STICKING BRAKE - WHAT HAPPENS AFTER YOUR CAR IS PARKED FOR TOO LONG?
Handbrake, parking brake, or e-brake. No need to get confused because the name says it all.
It is the component that you see every day in your car, which is used to keep the vehicle motionless when parked. It does have a different purpose than the brake pedal under your steering wheel, which stops the car when in motion.
Its name also comes from the way it’s operated: a hand-operated lever and positioned in an area that is conveniently reachable. Some people call it the stick lever, which has a button to be pushed to disengage the brake. Typically, it is put in the centre console, although some manufacturers position it under the steering wheel near the left foot.
Overtime, the handbrake mechanism evolves. Electric parking brake has been introduced to replace the manual operation. Now, instead of a lever, drivers of certain cars will find themselves operating a button that needs only a simple push.
Brake model aside, there are more to it that any car owner should know. For one, despite being designed to keep a car secured when parked, it’s not advisable to engage it for a long period of time – i.e. months. Leaving your car with the handbrake activated for that length may cause the mechanism to jam or stick, preventing the car to immediately function when it is about to be driven the next time.
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Secondly, car handbrake should not be activated right away after car washing. Make sure your car is completely dry before it is stowed again in the garage, as water build up can cause sticking brake.
To work around brake jam, the easiest way is to use a little bit of force. Try to move the car forward and then backward while applying and releasing the brake. Be careful with this trick, though, especially when a car has been parked for too long. It may cause the braking system to fall apart and leaves you no choice but to go to a repair shop.
To avoid it altogether, use a wood block, a rock, or a tire stopper whenever you’re about to leave your car parked for some time – perhaps for a vacation or a business trip.
If you drive an automatic transmission car, shift the gear to “P” to restrict the wheels. For a manual transmission car, you can shift to the first gear – just remember to put your foot on the clutch pedal when igniting the next time so that the car won’t jump forward.