Parking brake


The manual for my Mazda 3 says to apply the parking brake whenever the car is parked? Is this necessary? Does not applying the parking brake cause any damage to the disc brakes, or is this only necessary when parked on an incline?


Back up security should the transmission’s parking pawl fail.


It also can prevent tranny problems by not leaving the weight of the car held by the parking pawl on hills.

It causes no harm to the disc brakes. I could be wrong, but I believe the Mazda 3 uses a parking brake system of small shoes in a small diameter drum that’s contained within the inside diameter of the disc. In short, it’s a seperate system.

My only recommendation would be that if you’re going to park the car for any length of time, like if you take a trip, don’t apply the parking brake.


Parking brake, also known as hand brake, emergency brake, foot brake, or other names, when applied, locks the rear brakes. Rules & regulations aside, common sense dictates you should always engage it, for safety & prevention.


In addition as someone else just found out, not using it can cause problems with it not functioning or it may stick on. It is a very good habit to have to use it every time.


Agree. The Mazda 3 has 2 discs, and the main disc will not be affected. Car companies have to tell you to use the parking brake to avoid law suits. Macdonald now even warns its customers that the coffe is hot! We live in an area with cold winters. When the car is on the level, we never use the parking brake, since a frozen parking brake is very diffiult to free up. On a stickshift car you should use the parking brake of course. When parking downhill, turn the front wheels into the curb for extra security.


There are a few times that you may not want to use it. If you are going to be away or not drive it for a while, like 6 months or so, it could rust in place. Its better if it rusts in the off position rather than the on. You may not want to use it on a wet night that will freeze by morning. the water may freeze on the cable and not allow it to be disengaged in the morning. Of course, you don’t want to be on a hill when not using it and you should use it as much as possible.


You may be breaking the law by not using your parking brake. Done laughing? In Maryland, you must use the parking brake. My oldest daughter informed me of that when I didn’t use it on level ground. She had just finished driver’s education, so she was well informed.


Tranny problems? Not likely. I suppose it is possible that a small sliver of metal could be shaved off the parking pawl and could possibly find it’s way somewhere in the tranny and could possibly cause some damage. But it’s not likely. The weight of the vehicle is held by the pawl, not by any of the gears.


Agree that using the parking brake from time to time is necessary to keep it from sticking. Even though I don’t use it very often, I still practice using it to keep it freed up.


In hilly areas the parking pawl can become damaged by repeatedly leaving the weight of the car supported by the pawl and repeatedly disengaging it under that load to the oint where it becomes almost impossible to get it disengaged. Using the parking brake can prevent that problem. Nice link, though.


True, the pawl could possibly be damaged after constantly being subjected to such stress. However, the pawl seems to be particularly strong.

However, the transmission’s operation would not be affected by the pawl during the vehicle’s actual use (unless, of course, you could not disengage the pawl).

I misunderstood “tranny problems” to mean that the transmission would not function as it should, such as shifting the gears appropriately and the like.

Interestingly, my mother-in-laws parked car was rammed TWICE by fast moving cars (one was a kid driving too fast in his Firebird and lost control - the other was an elderly lady who thought she had her foot on the break while driving backwards full speed).

Both times I was sure the parking pawl would have been destroyed. Nope. By the way, she never uses her parking brake and her driveway has a severe grade. Still no problems with the pawl despite nearly 4 years of abuse at my mother-in-laws hands.


Respectfully disagree with some. I haven’t used a parking brake in years in Minnesota. Its not fun to have the rear brakes locked up when its ten below zero out. Totally unnecessary for 90% of the parking situations. When its below freezing out, snow on the roads, brakes heat up with use, thus melting snow. Park and put the parking brake on and the melted snow now freezes, locking the brake or the cable so it won’t release. Orlando maybe but not Minneapolis.


I disagree. Using the parking brake consistently (which keeps the parking brake system working properly) throughout the year (Yeah, in sub-zero temps too. This isn’t Alaska, it’s Ontario, Canada) has never posed a problem for me.

The results of not using the parking brake are posted continuously on this site.


On some vehicles that have shoe brakes, adjusts the brakes every time it’s activated.


I would like to add that using the parking brake is no substitute for having the wheels turned properly to prevent run-away or keep damage to a minumum, if all else fails.