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Thread: How do you apply your handbrake?

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    aka .:iGi:. Calcutter DannyM's Avatar
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    How do you apply your handbrake?

    I've just snapped my handbrake cable after two and a bit years in my car, my dad is going to sort it out when he gets to work though, so no biggy.

    However it has me a little curious, I'm usually a bit strong with my handbrake, I pull it rather fast and usually make sure it's tight, I also don't use the button. I now think I should be a bit more gentle and leave a bit of give between the "clicks" if you like.

    I am wondering if I should press the button in instead of just pulling it up? I based this on my dad saying that at his work a year or so back after an incident with a car and a handbrake that Vauxhall recommended that people "crank" there handbrake up instead of pressing the button in.


    So hexites what do you do, crank it up or gently press the button?

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    Senior Member kalniel's Avatar
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    Re: How do you apply your handbrake?

    Button is for release only - should never be used on application or you run the risk of it failing to latch and the car rolling.

    Nothing wrong with pulling it up smoothly though (without the button). Depending on the system it might be easier if you press the foot brakes at the same time.

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    Does he need a reason? Funkstar's Avatar
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    Re: How do you apply your handbrake?

    Press the button, pull it tight enough but not too tight. I have a pet hate of people cranking it, the noise annoys me.

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    Re: How do you apply your handbrake?

    Button.

    Also, I only park in-gear using engine compression instead of the handbrake. Only on particularly windy days do I also use the handbrake. The car has never needed a new handbrake cable; it's now 10 years old. However, only having one data point for this means that it's useless as a statistic.

    I can easily imagine a manufacturer having a common fault in the handbrake mechanism & recommending the buttonless lift as a horrible workaround. I might be basing this on a vague memory of an actual fault... if so, I'm sure some googling would find mentions of it.

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    Re: How do you apply your handbrake?

    Quote Originally Posted by smargh View Post
    I can easily imagine a manufacturer having a common fault in the handbrake mechanism & recommending the buttonless lift as a horrible workaround. I might be basing this on a vague memory of an actual fault... if so, I'm sure some googling would find mentions of it.
    Yes, Vauxhall do have problems with handbrakes and they have made recommendations on how to apply the handbrake (still doesn't stop them releasing on their own apparently).

    I always press the button in on application.

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    Senior Member kalniel's Avatar
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    Re: How do you apply your handbrake?

    Well add Honda, Volvo, Ford, Seat, VW and Audi to that list with Vaux then, as they've all stated to use the button for release only in manuals or customer directives. But just go look in your manual.

    Button or not button will make no difference to the cable at all (if it's snapping after two years then it was bad or it's rubbing on something).

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    DDY
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    Re: How do you apply your handbrake?

    My driving instructor said I should avoid ratcheting the handbrake, i.e. don't make it click, so I push the button. Can't remeber why though.

    EDIT: Actually, thinking about it. I usually pull the brake with the button in until I feel a bit of resistance and then listen/feel for a click.
    Last edited by DDY; 07-05-2012 at 01:07 AM.

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    Re: How do you apply your handbrake?

    I have no idea ! I'll have to concentrate when I do it next time. Certainly I also leave it in gear, and I remember my instructor (C1981) telling me to turn the wheels into the kerb as well. I don't usually bother with that though.
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    Re: How do you apply your handbrake?

    I just let it ratchet and leave it in gear regardless as to whether it's on a slope (good habits). Handbrake cables will eventually snap if you use them, doesn't mean you shouldn't use them though!

    Quote Originally Posted by Phage View Post
    and I remember my instructor (C1981) telling me to turn the wheels into the kerb as well. I don't usually bother with that though.
    If you're on a very steep hill then it's very much a backup backup plan.

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    aka .:iGi:. Calcutter DannyM's Avatar
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    Re: How do you apply your handbrake?

    Thanks for the replies. I do always leave the car in gear that has very much become a habit. I do recall my instructor telling me to use the button when I apply the handbrake but cranking it up seems to be my habit now. I think I'll try to be a bit more gentle with it next time round!

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    Re: How do you apply your handbrake?

    Quote Originally Posted by DDY View Post
    My driving instructor said I should avoid ratcheting the handbrake, i.e. don't make it click, so I push the button. Can't remeber why though.

    EDIT: Actually, thinking about it. I usually pull the brake with the button in until I feel a bit of resistance and then listen/feel for a click.
    My instructor did this too, thought thinking about it if your teaching/being taught your applying the handbreak every time you stop, so its in use far more than in a normal car. Prehaps it is to avoid the rachet getting worn, or maybe just to avoid the instructor getting a headace

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    Re: How do you apply your handbrake?

    Quote Originally Posted by kalniel View Post
    Well add Honda, Volvo, Ford, Seat, VW and Audi to that list with Vaux then, as they've all stated to use the button for release only in manuals or customer directives. But just go look in your manual.
    The point I was making was that Vauxhall have blamed all their handbrake problems on driver error of holding the button in while applying the handbrake and told all those people whose cars have rolled away and crashed into other cars, Walls, People etc. that it was down to the drivers not applying the handbrake 'properly' (in Vauxhall's opinion) and yet even just ratcheting the handbrake lever up(as directed by Vauxhall and they did make stickers to stick to peoples sunvisors too IIRC) has still not solved the problem of the handbrakes releasing on their own.

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    Re: How do you apply your handbrake?

    RTFM.

    Application of handbrake is never guaranteed especially with rear disk brakes. Your manual will also say you should leave it in gear.

    Sorry for the stern and in your face advice, but if anyone is foolish enough not to read how to operate the car, they deserve all they get.

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    Member Trash Man's Avatar
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    Re: How do you apply your handbrake?

    I was taught to press the button the button in when pulling the handbrake up and always leave it in 2nd gear.

    Not sure what relevance 2nd gear has but this it what I have done for the past 16 years on every car I have owned, inc Audis, with no issues at all.

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    Re: How do you apply your handbrake?

    With my hand! *rimshot*
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    Re: How do you apply your handbrake?

    button in, and hold it ... always.

    otherwise when you handbrake turn the car, mid special stage, you're muscle memory fails you and it's still on instead of going back off and down a split second later.

    and if your handbrake cable broke after 2 years but.. it was either snagging on a sharp edge, or buggered from new.

    I snapped one in January.. a few Hexites know the story... I ended up face into a hedge but that was nearly 20 year old!

    as a new one is going on make sure the rear brakes are nice and free while the job's being done.. a new handbrake calbe and sticky rear brakes is a waste of everyones' efforts

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