Handbrake Cable

The handbrake cables link the handbrake lever to the parking brakes to stop the car from rolling downhill. Frayed or broken handbrake cables are dangerous and must be replaced. Different models of car use different handbrake systems, but by far the most common is a mechanical system of lever, rods and cables operated manually by the driver. A number of possible cable configurations can be used depending on what type of car you have (e.g. front- or rear-wheel drive), but a typical set-up consists of a primary cable attached to a yoke, and a secondary cable that wraps around this yolk and runs to each rear wheel. Pulling on the handbrake causes the primary cable to draw up the yolk, causing tension in the secondary cable; this instigates the braking action. If you find you are having to pull your handbrake very hard to keep your car stable on a hill, chances are your handbrake linkage system has worn over time and the cables themselves have slackened. Eventually the linkage will need replacing or else the cables might one day suddenly snap – rendering your handbrake both useless and illegal.

We all remember learning our Handbrake Cables when driving Accelerator, brake, clutch. But did you know that when you press down on any of the pedals, the force is transferred through a cable to the relevant parts inside your car. If these cables snap or even fail, this could cause real problems when you're driving

In cars, the parking brake, also called hand brake, emergency brake, or e-brake, is a latching brake usually used to keep the vehicle stationary. It is sometimes also used to prevent a vehicle from rolling when the operator needs both feet to operate the clutch and throttle pedals. Automobile hand brakes usually consist of a cable directly connected to the brake mechanism on one end and to a lever or foot pedal at the driver's position. The mechanism is often a hand-operated lever (hence the hand brake name), on the floor on either side of the driver, or a pull handle located below and near the steering wheel column, or a (foot-operated) pedal located far apart from the other pedals. Source.

The handbrake on most cars is a mechanical linkage of rods and cables, operated by a lever on the car's floor or dash. Over a period of time, the linkage wears - the cables become slack, or the pivot points and linkage pins become badly grooved, allowing slack to build up. You can compensate for wear until the handbrake adjuster won't take up any slacker, then you need to fit new parts.

When the handbrake warning light is on

  • When the car rolls despite having engaged the handbrake.
  • When the hand brake appears to be stuck and doesn't release.

Most cars use one of several lay- outs, depending on whether they are front- or rear-wheel drive, and whether the handbrake operates on the front or rear wheels. This, in turn, determines how you replace the cable. These Mechanics sheets look at one of the most common and simple systems in use - it is found on many cars, including Fords and Vauxhalls. This system has the handbrake pulling on a short primary rod or cable that is attached to a U-shaped guide known as an equalizer yoke. Another cable (the secondary cable) loops around this yoke and runs to each rear wheel. At each brake backplate the secondary cable is attached to a lever that operates the shoes inside the drum. When the handbrake is pulled on, the primary rod or cable pulls on the yoke and that tensions the secondary cable. In addition, the secondary cable may also be one of two types. One design has the cable exposed along its full length, running in metal guides welded to the underside of the car. The other design uses an enclosed Bowden cable where the handbrake cable runs for part of its length within an outer sheath.

If your car has an exposed handbrake cable that is in good condition but has simply stretched too far for the adjuster to compensate, you can buy an extra, proprietary, cable adjuster to take out some of the slack. The adjuster is a simple clamp that fits to the cable itself. First slacken off the existing handbrake adjuster a little. Then, with the clamp in place, tighten the bolt on the side to take up the slack. Any further adjustments can be made with the proper cable adjuster. The only point to watch is that the extra adjuster must not foul on any other components under the car not always an easy job.

To find out where the wear lies, support the rear of the car on axle stands, chock the front wheels and release the handbrake. Get under the car and watch the linkage while a helper works the handbrake lever on and off. Watch for any lost motion in the joints indicating that the clevis pin is badly worn. If there is no slack in any of the joints, yet the handbrake is on maximum adjustment, then the cable may have stretched. You can sometimes fit an extra cable adjuster to take out some of the slack and give the cable a new lease of life (see side line overleaf) but, if not, then you must buy and fit a new cable.

The metal hand brake cable links the handbrake lever you pull if you want to park with the hand brake shoes inside the wheels. If engaged, the brake shoes will be pushed against the brake discs (or the brake drums) locking the discs into place and preventing the car's wheels from moving.

The hand brake cable runs along the underside of the car and is subject directly to a variety of conditions. Over time it is thus prone to deteriorate. It can break, leaving you without a hand brake which can be especially inconvenient should you find yourself in a predominantly hilly area. Should the hand brake fail it is therefore important to have it repaired as soon as possible to preclude any dangerous situations.

Sometimes, the worst part of getting your car fixed is having to bring it to the garage. We are therefore happy to offer our customers a free collection and delivery service If you prearrange a collection, we will pick your car up from your home or place of work and drive it to our premises, carry out all the necessary work (having consulted you) and deliver it back to you at the end of the day.

We are able to tow, jump start or repair your vehicle if you are experiencing problems or broken down for a small fee. If we can't sadly start your vehicle, we can contact a local recovery firm to collect your vehicle for a very competitive price.

  • Don't want to waste your day off?
  • You don't have the time to take your car in for a service or repairs?
  • Have you got problems with getting to and from the garage?

Here at Many Autos, we believe that we offer a valuable product with our Free Collection and Delivery Service, we can collect either from your place of work or from your home address. If you are unsure about whether the address you are considering having your vehicle collected from is not within our range, then please do contact us.

Many Autos operate a fleet of pool cars with a dedicated driver, so wherever we are collecting from, we need to be able to leave one of our pool vehicles either in your work car park / parking space, or if in a residential area, we would need to be able to leave our car either at your house or on the road with a permit if required. We would be grateful if you could bear this in mind when booking to use our free Collection and delivery service