Parking brake is hung up

  • 6 CYL
  • 4WD
  • 190,000 MILES
My parking brake is hung up. How do I get it to release?
Do you
have the same problem?
Sunday, September 18th, 2016 AT 9:53 PM

1 Reply

Depends on what is causing it. If you live in a state like I do where they throw a pound of salt on an ounce of snow, you can expect the rear cables to be rusted to the point they wont retract from the normal return spring pressure. You can identify that by looking where the cable comes out of the casing just ahead of the rear wheel. If the cable is dirty or rusty, except for the first half inch right in front of the casing that is shiny and clean, the cable is stuck partially-applied. Due to the self-energizing characteristics of drum brakes, that sticking cable can make a rear brake lock up and skid the tire under very light brake pedal pressure. It can also cause that wheel to not turn at all.

If the cable is just sluggish, you can flex the casing and watch if the cable slowly retracts. That was real common on Ford products in the 1970's and 1980's, when less than a year old. If the cable was rusted tight and not used for a long time, using it now might get it applied, but the cable is never going to release with anything less than dynamite. The only proper fix for that is to replace it.

Never try to lube a sluggish parking brake cable. Cut it or replace it. If I were to get one freed up on a trade-in car by lubing it, there was a 99.9 percent chance it was going to come back on a tow truck, and the dealership owners knew that. It is actually legal here to sell a used car with an inoperative parking brake, but it is mandatory that be disclosed on the window sticker.
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Sunday, September 18th, 2016 AT 11:05 PM

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