Parking on a hill without a parking brake

2000 Crown Victoria, 186K miles

I have to park on the street at my house, and it’s a decent enough hill. I always park facing down the hill and I’m in the habit of turning the wheels towards the curb. Just recently I was parking and in neutral, easing the car’s weight onto the parking brake and I heard a pop of some sort, and now my parking brake is basically non-functional. I don’t think I lost any cables as none of them are hanging loose under the car, but I won’t know until I get the rear rotors off and can inspect things. I know at least one other CV owner who went to check his parking brakes and the shoe linings had separated from the backing plates, but all of that’s not really my question.

As of now I have to park on the street with one of the wheels firmly against the curb to hold the car in place (in this case, driver’s front wheel). Am I going to mess up the tire on that wheel by doing this? There are no ill effects to this point, and maybe it’s okay if only for some hours at a time and not days/weeks. What do you think?

I think you should fix the parking brake ASAP.

Don’t you leave it in gear when you park? The front wheel need not touch the curb. You can use the turned wheel as a backup plan. But even if the tire must do all the work itself there ought not be any damage to the tire.
They’re quite flexible.

You have to turn the wheel sharply so that some of the tread is up against the curb. If you just turn the wheel a little and let the sidewall touch the curb, then you can damage the tire in a way that it can’t be repaired.

The wheel is turned all the way, there’s mostly tread up against the curb. I know not to let the sidewall rub.

What I’m trying to avoid is having the parking pawl in the transmission getting messed up by holding the full weight of the car on the hill. I’d hate for the thing to get bent or something.

I’d love nothing better than to fix the parking brake ASAP, except I have no money and time to have a shop do it right this second. Not really an acceptable excuse I know, but it is what it is.

You won’t hurt the parking pawl with the full weight of the car on it and placing the tire tread against the curb won’t hurt anything either.

I and a friend had had to help someone who had parked on a hill and used only the parking pawl to hold the car. The could not get it out of park, since the pawl was unable to be released with that much pressure on it. We had to push the car up the hill the best we could while the driver tried to get the car out of park.

The proper way to park the car is to put the parking brake on first and then put the car into park. that relieves the parking pawl from holding the car. If you want, put the front wheels onto the curb.

Relying on the front tires being turned to the curb is unreliable. Should someone bump your car, it could easily jump the curb.

Let the tire rest against the curb and then shift into park. That way the weight of the car isn’t resting against the parking pqwl. I have seen the park position gi\et sticky to shift in and out of when it is used as a substitute for the parking brake.

I second the motion, Let the tire rest against the curb and then shift into park. That way the weight of the car isn’t resting against the parking pqwl. I have seen the park position git sticky to shift in and out of when it is used as a substitute for the parking brake.

You are good with the tread portion of the tire against the curb. I too have seen cars that you cannot get out of park if the weight of the car is on the parking pawl.

As for getting hit while up against the curb, that is an invalid concern as far as your question is concerned. If the car gets hit, it doesn’t matter if it is up against the curb or the parking brake works, it is going to move regardless, and moving may not be your major concern under this scenario.

I agree with Oldtimer, EllyEllis, and Keith. But I’d also suggest getting the parking brake fixed. That popping sound may have been a cable even though you see nothing hanging. It could be held up by crossmembers, exhaust parts, or whatever.

Thanks for the advice everyone. I just tested parking the car with just the pawl holding it in place and it came out of Park rather easily, more so than I expected it to. That said, until I get this fixed I’ll just rest the tire against the curb.

I should also mention that it seems my parking brake isn’t 100% non-functional, but rather it’s just really weak now. It will still hold the car on a very slight incline, but nothing significant. Maybe I had a cable let go on just one wheel or something. Stupid thing never worked real good on this car, but from what I’ve read parking brakes on Crown Vics are a weak spot.

It’s a good idea to put the tread against the curb even after it’s repaired. It’s good, prudent practice to use the curb as a chock, and it seves wear & tear on the parking pawl.

Have you ever adjusted the parking brake? Your car may have a nut assembly that holds 2 cables together. Turn the assembly and it takes up the slack.

The adjustment mechanism on this car is a spring pre-loader held in place with a clip. You release the clip and the spring takes up the slack on the cable. I’ve done that already, nothing doing.

Those small parking pawls are amazingly strong considering the job they perform and the stress applied to them.

Many years ago a friend of mine who had a 67 Camaro RS (TH350 transmission) slammed the shifter into PARK on two consecutive occasions at 45 MPH to see how fast the car would screech to a halt. With smoke rolling off of the rear tires it hit 0 MPH PDQ.

That’s not an old war story either; I was with him both times when he did it. It’s not something I would have done and it made me cringe because I was expecting hunks of transmission to start dropping out on the roadway.
No harm, no foul. There was never a problem afterwards with the transmission or the PARK function.

I park my 4Runner every day on my driveway, about 20 degrees. I used to use the brake, but I started getting lazy and never do anymore. Comes out of park without a problem. Been doing this for over 4 years now.

Eleven months of the year, I Live in a small Mexican village in the mountains. Most cars are manual transmissions, and there are no level places to park except the extremely crowded center of town. Also, I doubt a parking brake in the village, except mine, actually works.

Along the streets on the very steep hills are big rocks. When they stop the car, someone runs out and puts a rock behind the wheel. Sometimes, if the driver is alone, a bystander will run out and do the job for him.

I did see a man killed by a runaway truck, but that was being driven. It was a very old truck without dual brake systems, and the master cylinder collapsed, and the driver jumped for his life.

My Sienna, the parking brake is used every time, and it holds the car without the transmission in park. I do turn the wheel as a final safety measure.