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How to resolve handbrake problems

gices
(Level 5)
24 Oct 2014 07:52, updated
17 May 2007, published

The handbrake is an important part of a vehicle as it secures it when you have parked. Sometimes because of normal wear and tear, you can have problems with it and it is recommended that you get it fixed as soon as possible.

handbrake repair

How is handbrake adjustment done

If you want to adjust the handbrake cable, you will need to disconnect the handbrake cable, unbolt the calliper from its guide pins and firmly force the piston back to remove any play (put slight hand pressure on the calliper lever and you'll feel the play gradually disappear - stop at this point to avoid possible damage to the adjuster mechanism). Then wind the piston out so that the gap is just adequately wide enough to fit over the pads and disc. Refit the calliper and then press the brake pedal several times to let the auto adjuster remove any fine play still remaining. Finally reconnect the handbrake cable ensuring the calliper lever returns fully home when the handbrake lever is off.

Why is my parking brake not working properly

It might be because the calliper has not been adjusted on installation or when pads have been replaced. The auto adjusting mechanism is only designed to gradually remove play as the pads wear down, not the major initial adjustment required.

There are a number of reasons for handbrake problems but here are some common signs and symptoms of a bad handbrake:

  • Handbrake goes all the way up when you pull the handle thus showing signs of excessive wear
  • Handbrake does not secure car when applied – car rolls downhill when parked on a slope
  • Handbrake is stuck and cannot be released
  • Handbrake seems very tight or too loose

What to do if your handbrake light stays on

When you notice on the dashboard that the parking brake warning light stays on even after you have released the handbrake, there may be a problem with the handbrake itself or the fuse that communicates between the handbrake and the electrical system in your car. However it can mean there’s a more urgent problem which needs addressing, so you have to be careful. One reason for a handbrake warning light appearing is low brake fluid. If it's been a long time since you checked your brake fluid, then you will need to do that and add more if you find out your car is running low on the fluid.

How long does it take to fit or fix a handbrake cable

You have two handbrake cables in your car operating on the two back wheels. It should take between 30 minutes to an hour to do. The tricky part is removing the cable from the restraints/clamps, but it is easier to put it back afterwards.

If you go to a mechanic/garage, they can probably charge you 2 hours labour depending on the type of car you've got as some cars require bizarre amounts of dismantling to get to the actuator levers in the rear brakes themselves, which can bump up the handbrake repair price or make it tricky to DIY.

How much does a handbrake cable cost

The cost of the handbrake cable is usually in the range of £30 but if you go for an original manufacturer part, it can be very expensive. Just remember that it's only a cable and you could do with any brand.

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Comments (3)
Jamie
Jamie   (Level 1)
13 Jan 2008 11:58
1
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I have got a broken handbrake cable on my 5 door corsa, how much will it cost for labour?

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gices
gices  (Level 5)
15 Jan 2008 08:33

Replacing the handbrake should take about an hour and the labour costs will be in the region of £30 plus the cost of the new handbrake cable. However labour costs vary from one garage to another.

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Alisha
Alisha   (Level 1)
07 Feb 2011 21:31
1
Reply

How do I fix it? I have the cables and I've tried to put them on but isn't working.

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gices
gices  (Level 5)
11 Oct 2013 11:56

It's difficult to tell without knowing what car we're talking about here. Some vehicles require a lot of dismantling before you can remove the cables.

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bri16625
bri16625  (Level 1)
29 May 2014 15:03
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Replies

DO I NEED A RAMP TO CHANGE A HANDBRAKE LEVER ON A CITREON C3 AND WILL I NEED TO TAKE OUT ALL THE CENTRE CONSOLE TO GET ACCESS TO IT

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