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Using the parking brake instead of the normal brake

Hi there i like to use the e-brake from time to time sometimes when i am bored on the high way i stop the car from 70 mph to 30-30 using the e-brake or sometimes i just park the car in the garage with the e-brake so far no damage has been done into the car but some people say i will seriusly harm the brake system of the car is that true?

What you call the emergency brake is really the parking brake. Using the parking brake only activates the rear brakes. The biggest danger is that most of the braking is normally done by the front brakes. In most conditions, 70% of the braking is done by the front brakes and 30% of the braking is done by the rear brakes. Your brake system is desighed this way becuase when you brake, weight shifts from the rear wheels to the front wheels. If you accidentally drive over a slippery spot or otherwise accidentally lock the rear brakes, your car will spin out. Also, using the parking beake does not activate the brake lights. What you are doing is not wise. Using the parking brake while parked is good for maintaining proper adjustment of the rear brakes, depending on what type of rear brakes your car has.

This could be a novel way of committing suicide. If the brake holds you will likey lose control of the car, since the application will not be even between the right and left wheel.

In all likelihood you will damage the emergency brake, which is really a parking brake, and not stop as quickly as you would with the foot brake.

Since we are responsible posters, don’t try it, except on an empty supermarket parking lot at low speed.

When you press the brakes the weight shifts to the front of the vehicle…This accounts for why 69% of braking is done by the front wheels. The parking brake ONLY engages the rear tires. You will NOT be able to stop the car properly and under control with just the parking brake. It’s much easier to LOCK up the rear wheels that can cause an out of control situation. And if your vehicle is equipped with ABS it bypasses this safety feature. And because now all the braking is done by the rear brakes it will wear them out MUCH faster, also you’ll end up putting a lot of undue stress on the other components like brake cable. The other thing too is that you’ll be braking the car without any warning to the people behind you. This is a very very stupid and extremely unsafe thing to do. Please stay off the roads when I drive when you do this stupid thing.

You have asked only about damage to the brake system. So I will only answer that there will be none. Your methods are truly eccentric but you will not harm the brakes this way. Of course, there is no sound reason for doing things this way; the normal method used by normal people is far superior in every respect.

Obviusly i dont pull the brake all the way up i keep my finger button of the parking brake handle and balance the pressure so the wheels doesnt lock up still and again i do it when i am bored driving for hours and the car takes around 60-90 seconds to slow down from 70 to 30 mph( very hard for other drivers to not notice the slow down) anyways i agree is a stupid nonsense action but come one nobody has ever feel like testing the car for the worst scenarios so you can be ready to react or just feel bored and feel like doing a stupid thing like this

The difference is, most people have enough sense to not act on these impulsive, stupid ideas. If you’re really that bored driving, perhaps you could try listening to books on tape/CD. I suggest “How to resist doing stupid, impulsive acts while driving” as a first choice.

Stopping a vehicle means converting all of its kinetic energy directly into heat (hybrids with regenerative braking partially excepted).

On many modern cars with 4-wheel disc brakes, the parking brake is a small drum cast into the center of the disc with little tiny shoes. This system is not designed to dissipate the heat it takes to slow a car from 70 mph.

On cars with 4-wheel disc brakes that use the rear calipers, the rear calipers are only designed to dissipate some of the heat energy, not all of it. 70% to 80% is dissipated by the front brakes. You’ll notice the front discs are always larager than the rear discs.

On cars with rear drums, the drums are not designed…you get the picture.

Yes, you can damage your brake system by overheating the rear brakes. What you are doing is not a good idea.

Agree on that at all is not a good idea to use the e-brake to stop the car from such high speed, but i do this to be prepared in case of a complete failure on a brake system i mean i know that today cars are practically imnune about this but i dont want to trust my life to technology i mean still the brakes can fail i think is a needed that a driver know how to stop his car with 20-30% braking capacity in a timely manner , my dad got a serius accident on a downhill like 15 years ago the car brakes overheat and the car was not able to stop at all and i dont want anything like that happen to me see the point is not that stupid at all

You are destroying what should only be an emergency backup system…and it isn’t really even designed to do THAT. Shoudl you have a brake problem, your backup system will already be toast.

