How to Release the Emergency Brake When Stuck?

how to release the emergency brake when stuck

Professionals normally remember to turn the emergency brake on before parking on steeps or in parking lots to prevent damage to their gearbox. However, what if you step into the vehicle, attempt to release the brake, and discover that it is hopelessly jammed? You might operate with it locked, but that may harm your braking system. So, how to release the emergency brake when stuck? Let us find out.

What Exactly is an Emergency Brake?

An emergency brake is an additional safety feature that may stop a car from moving forward or backward, even if the conventional hydraulic brakes aren’t in use.

An emergency brake, or hand brake as it is occasionally referred to, functions exclusively based on applied pressure in practically all circumstances. As a result, no fluid or electricity required input is required.

Parking brakes are nearly usually cable-actuated by construction and, based on the car, require depressing a particular pedal or sweeping a handbrake lever. This operation strains the handbrake cord on a car, pushing down on the tensioning mechanism.

Pulling back a car’s emergency brake or raising an e-brake mechanism back towards its relaxed state removes force from this braking system. A car’s hand brake may drag if not done before driving, occasionally leading to catastrophic consequences.

When is an Emergency Brake Applied?

In contrast to common belief, an emergency brake may also be utilised when parked on a horizontal surface. It is a fantastic behaviour to get into and one of the proper parking procedures to adopt. Frequent use of the emergency brake preserves it in good operating order and adds an added measure of protection when parking. It is typically employed in the following situations:

  • To stop the vehicle from sliding backwards when it is parked on an incline
  • while the vehicle is at a red signal
  • When the hydraulic brake of the vehicle is insufficient to avoid a collision quickly
  • Emergency brakes can be utilised to begin a back wheel drift in joyriding and drift racing.

How Do You Properly Activate or Remove the Hand Brake?

You may put the handbrake in or take it out according to the type of brakes your car uses.

  • Stick Mechanism Brake: This braking system is typically seen on earlier vehicles and is situated behind the centre console. Additionally, the lever may be pulled to lock it and pushed back into position to release it.
  • Center Lever Handbrake: Several modern cars have a centre lever emergency brake between the seats. The parking brake is activated by pulling up on the bar. To quickly detach it, simply hit the button at the top and lower the bar.
  • Pedal Brake: Pedal brakes are located on the bottom, towards the left of the clutch pedal. Push the pedal till you sense it snap to activate it. Lift the pedal above, then let it go to withdraw.
  • Electronic Brake: A toggle press can activate and disable an electrical brake, which is often featured in modern models.

How to Release the Emergency Brake When Stuck?

Emergency brakes are a fallback in case something goes wrong. However, they are fundamentally physical components that deteriorate over time. Hand brakes can frequently fail or become jammed, causing you trouble. Here are some typical scenarios wherein emergency brakes may jam and what to do about them.

Rusted Handbrake

The handbrake may wear or rust throughout the age. The cord that activates the emergency brake may become trapped if this does place. This might be a more tough issue to assess and repair in your street or home. If corrosion is the issue, it’s likely that you’ll really hire a towing service for assistance, but you might be able to release the jammed handbrake if use:

Forcefully disengage the handbrake. Repeatedly engage and remove the brake.

To gently shake the car back and forward, change between drive and rear, then back between two. A portion of the corrosion might well be moved as a result.

Suppose you know what to expect, inspecting the handbrake cord under the vehicle to see for rust or deterioration. It could be necessary to repair the cord or any other damaged or rusty components.

How do you get around something? Whenever you stop, or at minimum once per day, use the handbrake to prevent corrosion from forming on the wire’s skin and maintain the functionality of your emergency brake.

Frozen Handbrake

If it’s extremely freezing outdoors, frost can definitely cause the handbrake to lock in location. To address this issue:

Start the engine of your vehicle. The ice might soften when the car heats up, allowing you to release the emergency brake.

Rev the motor gradually. The motor may warm up more quickly. As a result, accelerates the thermal decomposition.

After the automobile has heated up, try disengaging the emergency brake numerous times. This will help to melt any leftover snow.

If yet no success, then, determine which tyre the emergency brake is attached to according to your customer’s handbook and try using a blow dryer to dissolve the ice.

Consider while applying your emergency brake if you know it will be minus zero, specifically if there is also a chance of rain.

Tough Implementation

You might have unintentionally stuck the handbrake if you had been channelling your internal Beast when you employed it. With enough force, you could strain out the wire connecting the braking lever to the tires and possibly get the brake pads trapped against the edges of the disc. It could be necessary to contact a towing company and get expert assistance if you’ve attempted to depress the handbrake several times without success.

Engaged for a Long Time

Ideally, you only use the emergency brake for brief intervals. Maybe throughout the day. Your emergency brake may get caught or freeze in position if you keep it on for an extended period of time, such as while your vehicle is being stored in the cold.

Implement the same workaround to address this issue as an iced emergency brake. Simply apply the handbrake if you’re going on vacation or won’t be driving for a long if you’re not certain that the car park is climate-controlled.


Although vehicles could be treated well, this is not always the case. Cords deteriorate, and metal parts corrode. Contact for technical help or a haul if you cannot free the vehicle to prevent additional harm to the brake. Also, remember that it is better to refrain from using your handbrake while operating. 

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