I drive a 1996 BMW 328i with automatic transmission. I went to get a tire changed, and the mechanic told me to pull the ebrake so I did. He changed the tire and I got back in, started up the car and put it in drive. I pressed the gas petal and tried to accelerate. There was heavy resistance and it stuttered as I tried to drive out of the tire shop lot. My fuel gauge was at E so I figured it was the low gas. I drive across the street to a gas station and fill her up. I start it up once again and put it into drive. I step on the gas and nothing happens at all. It’s stationary. When I was at the tire shop it actually drove. Not this time. I tried the gas about 3 times, each at about 2k rpms. This is when I finally realized that I still had the damn ebrake on like a dumbass. So I disengaged the ebrake and drove home.
Now, it I have to brake harder than usual to stop completely, the car doesn’t take off as good as it used to, when idling it rocks the car a little, and I might hear some engine knock sometimes. Also, the steering wheel is jittery, it moves right and left, back and forth really fast about a half inch while I’m driving but it doesn’t seem to move the car on its own.
I know this was a stupid mistake, I know not to do it again. I need to know whats wrong and how to fix it.
Driving across the street with the e-brake engaged will not really result in any significant wear to the brake’s friction material or damage to the mechanical mechanism. If you had driven…let’s say…20 miles with it engaged, perhaps some damage would occur.
As to the other…symptoms…I fail to see any connection to the e-brake incident.
Either those symptoms were already there and you failed to notice them previously, or perhaps your imagination is working overtime.
Since you were unaware of the e-brake being “on”, I am going to assume that you don’t normally use it. If that is the case, that is a mistake on your part. Since the transmission’s “park pawl” can fail, a car should never be held in place by just putting the trans into “park”. You should get into the habit of using both “park” and the e-brake.
From the sound of it your brakes are sticking.
I presume that you are a person that rarely uses the E-brake and now that you did the cable has bound up somewhere and this causes the dragging sensation and more difficult starts.
Take it to your local mechanic that you use for brakes and it should be an easy fix…except that you’ll need new cables.
I’m not one to use the e-brake either, but I try to remember at every maintenance job I do, I pull the handle and pump that e-brake pedal 20-30 times to be sure it at least gets some movement to avoid it freezing up.
Yosemite–While I will grant you that a sticking e-brake could lead to slow acceleration, I am having a very hard time connecting that situation to the following complaints:
“when idling it rocks the car a little. Also, the steering wheel is jittery, it moves right and left, back and forth really fast about a half inch while I’m driving.”
How could a sticking e-brake possibly cause the car to “rock” while idling?
And, how could a sticking e-brake on the rear wheels cause the steering wheel to move back & forth?
The e-brake could well be sticking, but this car most likely has several other issues that have not been attended to, and that have nothing to do with the e-brake incident. I don’t know how long it has been since this Bimmer has been inspected by a qualified BMW specialist, but I suspect that it has been…too long.
I lean toward agreeing with Yosemite here, although this would explain only some of your symptoms, not all of them. Check if the parking brake is dragging now.
Here’s another vote for using the parking brake all the time for safety reasons and to keep it working well. (The only exception is on a very wet day in winter when the temperature will soon be dropping below freezing, as the parking brake can freeze up under those conditions.)
“The only exception is on a very wet day in winter when the temperature will soon be dropping below freezing, as the parking brake can freeze up under those conditions.”
While I normally use the e-brake, I will not engage it in the conditions that you mentioned.
Additionally, I don’t use it in my garage, as it is totally flat, and the car cannot roll of its own volition.
The steering wheel shake could be caused by loose lug nuts, a bent wheel or a tire with belt separation. Was a used tire installed in the front?
Check the lug nuts before driving this car.
Agree with the others, driving across the street with the e-brake, unlikely to cause any damage or wear to the brakes. However, gunning the engine with the e-brake on (which would be a natural instinct to get the car moving) might cause the engine and transmission to rock in their mounts, which could conceivably damage something, or loosen the mounts. Suggest to have your BMW specialist shop check the engine and transmission mounts.
I’d be more concerned about damage to the transmission by revving it up with the brake on. You might have burned the clutches plus what the others said.
“I’m always on the road, and I drive rental cars. Sometimes I don’t know what’s going on with the car, and I’ll drive for ten miles with the emergency brake on. That doesn’t say a lot for me, but it doesn’t say a lot for the emergency brake. What kind of emergency is this? I need to not stop now. It’s not really an emergency brake, it’s an emergency make-the-car-smell-funny lever.” - Mitch Hedberg
I am curious, doesn’t a BMW have a red light or a message or a bell that TELLS you your e-brake is still on when you tried to drive away? Every car I’ve owned since at least 2000, even cheap ones, has some sort of warning.
I once pulled up beside a young woman in the left turn lane at a stoplight with her rear brakes ON FIRE… likely because she left the parking brake on (or both were sticking). I tried to get her attention but her music was so loud and she refused to look to the side so my frantic hand waving and horn toots went un-noticed as she turned left and drove away.
Yep its not an emergency brake anymore like in the 40’s, its a parking brake to be used while the car is parking in gear or in park.
My Hondas have all had great e-brakes (hand levers) that could function “passably” by themselves while holding the button in.
@Mustangman writes …
"doesn't a BMW have a red light or a message or a bell that TELLS you your e-brake is still on "
I’m sure they do. Just like my Corolla has a big red light to tell me the E-brake is on. But that doesn’t stop me from driving away from the parking lot with the E-brake still applied once in a while … lol . .