately quickly, let alone locking them. Get used to the feel and how much or little braking power you will have if the other brakes fail.

What is this problem the dealer can’t seem to fix. Other than having the ABS go out, which will not stop your regular brakes from working, I can’t think of any brake issues that I would drive a car with.

It is under warranty? Do you have records of your attempts to get it fixed? Pass those records along to you next of kin, they may want them.

is this considered a warranty item by the dealer? if this is not a dealer warranty issue then get out of the dealer ship for repairs.

more info is needed because the scenario you describe does not have enough evidence or examples to make any intelligent suggestions.

Your regular brakes have a problem?? Please don’t drive the car till its fixed.

Pull it up as hard and fast as you can.

Before you give someone this advice, I encourage you to try it yourself, preferably on wet roads or ice. If you survive, let me know.

OK, I’m letting you know. Wet parking lot during my lunch break. As I predicted, the car barely slowed down but still traveled straight and true. So I repeat: the danger is not loss of control but highly reduced stopping power. Now what?

It hasn’t been called a hand brake (or emergency brake) for many years for a very good reason. It’s no longer intended as a backup to your service brakes since they came up with the divorced front/rear brake arrangement (dual master cylinder). It’s a PARKING brake and its function is to prevent your car from rolling when it’s parked. Although it MAY have the ability to stop you in an emergency, it shouldn’t be relied upon for that purpose. If you must, slow and steady is always better than fast and hard. Keep the button pressed so that it doesn’t click into position and stay there.