Imagine you’re hurrying off, buckling up and hitting the road, completely forgetting to release your parking brake. It feels a bit sluggish, a faint smell of burning fills the air, your car just doesn’t seem right. Unknowingly, you’re causing potential damage with every mile you cover. If you’ve found yourself in this situation, or you’re simply curious about the potential consequences, you’re in the right place.
This article will explore exactly what happens if you accidentally drive with the parking brake on, providing you with crucial knowledge to protect your vehicle’s integrity. Buckle up, and let’s get started.
- Engaging the parking brake while driving can lead to severe damage to your vehicle, including premature wear and tear on the rear brakes and cable system.
- Even a short distance driven with the parking brake engaged can generate heat and wear down the brake pads, resulting in decreased braking performance.
- Driving long distances with the parking brake engaged can cause brake fade, reduced efficiency, and harm other components of the braking system.
- It is crucial to visually examine the brake pads, rotors, and drums for any signs of damage after driving with the parking brake engaged. Additionally, checking the brake fluid level and having a professional mechanic inspect the brakes is essential to ensure safety.
How A Parking Brake Works
When you pull the lever or press the button on the center console, you’ll see a cable system engage and lock the rear brakes, ensuring your car stays in place. The parking brake, also known as the ’emergency brake,’ serves as an additional braking mechanism to support your vehicle when parked or during emergencies.
Unlike the main braking system that utilizes hydraulic pressure when you push the brake pedal, the parking brake operates independently through a cable system. When activated, this cable system pulls on levers or rods connected to your rear brakes.
By doing so, it applies pressure to the braking surfaces of your rear wheels. This pressure creates friction between these surfaces and slows down or stops their rotation altogether. Consequently, your car remains stationary even when parked on an incline.
What Happens If You Accidentally Drive With The Parking Brake On?
Driving with the parking brake engaged can have detrimental effects on your vehicle’s braking system. It’s crucial to understand the potential consequences of this inadvertent error.
Leaving the parking brake on while driving creates excessive friction and heat within the brake system, leading to accelerated wear and tear of the brake pads. Additionally, other components of the braking system may also suffer damage.
Even a brief distance driven with the parking brake engaged can generate heat that wears down the brake pads. If you detect any unusual smells, such as a burning odor, or experience a decline in braking performance, it is highly recommended to seek the expertise of a qualified mechanic to inspect your braking system.
If you accidentally drive for a long distance with the parking brake on, it can result in major damage to your brakes. Extended driving with the parking brake engaged leads to excessive heat buildup. This can cause brake fade, reduced braking efficiency, and potential damage to other components like the brake rotors or drums.
To prevent costly repairs and ensure optimal braking performance, it’s best to avoid driving long distances with the parking brake engaged. Always remember to release the parking brake before starting your journey.
Why Do Cars Allow You To Drive With the Emergency Brake On?
Although it may seem counterintuitive, vehicles actually allow you to drive with the emergency brake on for situations where your traditional brakes fail or for those exciting drifting adventures.
While driving with the emergency brake engaged is not ideal and should be avoided under normal circumstances, it serves as a last resort measure to stop your vehicle if your regular brakes malfunction. This feature provides an additional layer of safety and control in case of emergencies.
In the event that your main brakes fail, engaging the emergency brake can help slow down or stop your vehicle. This is particularly useful in situations where there is limited time or space to react, preventing potential accidents or collisions. It acts as a secondary braking system that relies on a separate mechanism, typically a cable-operated drum or disc brake attached to the rear wheels.
Additionally, having the ability to drive with the emergency brake on allows enthusiasts to engage in activities like drifting. Drifting involves intentionally oversteering while maintaining control of the vehicle through skillful manipulation of throttle and steering inputs. By partially engaging the emergency brake, drivers can induce controlled slides and execute impressive drift maneuvers more easily.
Despite its usefulness in certain scenarios, driving with the emergency brake on should only be done when necessary and within appropriate settings such as race tracks or controlled environments. Regular use of this feature during everyday driving is discouraged as it can cause excessive wear on the braking system components and compromise overall safety.
How To Check For Damage To The Brakes After Driving With The Parking Brake On
Despite the potential havoc wreaked on your vehicle’s braking system, it’s crucial to check for damage after driving with the parking brake engaged to ensure your safety on the road. To help you assess the condition of your brakes, here are some steps you can take:
- Check the brake pads: Look for signs of excessive wear, glazing, or unevenness. If you find any abnormalities, it may indicate damage.
- Inspect the rotors and drums: Examine these components for any visible signs of damage, such as warping or scoring.
Listen for Unusual Noises:
- Pay attention to grinding, squeaking, or scraping sounds when applying the brakes. These noises could indicate damaged brake pads or other components.
Check Brake Fluid Level:
- Ensure that the brake fluid reservoir is at an appropriate level. Low fluid levels may suggest a leak or damage to the brake system. Additionally, contaminated or discolored fluid may also indicate damage.
Observe Brake Performance:
- Take note of any changes in braking performance, such as decreased stopping power, longer braking distances, or a spongy brake pedal. These issues could signify damage to the brakes.
Remember that while these steps can help you identify possible damages, it’s always recommended to have a professional mechanic inspect your brakes thoroughly after driving with the parking brake engaged. They’ll have the expertise and knowledge to accurately assess any damage and provide necessary repairs or replacements if needed.
Signs That The Parking Brake Is Engaged While Driving
One of the most obvious signs is a warning message on the dashboard that says ‘PARK BRAKE ENGAGED’. This message appears if you put the car into gear without disengaging the parking brake. It serves as an important reminder to release the parking brake before driving.
Another sign is a dashboard light specifically designed to warn you when you’ve left the parking brake engaged. If this light illuminates while you’re driving, it’s a clear indication that the parking brake is still on and needs to be disengaged.
In addition, if you accidentally drive with the parking brake on, you may notice sluggish acceleration. The friction created by the engaged parking brake can prevent your car from accelerating as quickly as it should.
Lastly, driving with the parking brake on can cause a burning smell. The excess friction between the brake pads and rotor or drum leads to overheating and warping of the brakes, resulting in an unpleasant odor.
These signs serve as important indicators that you need to release your parking brake before continuing your journey. Ignoring them could lead to further damage to your brakes and potential safety hazards.
In conclusion, driving with the parking brake engaged can have serious consequences for your vehicle’s braking system. Even a short distance driven with the parking brake on can result in accelerated wear and tear of the brake pads, decreased braking performance, and potential damage to other components.
Extended driving with the parking brake engaged can cause excessive heat buildup, leading to brake fade, reduced efficiency, and possible damage to the brake rotors or drums. It is essential to visually inspect the brake pads, rotors, and drums for any signs of damage after driving with the parking brake engaged.
Additionally, checking the brake fluid level and seeking professional inspection is crucial to ensure safety. Remember to always release the parking brake before starting your journey to prevent costly repairs and maintain optimal braking performance.