Parking Brake Repair/Replacement

Anyone know how big a deal it is to fix a non-working parking brake? I’m considering buying a used 2003 Hyundai Elantra GT hatchback with this issue, and trying to get an idea of how much I should expect to spend (worst-case scenario). Also, this seems like a relatively simple/superficial problem that probably doesn’t reflect the overall condition of the car. Am I wrong? Any reason I should be concerned?

If the Parking Brake is seized (rusted solid) there is a very good possibility the Parking Brake was never used, and in the case of an automatic tranny, the parking pawl may be bent or broken off.

When the pawl isn’t there, there is nothing to hold the vehicle from moving when the gear selector is put into PARK.

When you stop the vehicle and put it in park does the vehicle rock back and forth severely? (As in sloppy?)

If a standard shift only the tranny is holding the vehicle. On a grade, this lack of a Parking Brake could result in the vehicle jumping out of gear and rolling away.

Consistent use of the Parking Brake is the only way it will work properly.

It depends on what needs to be repaired/replaced. The GT model may have rear disc/drum combination that uses the drum portion for the parking brake. It may also simply have drum brakes. Shoes are cheap, but cables may be hard to find. Also, there is a lot of hardware that may be broken or missing, like springs, levers and bars. There’s also a balancer bar that equalizes the cable tension to both the left side brake and right side brake.

If the problem is anything more that simply worn-out shoes, your looking for some hard-to-find parts. The cables are difficult to locate, but best found new. Same with springs. The rest of the hardware, like the pull-lever and any bars and lever hardware may best be found at a salvage yard.

The springs are fairly cheap new. You may need to go to a Hyundai dealer for those. The cables are a bit more, but should be no more that $30 apiece. The other hardware gotten at a salvage yard should be no more than $50 if you can pull them yourself. May run $100 if they pull for you. Take a digital camera to photograph the proper locations of all that hardware before you take the brakes apart. It will help greatly when your trying to piece it all back together.

I’d also like to add that the system Hyundai uses for the rear drum brake adjusters is a royal PITA. I did a couple, one of them because the last guy how worked on it mucked up the automatic adjuster system. The shoes wore-out way too early because the automatic adjusters didn’t work.