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One of the most important aspects of a car is the brakes. Every driver interested in car safety should know when to use them. There are apparent scenarios where it would be a good idea to use the brakes. However, sometimes drivers should avoid using their brakes, especially the parking brake. Here’s a look at three instances where you should never use your parking brake.

There are many scenarios where it comes in handy

A parking brake in a Mazda CX-9.
Parking Brake | Mazda North American Operations

Like Reader Digest wrote, there are many reasons you may want to use the parking brake, which is also known as an emergency brake. The two obvious scenarios are when you’re parking the car and in emergencies, especially when the regular brakes fail or don’t work properly. Some of the other scenarios where you may want to use it are related to car maintenance.

When your car is being serviced, it’s a good idea to use it to “remove the stress from the transmission.” It can also keep you and the mechanics safe during the servicing. The parking brake is also a good idea when you or a someone else is changing the car’s tire. This will ensure the rear wheels don’t spin during the process. 

Don’t use your parking brake during snow or rain emergencies

There are three instances where drivers should not use the parking brake, and two of them are related to weather. One example is when there’s a snow or rain emergency. This is because it will cause the rear wheels to lock up, making it harder for drivers to control their cars. Drivers need as much control as they can during the winter, so using the parking brake can lead to disaster.

It’s a bad idea to use when it’s freezing outside

Similarly, when it gets too cold for an extended period, it’s a bad idea to use the parking brake, even if drivers use it for parking their cars. According to Reader Digest, this is because the cold temps can actually cause the emergency brake cable to freeze. If it does freeze, drivers won’t be able to disengage it. Obviously, drivers should not try to drive with it frozen in place, as it leads to loss of control.

The good news is there is usually a simple fix for this. Folks can wait for the frozen brake cable to thaw, and it should work normally afterward. If drivers can’t wait, they can jack the car up and warm up the frozen brake cable with a hairdryer or a similar tool.

Don’t use your parking brake when you’re driving normally

Another instance where it’s a bad idea to use the parking brake is when you’re driving normally, and there’s nothing special going on. This is called “riding the brake,” and it’s an easy way to shorten the lifespan of your car. This is because it will cause friction on the brake pads, and that heat can cause the brake fluid to boil.

If the brake fluid boils, it won’t work correctly, which means your brakes won’t work properly. Most of the time, folks will ride the brake because they accidentally left the parking brake on. An easy way to prevent this issue is to ensure that it is not on when you’re driving.


What Happens If You Accidentally Drive With the Parking Brake On?