How To Use Hand Brake In Car

 How To Use Hand Brake In Car


How To Use Hand Brake In Car: The hand brake, also known as the emergency brake or parking brake, is a vital component of your car’s braking system. While it may not be used as frequently as the foot brake, understanding how to use the hand brake correctly is essential for safe and responsible driving. The hand brake serves two primary purposes: as an emergency brake for sudden stops when the foot brake fails and as a parking brake to prevent the car from rolling when parked.

Unlike the foot brake, which operates the primary braking system, the hand brake typically activates a secondary braking system, often involving a cable and a set of drum brakes on the rear wheels.When parking on a hill or incline, the hand brake becomes even more critical. Follow the same steps as parking on flat ground, but additionally, turn your car’s front wheels to the curb if you’re facing downhill or away from the curb if you’re facing uphill. This is known as “curb your wheels.”

Lubricate the hand brake cable and pivot points as recommended in your vehicle’s maintenance manual to prevent stiffness or binding. Understanding how to use the hand brake in a car is a fundamental aspect of safe and responsible driving. Whether you’re parking on a hill, dealing with a brake failure, or simply securing your vehicle, the hand unlock brake is a versatile tool. Regular maintenance and proper usage will ensure that your hand brake remains reliable and effective, contributing to your overall safety on the road.

How To Use Hand Brake In Car

How do you use a handbrake for beginners?

What is a hand brake system in a car? The handbrake in cars is a type of brake that you operate with your hand via a lever located next to the driver’s seat. Typically you can activate the parking brake in a car by pressing the button on the lever and pulling it upwards. Once done, you can release the button.

Ensure Safety First:

  • Before using the handbrake, make sure your vehicle is parked in a safe location away from traffic, and the foot brake is engaged.
  • If you’re on a hill, turn your car’s front wheels toward the curb if you’re facing downhill or away from the curb if you’re facing uphill to prevent rolling.

Understand the Handbrake’s Purpose:

  • The handbrake serves two primary functions: as a parking brake and as an emergency brake. It is typically a lever located between the front seats or a button (for electronic parking brakes) on the center console.

Parking on Flat Ground:

  • Engaging the handbrake when parking on flat ground helps secure your vehicle in place.
  • After coming to a complete stop and putting the car in “Park” (automatic) or in gear (manual), follow these steps:
  • Steadily pull up on the handbrake lever or engage the parking brake button until you feel resistance.
  • Release the foot brake pedal.
  • The handbrake is now holding the vehicle in place.

Do you pull the handbrake up or down?

To apply the handbrake, simply pull the handbrake lever up to a high point. If the car is still moving, you will need to pull the handbrake higher to increase the force of the brakes. To take the handbrake off, slightly lift the handbrake then click the button on the lever before lowering it down.

Parking on Flat Ground or an Incline:

  • After coming to a complete stop and putting the car in “Park” (automatic) or in gear (manual), locate the handbrake lever or handle, typically found between the front seats or on the center console.
  • Steadily pull the handbrake lever or handle upward until you feel resistance. You may hear a clicking sound as you do this.
  • Release the foot brake pedal.
  • The handbrake is now engaged, holding the vehicle in place.

Releasing the Handbrake:

  • To release the handbrake, put your foot on the brake pedal.
  • Start the engine (if it’s not already running).
  • Disengage the handbrake by releasing the lever or handle. You may need to press the release button (if your vehicle has one) while releasing the handbrake.

Using the Handbrake in an Emergency:

  • In emergency situations, such as brake failure while driving, gradually pull up on the handbrake lever or handle to assist in slowing down the car. Combine this action with downshifting (for manual transmissions) and steering to a safe location.

Which is first handbrake or parking?

That’s backwards. The correct way is to stop your car with your primary brakes, set the emergency brake and then place your car in park before turning off your engine. If you put the car in park and then release the brake pedal, the transmission holds the car in place. That increases the wear and tear on it.

Foot Brake: Before engaging the handbrake (parking brake), you should first bring your vehicle to a complete stop using the foot brake (the brake pedal located to the left of the accelerator pedal). This is crucial for ensuring that your vehicle is stationary before applying the handbrake.

Engage the Handbrake (Parking Brake): After coming to a complete stop using the foot brake, you can then engage the handbrake (parking brake). This is done by pulling up on the handbrake lever or handle (located between the front seats or on the center console) until you feel resistance. In some modern cars, you may have an electronic parking brake, in which case you would engage it by pressing a button.

Put the Vehicle in “Park” or Gear (Manual Transmission): Once the handbrake is engaged, you can then shift your automatic transmission vehicle into “Park” or put your manual transmission vehicle into gear. This additional step helps secure the vehicle and ensures that it won’t roll even if the handbrake fails.

What goes first handbrake or gear?

Parking with manual transmission

If you are parking on flat ground, leave the gearbox in neutral and apply the handbrake. If you are parking facing uphill, put the gearbox in 1st gear, turn the wheels towards the kerb and apply the handbrake.

Bring the Vehicle to a Complete Stop: Use the foot brake to come to a complete stop.

Shift to “Park” (P): After stopping, shift the automatic transmission to the “Park” position. This locks the transmission and prevents the wheels from turning.

