If you have a malfunctioned parking brake, the vehicle will continue to slip and slide after you pressed the lever. Sometimes, the brake only works half way when you press it, causing the vehicle to drag. These problems usually mean the brake cable needs replacing, which you can do yourself. Here are some tips to replace the parking brake cable.
Prepare to Work
For this project, you need:
- work gloves
- safety glasses
- closed toe shoes
- high-powered flashlight
- lug nut wrench
- socket wrench
- flat-blade screwdriver
- wire cutters
- two hydraulic jacks
- jack stands
- bricks or wheel chocks
Park the vehicle on level ground, and place wheel chocks or bricks at the front and back of the front tires to keep the vehicle from rolling. Raise the rear axle with the jack until you have room to get under the vehicle.
If you are in doubt about where to place the jack, consult your owner's manual.
Remove the Old Parking Brake Cable
Detach the hub cap, if there is one, and remove the rear wheel by loosening the lug nuts with the lug wrench. A lug nut wrench should be available in you vehicle's tire kit. If there's a brake drum cap, pull it off with the screwdriver, then use the socket wrench to pull off the nut.
Shine a flashlight on the work area. Find the rubber ball attached to the brake handle, and loosen the adjusting nuts on each side of the cable with the socket wrench. Use the wire cutters to grab the rubber ball, and push the ball to the back.
Slide the cable from the connector plate until you reach the parking brake assembly in front, and detach clips or clamps. Don't discard the clips or clamps, because you'll reuse them later.
Grasp the ball with the wire cutters, then pull the cable from the grove in the pedal assembly. Grip the clip securing the cable to the hole with the pliers, move it back and forth to free the cable.
Install the New Parking Brake Cable
Lubricate the new brake cable, push it through the opening, and press the cable clip up with the screwdriver until it locks. Feed the cable through the groove on the pedal assembly; adjusting slack, and reinstall clamps or clips.
Insert the cable into the rear connection, then pull it tight with the wire cutters. Operate the brake to check for tension, and adjust the tension, if necessary, by loosening the nuts. Reinstall the tires and hub caps.
Take the vehicle off the jacks, and test the brake. If the parking brake still doesn't work, or you don't trust your skill, take it to an auto repair shop.