The national cost for a parking brake cable replacement with CarAdvise in 2024 is between $97 and $647 with an average of $195.

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What is a parking brake cable and how does it work?

Passenger vehicles are equipped with a safety feature known as a parking brake. Sometimes referred to as an “emergency” brake, these devices are in place to assist the transmission to hold your vehicle in place when you are parked. This is especially useful when you are parked on an incline. The parking brake is a mechanical device that works independently from the hydraulic braking system, although it may share some of its components.

The parking brake cable extends from the parking brake lever or pedal to the rear brakes. When you pull on the lever or step on the pedal, the cable is tightened and actuates the parking brake. If a vehicle has rear disc brakes, the brake caliper might be actuated manually with the parking brake lever and cable. Alternatively, the system might feature a set of brake shoes in a drum on the inside of the rotor.


How is a a Parking Brake Cable Replacement done?

The procedure to replace a parking brake cable can differ greatly from one vehicle to the next. Some vehicles feature a hand-operated parking brake lever. Others have a pedal-actuated brake. Still others include electronically-actuated parking brakes. In most cases, a parking brake cable is included in the system, but where it is located, how it is accessed, and how difficult a procedure it is to replace it varies.

For instance, if your vehicle has a hand-operated parking brake mounted in the center console, a technician would need to remove the center console to get at the cable. If, on the other hand, your vehicle has a foot pedal for the parking brake, lower dashboard or kick panel components would need to be removed.

Once the lever or pedal assembly has been uncovered, the cable must be detached. It must also be disconnected from the brake caliper or drum brake (depending on the style of parking brake). The cable must also be extracted from its path from the passenger compartment to the rear of the vehicle before a new cable is inserted and connected. Once all of the components have been reinstalled, the technician will lift and support your vehicle in the air and adjust the parking brake to the proper tension.

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National average cost of a a Parking Brake Cable Replacement
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How do I know if my vehicle needs a new parking brake cable?

If the parking brake cable in your vehicle becomes frayed, bent, corroded, or broken, you might notice one or more of the following signs:

The parking brake lever or pedal will not move to engage the brake

The lever or pedal will not release once the parking brake has been set

The lever or handle moves without any tension whatsoever (not engaging)

Your vehicle will not remain in place when the parking brake is set

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Other questions customers ask

Can you drive with a broken parking brake cable?
It is not recommended that you drive your vehicle with a broken parking brake cable. A loose or hanging cable can cause obstruction, and a damaged parking brake system can negatively impact the rest of the braking system as well.
How long does it take to replace a parking brake cable?
The time it takes to replace a parking brake cable depends significantly on the vehicle make and model, as well as the type of parking brake used. For instance, a hand–operated parking brake with a lever located in the center console would require the removal of the center console. A vehicle with rear disc brakes where the parking brake is located in a drum inside a rear brake rotor would require that the brakes be disassembled for access to the cable attachment. The job can take one to three hours in general.
Can a car move with the parking brake on?
Yes. In most cases, a vehicle will still move when the parking brake is engaged. That is because the amount of force needed on the brake system to overcome the power of the engine is more than the parking brake lever or pedal will typically allow. That said, if you leave your parking brake on while driving, you will not only wear out the parking brake, but your vehicle will drag and might pull to one side or the other (not to mention waste fuel).

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