Will you ruin your handbrake if you leave it engaged while driving?

Our tech guru has the answer
by Ferman Lao | Sep 10, 2012

I accidentally left the handbrake on while driving our Mitsubishi Adventure. I'm concerned if this may have caused serious damage. I plan to bring it to the service shop for diagnostics and repair. Your thoughts?




Hi, Reg. If you want to get rid of doubts that the handbrake got damaged, taking your vehicle to a qualified service shop to have it checked would be best.

However, if the drag on the vehicle with the handbrake/parking brake on wasn't noticeable to you and the distance was short (less than a few kilometers), there is most likely no cause for concern. If the drag was not noticeable, then not much wear and tear outside ordinary use happened, unless there was already something wrong that you didn't know about to begin with.

For the incident to be of great concern, you definitely would have noticed the additional drag caused by the locked rear brakes. In extreme cases, once the rear parking brakes get locked up and constant braking pressure is present, the rear brakes will smoke and glaze both the brake pad/shoe surface and the brake drum surface. If this happened, then brake fluid, brake pad/shoe replacement, check-up/rebuild of the wheel cylinders and turning/resurface, or brake drum replacement may be required in severe cases.

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The bottom line? If you haven't had your brake system checked recently, then doing so won't hurt anything (except perhaps the wallet). It can save you from bigger problems later down the road.

For me, good brakes are much more important than a powerful engine. Let us know how it works out for you.

Best regards,

Ferman Lao
Technical Editor

Do car problems keep you awake at night? Send questions to topgear@summitmedia.com.ph

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