What causes handbrake failure?

The handbrake, or parking brake is essential when it comes to keep a car stationary when idle or parked. Finding the handbrake has failed can be not only frustrating but if you’ve parked on a hill it could cause an accident. In this article we’ll investigate what causes handbrake failure and provide the key signs to recognise a failing parking brake.

what causes handbrake failure

1. Car isn’t stationary whilst handbrake is engaged

One sign of handbrake failure is when you engage the handbrake and the car continues to move along. This could be caused by wear over time, or a failure of the electronic system which controls the parking brake. Cars with a manual handbrake could also experience a ‘slack’ feeling to the handbrake, likely caused by a stretched cable.

2. Parking brake warning light appears

The clearest sign of handbrake failure is a flashing or constant ‘parking brake’ warning light being lit, even when the handbrake isn’t activated. Even attempting to engage the parking brake could provide a warning message indicating a fault with the brake system. However, sometimes warning lights can be faulty themselves, so it’s wise to check your manual. If you believe there is a fault then contact your local garage to help diagnose the issue. You could find that the cause is faulty electronics.

3. Slower acceleration than normal

Another telltale characteristic of a failed handbrake is a slower than normal acceleration of the vehicle. This could be caused by the parking brake being engaged constantly, providing increased friction to the wheels. Sometimes even your dashboard warning lights may not recognise this issue, as there could be an obstruction causing the sensors to miss this issue. Check the wheels when safe to see if there is anything obvious causing the issue.

How to fix handbrake and parking brake failures?

If you’ve managed to follow the handbook instructions and are still experiencing handbrake complications, then we’d recommend speaking with your local garage. Here at MCM Garage in Bath and Radstock, we provide car diagnostics to identify faults with your car. We can then provide expert recommendations and a quote to correct the issue before carrying out any work. Get in touch with us today to book your appointment on 01761 415 501. Alternatively, contact us via our online form to book your visit.