How Do You Adjust Your Car's Emergency Brake?

adjust-car-s-emergency-brake Credit: saknakorn/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

An emergency brake can be adjusted from either inside or outside the vehicle. To adjust from outside, first raise the vehicle using a jack, and then follow the steel rods coming from the rear wheels to locate the adjusting nut. Loosen the nut and tighten the screw to tighten the cables, and then replace the nut. To adjust from inside, remove the brake's covering and adjustment nut. Tighten the adjustment screw, and then replace both the nut and covering.

After tightening the cables, rotate the rear wheels to ensure the cables are not tight enough to restrict their movement. If applicable, remove the jack and lower the vehicle to the ground. To test the emergency brake, park the car on an incline. Apply the brake, paying attention to how many times it clicks before it is fully engaged. Compare the number of clicks to the manufacturer's specifications to determine if the emergency brake is tightened appropriately.

The emergency brake is commonly called the parking brake. Its primary function is to keep a vehicle in place when parked on an incline. Signs that an emergency brake's cables need tightened, or even replaced entirely, include an inability to hold the car in place, the brake not releasing and the appearance of the brake warning light on the dashboard.