DID YOU KNOW?
Every summer here in Branson we get several calls from visitors to the area for vehicles
stuck in gear or the emergency brake stuck on. Most people are not aware that they
should always use their emergency brake or more appropriately defined as a parking
brake. What difference does it make if you use it all the time or not?
First reason for always using the parking brake is when a vehicle is parked on a hill and
the automatic transmission is placed in park, the only thing holding the vehicle from
zooming down the hill is a piece, called a parking pawl, about the size of your small
pinky finger. Do you really want to trust a 3000+ lb vehicle to something that small?
Another reason is that the parking pawl could get stuck and require a tow truck to come
out and move the vehicle into an at rest condition in order to get the vehicle out of park.
The average cost for this is about $75 - $100 not to mention the possibility of causing a
very expensive transmission overhaul.
The last reason is for the parking brake cables. If the parking brake is seldom used, the
cables could form corrosion or rust inside the cable. The first time you go to use it, the
cable could freeze into place and cause the parking brake to remain on. This also
typically results in an expensive service call. We have also seen this condition cause a
great deal of damage to the rear brakes. Once we even had a vehicle catch on fire due to
The moral of the story is to always use your parking brake even if you are parking on flat
Jeff Bain, AAM
ASE Master Certified Technician
Any BODY’S Garage