Who is right? To brake or not to brake

I have a disagreement with my father-in-law and I am hoping you all can help…
I have a 2004 Mazda Miata 6speed. I park it in my Father-in-law’s garage in the winter for safe keeping. He decided to take it out for a ride to give it a little action in these long winter months and had difficulty releasing the emergency brake. He claimed it was frozen, and that he had difficulty getting it to release. He also said that the only time I should put the emergency brake on is if I am parking on a hill. I disagree…first of all, I do not believe the brake was frozen. It must be lifted up to release it and I doubt he did that. I have been driving standard transmission cars for almost thirty years, and I always put the emergency brake (parking brake) whenever it is parked.
Who is right?

probably correct

Normally I would too, but if it is to be parked in a garage for storage in the winter, I would not leave it on because it can rust and freeze, making it difficult to impossible to release later.

But for everyday driving, then yes, use it when you park.

I long ago learned that it’s best to ‘don’t sweat the small stuff’ and in that situation it might be worthwhile to not sweat the difference of opinion. And I am sure some of the ‘seasoned’ husbands here have some more poignant metaphors that are fitting to your situation. And honestly, I agree with him on the lack of necessity for applying the brake at that time. Also, you may be able to pull that brake up so tightly that your FiL has trouble disengaging it and he chooses to say it was ‘frozen’ to protect his ego. Hopefully you will enjoy jumping in a roadster for a joy ride when you are his age. Maybe it will all make sense then. Until then try not to let yourself become entangled in a war of egos with in-laws. No one wins and everyone loses.

And although I am sometimes slow and only now recognize that you are a warrior ‘princess’ the advice still stands. An ego is such a terrible playmate for men and women. Give the old man some slack and assume that he deserves it. After all, he might.

With that handle I should be afraid to disagree, but dear old dad in law is correct. Never leave the parking brake on for sustained periods or when you have driven in slush in the winter…or just about anytime in the winter for anything but temporary parking. Think of it this way; it 's a parking brake not a storage brake and the brake lever brings two braking surfaces together. If these surfaces are subjected to moisture and remain in intact, rust may occur and seize those surfaces. I never park over night with the parking brake on. Find a wheel chock and wedge it in tightly.

I am probably older than your father-in-law, but I wouldn’t bother to set the brake in the garage, or on any level ground, for that matter. However, I drive only automatics.

I think you’ve gotten good advice. It is best to not argue with in laws. Myself though, I would not use the parking brake in the garage for long periods of time for fear it would stick.

The comment re: the parking brake being set too tight for FIL: once my sister asked to borrow my car to get to work. I drive down, park, set the brake, and think nothing of it.

Next morning, I get a 8AM phone call when she couldn’t disengage the brake…

I don’t like to park with the pressure on the transmission and I don’t like to park with the brake on for extended periods. There is only one solution…chock the wheels when storing, like you would a boat trailer with no brake. I would recommend the auto trans be left in neutral. Any one see an advantage or disadvantage to doing that ?

I always use my parking brake when I am out and about, but never use it in the garage. The floor is level and there is not enough tilt to cause the car to roll if the parking pawl breaks. I imagine that your FIL’s garage is also flat (no tilt). Putting your Miata in gear is probably all you need.

Are the rear brakes on a Miata, shoes or pads? Could make a difference if one or the other.

When you park on the level in cold weather, don’t use the hand brake. If the car is stored on a slope, put it in Park and put blocks behind the wheels. Parking brakes have a habit of seizing up or freezing up.

Thank you for all of the comments! I can see now that we were both right! Now that has been explained, it makes sense! And don’t let my namefool you - it is really my car’s name, not mine :wink:

OK guys. Some of you aren’t pulling your weight. It’s not enough that we failed to intimidate this OP out of our midst, look at that final post. A wink and a smile. We’re being mocked. There may be some reprimands from the Brothers Khar Mahjong.