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For vehicles to operate safely on the road, it isn’t enough to just have a primary braking system. In fact, due to the abuse these components experience each day, it isn’t uncommon for them to wear down and, ultimately, fail. Should this happen, it’s up to the emergency braking system to stop your car from rolling and protect not only you, but everyone around you. This is how your emergency brake works and the importance of using it—especially on slanted roadways.


The emergency brake is your car’s secondary braking system that provides an extra level of safety when parking. It will intervene to stop the vehicle from rolling in the event its main brakes malfunction or are rendered ineffective. It bypasses the hydraulic brakes and locks the wheels so they won’t rotate. However, these systems aren’t automatic and often need to be manually engaged in order to work properly.


When it comes to knowing how your emergency brake works, it can be a little bit more complicated. After all, not all vehicles have the same type of emergency brake. Depending on the type you have, it may engage differently than what you’re used to. These are some varieties of emergency brake and how they function:


Stick lever emergency brakes are more common in older cars, but they’re still seen often enough on today’s roads. In vehicles with these systems, the device is located under the instrument panel and will need to be pulled into the “on” position to properly engage the brake. When the brake is turned on, it will put tension on the car’s brake lines. Because of this, the brakes will remain on even if they fail.


Center lever models are a bit newer, but still operate in much the same way. This lever is placed between the seats for easier manipulation. Pulling up will engage the brake, then pressing the button and pushing it down will turn it off.


It’s important to mention some cars don’t have a lever at all. The emergency pedal brake, for instance, is a small pad that gets activated and deactivated with pressure from your foot. It’s often located to the far left of your pedal area so you can’t accidentally mistake it for the acceleration or primary braking systems.


The push button emergency brake will be located with the rest of your center console controls and turn on and off with an easy press a button. It’s considered the easiest type of emergency brake to use, though it can often be mistaken for another vehicle control. So, be careful when you’re going to use it.


Regardless of what type of emergency braking system you have, it won’t function very effectively if you don’t have tires with enough traction. So, reach out to RNR Tire Express for additional help. Our tire stores in Charleston, SC are fully stocked with top-notch products—at prices you can afford.

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