There's two common things to look for depending on which system you have. If you have a handle to pull on to release the parking brake pedal, the two rear cables can become rusted on vehicles where the parking brake is not used regularly. Ford has an especially big problem with that, even when they are used often. You'll need to look underneath, ahead of the rear wheels, to see if the casings are exposed and visible where the cables come out of them. If those cables are sticking, the first half inch or so of the cables will be clean and shiny indicating they didn't retract properly. When this first starts to happen, you can often crawl under there and flex the casings to urge the cables to retract under spring pressure. By the early '90s Chrysler was putting those exposed ends in a black plastic box ahead of the left rear wheel to keep them dry and rust-free. They don't really cause very much trouble.
If you have the parking brake that is released by pressing the pedal a second time, they have a spring-loaded toothed, quarter-round gear. That unit is auto-adjusting. In cold weather the grease on that gear's pivot can become hardened and the gear doesn't move quickly under spring pressure. The pedal will come up but the parking brake won't release. What usually works for those is to push the pedal down again and release it as though you were setting it, then push it again just a little further as though you were releasing it, but hold pressure on it for five or ten seconds. That may give the gear time to slowly move under that spring pressure. If you release the pedal a little and push it again, you'll have to start over. Releasing it just a little will re-engage that toothed gear and prevent it from moving to the released position. If this is why it's not releasing, it will usually work properly after the temperature warms up inside and that grease softens.
Saturday, January 11th, 2014 AT 1:09 AM