Engage the Handbrake (Parking Brake): After shifting to “Park,” you can then engage the handbrake (parking brake) by pulling up on the handbrake lever or handle. This adds an extra layer of security by preventing the vehicle from rolling, especially on hills or inclines.

What happens if you leave handbrake down?

Driving with your car parking brake on can do major damage to your braking system. It can wear down your brake pads quickly, as well as cause excessive heat in the system that can do other types of expensive damage.

Rolling Vehicle: The most immediate and obvious consequence of leaving the handbrake down is that your vehicle may roll unintentionally. This can happen if your vehicle is parked on an incline or slope. Without the handbrake engaged, the vehicle’s weight can overcome the resistance provided by the transmission, causing it to move.

Transmission Wear: In vehicles with automatic transmissions, leaving the handbrake down while parked can put additional stress on the transmission’s parking pawl (the component that locks the transmission). Over time, this can lead to premature wear and potential transmission damage, especially if the vehicle is parked on a steep incline.

Increased Risk of Accidents: A rolling vehicle can pose a significant risk to safety. It can lead to accidents, damage to property, or collisions with other vehicles or pedestrians. In some cases, the consequences can be severe.

How many clicks should a handbrake do?

That last click would have been very tight and so she never knew there was a “last click.” So how do you know if your handbrake needs adjustment? The average number of handbrake clicks from down to up should be between 5 and 8.

Engagement: When engaging the handbrake, you should typically feel several clicks or notches as you pull up on the handbrake lever or handle. These clicks represent the ratcheting action of the handbrake mechanism, which increases tension in the handbrake cable.

Resistance: You should continue pulling up on the handbrake until you feel a significant increase in resistance. This resistance indicates that the handbrake is securely engaged and holding the vehicle in place. You should not be able to easily move the handbrake lever or handle once it’s engaged.

Manufacturer’s Recommendations: To ensure proper engagement, refer to your vehicle’s owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommendations regarding the number of clicks or notches that should be felt when engaging the handbrake. Some manuals may specify a particular number of clicks, while others may provide general guidance on achieving a firm and secure handbrake engagement.

What happens when the handbrake is up?

What happens when you drive with the handbrake on? Essentially, driving with the handbrake on generates friction between your brake pads. And the longer and faster you travel, the more friction you generate. The more friction you generate, the more heat you’ll generate.

Parking Brake Engaged: The primary purpose of pulling the handbrake up is to engage the parking brake. This effectively locks the rear wheels of the vehicle, preventing them from turning. The parking brake provides an extra layer of security when parking your vehicle, especially on hills or inclines.

Holding the Vehicle in Place: When the handbrake is up and engaged, it holds the vehicle stationary. This is particularly important on hills or inclines, where the handbrake helps prevent the vehicle from rolling downhill or away from the curb.

Transmission Safety (Automatic Transmissions): In vehicles with automatic transmissions, engaging the handbrake helps secure the transmission’s parking pawl, preventing the wheels from turning and the vehicle from moving. This reduces stress on the transmission components.

Should we park car in gear or handbrake?

When parked, it is always a good practice to engage your handbrake. Some people leave their manual cars in gear, or in ‘P’ with automatic gearboxes. This puts weight on the cog or small piece of metal in the automatic gearbox which will eventually wear out and lead to complete failure over time.

Apply the Handbrake (Parking Brake):

  • After coming to a complete stop, pull up on the handbrake lever or engage the parking brake button until you feel resistance.
  • Release the foot brake pedal.

Shift to “Park” (Automatic Transmission) or Put the Vehicle in Gear (Manual Transmission):

  • For automatic transmissions, shift to “Park” (P).
  • For manual transmissions, put the vehicle in first gear (for uphill) or reverse gear (for downhill) or another appropriate gear if parked on flat ground.

Turn Off the Engine:

  • After engaging both the handbrake and the gear, turn off the engine.

This combination of using the handbrake and selecting a gear (or “Park”) helps ensure that your vehicle remains securely parked. The handbrake holds the rear wheels stationary, while the gear or “Park” position prevents the transmission from turning, providing an extra layer of security.

How To Use Hand Brake In Car


The hand brake is not just a convenience feature; it’s a safety device. Properly using it when parking on hills or in emergencies can prevent accidents, protect your vehicle from rolling, and even save lives in the event of brake failure. Understanding how to apply the hand brake in emergency situations can be a life-saving skill. In the face of brake failure, knowing how to downshift, engage the hand brake smoothly, and steer to safety can mean the difference between a controlled stop and a catastrophic accident.

Using the hand brake when parking, especially on inclines, ensures your vehicle remains stationary. Combining it with the “curb your wheels” technique adds an extra layer of security, reducing the risk of your car rolling away. Don’t overlook the importance of regular hand brake maintenance. A well-maintained hand brake is more reliable and responsive when you need it most. Periodic inspections, adjustments, and lubrication are essential to keep it in optimal working condition.

Whether you’re parking or responding to an emergency, always apply the hand brake smoothly and progressively. Abrupt or forceful actions can result in skidding or loss of control. Like any skill, using the hand brake effectively comes with practice and familiarity. Spend time getting to know how it feels and responds in different situations, so you can use it confidently and effectively when needed.

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