Every vehicle is equipped with a handbrake that gives it that extra bit of stopping power. It is sometimes called an emergency brake. By pulling up the handbrake in a car, it engages the brake shoes inside the rear wheel hubs and stops the car from rolling backwards or forwards when resting on an incline or decline. Some modern vehicles are equipped with an automatic, electric handbrake, which serves a similar function to the mechanical one. Do not under any circumstances apply the handbrake when travelling at speed, as this will lock up the rear wheels and could cause the vehicle to skid out of control.
If you feel that your handbrake is not holding the car effectively on a slope, take the vehicle to your mechanic and have it adjusted. In certain instances, the cable connecting the mechanism within the car to the rear of the car’s brake shoes snaps. This cable, which is usually attached to springs leading to the rear brake shoes, will need to be replaced immediately to maintain the complete safety of the vehicle. Remember, if you are on a steep hill and have no handbrake, your car will roll back before you are able to engage the gears and move forward.
During the yearly service of a vehicle the mechanic should be asked to report on the condition of the handbrake components. If it is reported that there is rust or wear and tear on the handbrake’s components, replacement parts should be sourced from your local parts store. The component parts of a handbrake are not expensive and are easy to fit. Never compromise the safety of the occupants in the vehicle by driving with a defective handbrake.