Parking brake question

hello all! I was driving my 98 Tahoe yesterday making a visit to my sister. pulled the truck into the drive-way, put the gear selector in park, stepped on the parking brake (a habit I’ve had for years) and YIKES! the peddle moved down with no resistance!

my parking brake light stayed on even after I released the parking brake peddle, which didn’t spring back, but I pulled it back. light stayed on when I started the truck although I think the brake never engaged in the first place.

I drove the truck and didn’t notice any drag at all. after driving a few miles I stopped the truck and felt the wheels for excessive heat but didn’t experience that. my guess is the cable broke or came off and didn’t engage the parking brake in the first place. sound correct?

anything pressing that I should attend to soon? thanks in advance.

Have you taken a look under the truck and looked for a broken cable. Usually the brake switch is set by the foot pedal. Also, look up under the dash at the parking brake pedal.

haven’t had a chance yet.

bumped for the dinner crowd comments. :slight_smile:

Sounds like a broken cable. Maybe a broken spring on the parking brake assembly, too. The cable can’t bring the pedal all the way up to turn off the light.

It might be broken or out of adjustment. You can adjust the cable under the truck if it is still intact.

That puppy is WAY out of adjustment! Not uncommon on vehicles that don’t regularly use the parking brake. Have it fixed.

Yes, IMHO you should attend to this ASAP. It’s a parking brake by definition, but if you ever lose your main brakes it could save your life. To my way of thinking it’s like having a lifeboat with a huge hole in it in an ocean going cabin cruiser that you use every day and asking if you should repair the lifeboat hole.

In addition to what the same mountainbike stated, I want to add that the parking brake would also be very useful in the event that the “park pawl” in your transmission did not hold that very heavy vehicle back when parked on an incline.

Do park pawls frequently fail?
No, they don’t, but they also give no warning of impending failure, so it is important to be able to set the parking brake in addition to putting the transmission into the “park” position.

+1 to @VDCDriver, Parking pawl breakage leads to stupid questions like;

Dude, Where’s my car??

If all of the sudden the brake that you’ve always used, went all the way to the floor with no resistance then you have a broken cable.


thanks. I kinda thought that was what happened. I guess the cable broke without engaging the brakes otherwise my wheels would smoke and feel hot to the touch, yes? thanks again.

With no tension on the cable, the parking brake is not engaged. Tension is held by the pedal assembly, so no tension on the pedal usually means no tension on the cable.

I had a Tahoe or maybe it was a Yukon recently whose parking brake cable broke. Actually it techncally wasn’t broken. Most of the strands were broken in the plastic sheath that surrounds the cable like insulation surrounds an electric wire. (not the sleeve the cable slides back & forth in).

I had already adjusted the parking brake shoes & the cable adjustment nut was at the end of its travel. I was baffled. It Was then I yanked on the seemingly intact cable near the plastic sheath & the cable broke all the way in two. Hope this helps.