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MrBriggs

Handbrake Issue?

10 posts in this topic

Hi Guys,

Pulled up in the car park today and found my handbrake wasn't working when I tried to pull handbrake up. The handbrake has pull on it but doesn't catch - it wasn't making that 'clicking sound' and catching when you pull it up. But! I left it a couple of mins and then it started catching again. Doesn't feel like its catching as strongly but still holds...

I parked on a hill later to test handbrake and it worked fine (also put car in gear) and car didn't move...but I'm thinking that if it doesn't break now then it'll probably properly break soon...?

Anyway, can you guys help me out with a couple of questions??

1) What's the mechanism in the handbrake called that catches when you pull the handbrake up?? Just so I can explain it to garage...

2) Anyone have any similar experience and what do you think the cost will be? I'm guessing maybe £100ish?

3) I have AA Homestart with an insurance add-on where I can claim the cost of repairs through the AA when the car has broken down - do you think this would be covered through AA? I.e. car is unsafe to drive?

It's a 2005 Focus Mk2.

Thanks guys,

MB.

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1) sounds like your referring to the 'click' of the engagement pins (thats what I call them anyway) most garages should be able to identify that.

2) it sounds like you may just need to tighten the handbrake, it could be that is all that is required, in which case, you could do this yourself, or you could get an indie to do it (had them done on my Cee'd - £25 to have the handbrake tightened up).

3) Its possible, but only in the event that the part fails altogether. Otherwise, they could claim wear and tear (still probably will!)

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I have always called it the ratchet of the handbrake lever.

I was always taught to hold the button in though so you don't hear the clicks, but as Jeebo has said it might only need tightening, if the cables are a bit slack there may not be enough pressure to keep the handle in place.

Either that or the teeth of the ratchet have worn down in which case you will need a new lever.

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Sounds like your hand brake needs adjusting but before you do that its a good idea to take drums off and inspect the shoes and drum for wear or damage. If its been previously adjusted it could be already be on the limit with heavy drum or shoe wear. The clicking sound is just a pin on the car with a spring it catches onto a teeth under the leaver and slips over it to generate that click. Its probably ceased up from dust, dirt and lack of lubrication or the teeth could have been worn out. Thats the reason why you aren't suppose to let it click in normal use. Pull off the hand brake cover n pull the leaver a couple of times to check if its worn out or ceased up. If ceased up use some wd40 to clean it up then use copper grease.

Remember its wise to inspect the drums n shoes condition before adjusting

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As I always say in regards to anything with brakes, steering or suspension parts...if your not sure take it to a garage and get it checked by someone who knows.

Nothing worse than saying yeah do that, it works for a little then fails causing unknown damage etc.

stef123 and mixmasterlooney like this

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My dad had this same thing on his Merc sprinter ,although a different vehicle it was actually the handbreak mechanism that had all gone rusty and grinded itself together,got under there with some wd40 and a hammer and smacked it about a bit,works ok but will need replacing at some point.

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Hi MrBriggs,

My wife has exactly the same year car as yours and I have recently replaced the handbrake cable as the outer sheath had split and the cable had corroded. The car had the same symptoms as your describing. We took it to various garages and they just tightened the cable making it work for a short period, charging me £25 each time and not diagnosing the problem. Anyway, after a quote from the garage for £200 to replace the handbrake cable I decided to do it myself. It only cost £45 for the cables from Bromsgrove Motor Factors and its not too hard to do.

Before you do this though, I would try tightening up the handbrake. Just unclip the plastic housing at the base of the handbrake, pull up the gator, this will reveal a screw with a few bolts. These are the adjusting bolts, simply tighten them up so that the handbrake tightens up by a maximum of three clicks.

Hope this helps

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To reiterate JOhnH's point about if you don't know what your doing let a garage do it. Please do not just tighten the nut under the handbrake lever without inspecting the drums shoes and general condition of all parts. Tightening that nut to achieve 3-4 clicks is likely to cause you problems as you are neglecting the fact that with the handbrake off those drums should spin freely and this needs to be checked

jeebowhite likes this

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Hi Guys,

Cheers for all your replies. It's weird, it's been fine since, though it seems to hold better facing down a hill than pointing up a hill? First night afterwards I did put a couple of larger stones under the front wheels though just in case it tried to move...

It feels like the cable is still tight and is resistant to being pulled too far. I took the cover off the handbrake to have a look at mechanism and it looks like the catch (the handbrake pin?) might be a bit worn, though the teeth on the wheel that the pin catches on look fine.

Since I'm on holidays at the moment I'm leaving it until I get home. Think I'll tighten the bolt up a notch but it's only a month until I need to get her MOT'd anyway so think I'll ask my usual garage to have a look at it then and check the drums etc. No point throwing money at it now in case it fails next month anyway!!

Cheers guys, really helpful input from all of you.

Cheers guys

mixmasterlooney likes this

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Hi Guys,

Cheers for all your replies. It's weird, it's been fine since, though it seems to hold better facing down a hill than pointing up a hill? First night afterwards I did put a couple of larger stones under the front wheels though just in case it tried to move...

It feels like the cable is still tight and is resistant to being pulled too far. I took the cover off the handbrake to have a look at mechanism and it looks like the catch (the handbrake pin?) might be a bit worn, though the teeth on the wheel that the pin catches on look fine.

Since I'm on holidays at the moment I'm leaving it until I get home. Think I'll tighten the bolt up a notch but it's only a month until I need to get her MOT'd anyway so think I'll ask my usual garage to have a look at it then and check the drums etc. No point throwing money at it now in case it fails next month anyway!!

Cheers guys, really helpful input from all of you.

Cheers guys

I know you're on holiday dude and i understand your circumstances. so here is a tip to ensure you don't over tighten the handbrake, jack up the rear of the car with the hand brake off you should be able to spin the wheels by hand with little to no resistant, it's normal to hear a slight scraping sound from the shoes and drums as you spin the wheel.

With the hand brake on (1 or more clicks) the wheel should not spin by hand or be very difficult if your're a strong guy, you need to adjust and test spin, adjust and test spin... both sides separately. Over tightening will cause your brakes to always be on and it will overheat resulting brake failure

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