I strongly recommend discontinuing this practice. Or increasing your life insurance.

Again, it isn’t an emergency brake. It is a parking brake.

Would you pull this crazy crap if the parking brake was on the floor and could not be so easily disengaged? If not, don’t do it with a hand brake either.

I think everyone here is in agreement on this except you. Did you come here for advice or to argue?

…some people say i will seriusly harm the brake system of the car is that true?

It is bad for your safety and could cause a wreck. So yes, it could seriously harm the brake system indirectly when the whole car is totaled. In a wreck that massive, there would have to be some damage to the brakes, right?

Excellent point about the brake lights Mike. I didn’t think of that.

I think the main problem here (besides unnecessarily over-heating the rear brakes) is that if you are bored from driving, I suggest you pull off into a rest stop, shut the key off, get out and stretch the legs and walk around a bit, etc.

Being bored while driving results in driver inattention and can become somewhat dangerous to you and the others on the road.

How far are you driving that you get so bored that you have to play with the brakes??

60 miles to go to job / 60 miles to get to home
thanks for the advice guys , the main objective of this as by: Jeremy_R_Hoyt was to know if there will be any damage to the brake system again it was not the intention to argue or anything / i will open another topic wich discuss the recomended ways to stop a car when a brake failure happens
thanks .

For those who are saying most of the braking is done by the front brakes: 

That is mostly true when the brakes are locked.  The exact percentage varies of course

When the brakes are not locked, it is very possible that the back brakes are doing most of the work.  It works that way on my car for example.  It is designed that way.  I don't know what they are doing today, but in the old days many pickup trucks would adjust what brakes got the most pressure depending on the load in the bed.  

To the OP, I agree with the rest of the comments.  It is a bad idea.

Let me guess, you bought a water for fuel thingy too?


I don’t think it is necessary to start another thread. If your brakes fail, your best bet is to not use them at all at first to slow your vehicle. I would downshift first, whether you have a manual transmission or an automatic. Downshifting will slow the car to a pace in which it is relatively safe to use the parking brake to stop. The best answer, though, is to maintain your brake system and get it inspected often enough that brake failure doesn’t happen. An ounce of prevention… Brake failure can happen for a number of reasons. The most common one is overheating. This can be caused by a stuck caliper or by improper use of the brakes and most times will show symptoms before complete failure. If all else fails, the parking brake can be used as an emergency brake, but should be done gently. As to your idea of having to make an emergency stop in a short distance, the best answer is to alter your driving style so there is extra room to make the stop gradually. If your brakes fail, nothing will stop you in a short distance. So get your brakes inspected often (at least every two years), and drive defensively and you won’t have to worry so much about brake failure.

So, Joseph, are you saying that in normal braking where the brakes are not locked that weight does not shift from the rear to the front? If you view a braking car from the side, you will see the nose of the car push down and the rear lift up slightly. It is more pronounced on a motorcycle, but in either case, weight shifts to the front without the brakes being locked.

Look at it this way. If your car required you to operate the front and rear brakes manually and independently, like on most motorcycles, you would see how easy it is to lock the rear brake accidentally after the weight shifts, and the brakes would not need to be locked in order for this to happen.

If your brakes fail the best way(s) is to downshift a few gears, apply your parking brake (call it whatever you want…if I lose my brakes I’m going to apply it!), and if you’re headed for a crash look for bushes!

In the heat of the moment to prevent an immenent deadly crash you may want to shut the engine off for added engine braking effect, but this is a last resort as you’ll lose your power steering assist.

Remember, forget about damage to the vehicle, save your hide in whatever way necessary. Fix the vehicle later.