Emergency Brake Not Working After Brake Job- How To Fix?

I’m guessing it’s been some days since you changed your brakes or got a brake job. So, you didn’t have the time to notice if all components are up and running. Suddenly, you realize that your emergency brakes are not responsive at all.

So, the century-old question can pop up in your head.

“What’s the reason behind my emergency brake not working after brake job?”

One simple cause of the emergency brake not working can be loose wiring or adjustments. The mechanic may have forgotten to tighten it up properly. Also, the whole e-brake lining can be damaged due to the newly done brake job. This can also occur if the lining is on while driving.

While these are some of the reasons, there can be other complications too! Desperate to know more about those?

I’ll let you into all the secrets about e-brakes shortly!

My E-Brake Not Working- 4 Reasons & Fixes!

I already mentioned two reasons why your emergency or parking brake might act weird. Those are loose adjustment and lining breakage or damage. However, I’ve noticed two more instances when your emergency brakes may become non-responsive.

Source: Car From Japan

Want to know what are the rest of the causes? Sorry for teasing you a little but you’ll have to wait for that. Because all the reasons need their sperate discussion with troubleshooting.

So, let’s not waste your valuable time and start!

Reason 1 of 4: Faulty Adjustment or Misalignment

This is a very common problem why your e brake not working after brake job. It’s just mismanagement of the wiring or not screwing the brake accurately. It may seem a very minor thing at first, but I assure you, it’s the opposite.

There are some indicators that may help you to know that e brake is not working. For example, gentle brake pedal, leaking fluids, weak brake pull, and so on.

Source: Cars.com

Now that’s just half of the story. Let’s see how the story unfolds in the troubleshooting.


It’s very important to adjust parking brake after changing brakes. That’s the simplest way to fix this issue. 

To fix the issue, first, you’ll need to look for the adjustment screw. You’ll find it under your driver-side door. Then, give a thorough inspection of the screw.

If you find it loose, give it a tight as far as your strength goes. After you screwed it properly, check the handbrake again. Is the emergency brake not holding still? Then, it’s time to look for other possible causes.

So, let’s go to the next cause of the e-brake not working.

Reason 2 of 4: Damaged Lining

As briefly mentioned before, the ruptured or broken lining can also be the reason. That’s a very possible cause why your emergency brake not working. When the lining gets ripped off, the e-brake stops working immediately.

This problem of handbrake not working after changing brake pads can be seen in many cars.

Now, let’s see if the problem can be solved as easily as the previous one.


You’ll have to get a new emergency brake if the lining is damaged. There’s no way around it. So, unfortunately, this troubleshooting is not that easy. You’ll have to get your hands dirty to fix this issue.

First, you need to take out the parts to access your emergency shoe drum brakes. After that, check if the lining is really broken or not. Did you find it damaged? Then, you have no time to stop!

Now, you’ll need some rachets to take out the old brake. If you don’t have one, here are some good ones to speed up your fixing process-

ACDelco Cordless Ratchet Wrench Tool KitOrder Today!
AOBEN Cordless Electric Ratchet Wrench Set Order Today!

I hope, you find these suggestions useful.

After successfully taking apart the old parking brake, set the new one carefully. Finally, place the parts such as the brake caliper back in and you’re done!

I know that’s a lot of work you had to go through. But now you have a fully functioning emergency brake again. That’s quite the victory in my opinion.

Reason 3 of 4: Rust & External Damage

It’s quite possible that your parking brake has fallen due to a severe rustic environment. If that’s the case, your brake might malfunction because of the bell crank not moving. Even well-renowned chevy hhr brakes can show problems like these.

Also, when you hold the hand brakes then it forms rust and fuses with the disc. To prevent this you can try out this solution as well.

That’s why it’s important to know the troubleshooting methods. Otherwise, you’ll have to cash out extra bucks just to repair this issue.


This troubleshooting is very easy compared to the last two. All you need is the regular usage of your car and its brakes. Really! That’s all there is to it. Because if you don’t use the brakes often, the cables can erode.

Source: Rennlist

Moreover, your handbrake can also get stiff and you’ll need to pull it hard. That’s a dangerous activity for your brakes! 

So, if you can maintain periodic usage of the handbrake, you’ll don’t have to worry!

Reason 4 of 4: Low Temperature

While this can seem a no-brainer but these things happen! You might get frustrated thinking. “Why does my emergency brake not work?”. But you won’t even realize that cold or wet weather conditions can also be the culprit.

In such cases, you won’t need any extra tools or anything to fix your brakes. Let’s see what you need to do.


Well, the fix is utterly intuitive. I think you’ve already guessed it. Just start your car engine and warm it up. It may take up some time but that’s the way. However, notice if you hear the car making noises while decelerating. That’s not a good thing.

Also, avoid pulling hard on your e-brake. Sometimes, that can be very detrimental to your handbrake. It’s always better to maintain your car’s health before it’s too late!

So, those were the common problems with emergency brakes. Some were easy to solve while others were a tad bit difficult. 

Either way, you know all the reasons and how to fix them!


How Can I Tell If My Emergency Brake is Broken?

Observing your vehicle lets you know about your failed or failing emergency brake. Apply your e-brake and check the condition of your vehicle. If your vehicle moves, you’re probably looking at a faulty e-brake. Another way to check the failing brake is to look for a blinking brake light. 

Can I Drive with a Broken Emergency Brake?

No, driving your car with a broken emergency brake is never a good idea. If you notice the faulty brake release wire, don’t drive with that vehicle. Your car or truck will be severely damaged because of the overuse of a broken emergency brake. Even your complete braking system can get damaged. 

Do Emergency Brakes Wear Out?

Your emergency brakes get worn out if you use them extensively. Usually, any normal car can go up to 150,000 miles with your stock emergency brakes. You can get a few extra miles if you maintain your brakes well. However, any car equipment can get damaged after a certain threshold. 

Final Verdict

So that’s all the reasons emergency brake is not working after brake job! Not only that, but you also know about the fixes too.

You’re now fully equipped with the power of fixing your e-brakes. So, why not do it yourself then?

Best of luck!

Robert Lozano

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