Using Emergency Brake to Slow into a Parking Spot

Does it harm the emergency brake to use it instead of the foot brake to slow while gliding into a parking spot?

Yes. It’s actually a parking brake, use it to keep the car from rolling when parked. You could wear it out doing this.

Eventually. Many cars have a separate brake for the emergency brake. It’s often a small drum brake located inside the normal disc brake on one or both back wheels. That drum brake has a very thin shoe because it’s only meant to be used for parking and emergencies - - i.e. it doesn’t really have to have a long service life. Every time you use it while the car is moving, you’re reducing the amount of brake shoe you have in an emergency. Probably won’t matter in the end, since brakes rarely completely fail, but why take the chance?

Why don’t you want to use the normal brakes when pulling into a parking spot?

(hehe. I seem to be repeating what Texases beats me to saying a lot today :wink: )

Why would anyone even do that? Its not what its for.

Thanks! I use it only when parked. My hubby likes to use it to slow the car into a parked position and we discuss this nearly every time… I think he enjoys driving the manual and this is part of his process.

I smelled a “my hubby…” problem - you know we’re nuts, right?

On many cars, the parking brake (notice I didn’t call it an emergency brake), only activates the rear brakes, which typically are designed to perform less than 30% of the stopping force. Most of the braking is done in the front for a reason. Your husband is nuts.

He might be nuts, but I predict he’ll say something like [dismissive hand wave]“What the hell do a bunch of crackpots on the internet know? I’ve been doing this for XX years and have never had any problem with it…”

“I think he enjoys driving the manual and this is part of his process.”

Well, it may be part of HIS process, but it has not been part of the process for any other drivers whom I have known. This has nothing to do with driving a manual transmission, or with any other correct way of operating a motor vehicle.

As was said by others, what he is doing is wrong–mostly because he is going to needlessly wear out the rear brake shoes by calling upon them to do something that they were not designed to do.

The parking brake/e-brake is designed to hold the car in position when parked, and is also a back-up (albeit a very weak one) for the hydraulic brake system in the event of brake failure. Unfortunately, the method that nutty hubby has invented may prevent this auxiliary brake system from doing what it is designed to do, as a result of forcing it to do what it is not designed to do.

Doing this will at least lead to replacing the parking brake cable earlier than he’d need to otherwise. Any time the parking brake is used, it will stretch a very small amount. Over a long time, it stretches so much that the automatic adjuster will no longer have any adjustment left, and you replace the cable.

The rear parking brake is also used to intentionally put a car into a spin.
I have a mechanic friend who’s really good at that.

Circuitsmith, you’re right. It’s excellent for loosing control. Why anyone would use something for what it was not intended, simply means they are denying themselves of the best bathroom reading material available…a car’s owner manual.

Some people enjoy driving with a flair. A small display of elan when coming to a complete stop seems harmless. Such a display is much safer than the macho horseplay drivers make at 70+ on the freeways. Seems like no big deal if it doesn’t make passengers uneasy.

America is known for its rugged individualism. The hubby in question enjoys being different based on his own convictions, right or wrong. There is a section in the owner’s manual about the use of the “parking brake”. None of this mentions using it to actually park the car instead of the regular brakes. However, some drivers “don’t need no steenkin’ owners manual”!

That’s right. We don’t need no steenkin owners manual. WE KNOW HOW TO DRIVE…

Emilina, it really isn’t that important. The most he’s doing is adding wear to the pads, whether they be the caliper pads or little parking brake shoes like mine. Look at it this way, as long as he does this you’ll at leats know the parking brakes haven’t lost function. If God forbid you should ever lose your main brakes, you’ll be glad the parking brakes work. And I admit, it truely does give new meaning to the term “parking brake”.

Did you ever see thiose chase scenes where the drivers are tearing down the road and slide the rear ends of their cars around to change direction? They do this by yanking the parking brake and turning the steering wheel!

Honestly, what he’s doing is a small eccentricity. It really isn;t worth getting in an argument about.

Not to be too argumentative (he says before arguing) but when you do an e-brake turn the rear wheels lock up, at which point you are no longer putting any wear on the pads/shoes. Those are also movie/TV cars, and no one particularly cares if they last any longer than it takes to make the show (and often times they end up using several of the same type of car because they keep breaking them - - They generally killed 1 or 2 Chargers per episode of Dukes of Hazard (the jerks))

If you have a manual trans you should set the parking brake every time, so cable wear is a non issue. So yes you might wear the e pads faster, which is cheaper to replace? I am on the side of what the heck difference does it make, he has used this method for years, and after years of a successful marriage you realize when to pick your battles and this is so minor in the scope of things I would say let it go!

I am concerned that hubby might be using the parking brake before he pulls into a parking spot. When he does this, the brake lights do not come on, and if someone should rear end him, it would be his fault.

Whitey…great point !