How Does Handbrake Work And What Are Its Functions?

The braking system is one of the most important components of the automobile mechanism. It reduces the speed and helps the vehicle stops completely. There are two braking segments – the front brakes and the handbrake. We all know about the functions of the front brakes. But, how does handbrake work and what is handbrake used for?

What Is A Car Handbrake?

Also known as the emergency brake or e-brake, the handbrake is either a foot-operated or a mechanical hand lever. It has a connection to the rear wheels through a metallic cable. People often mistakenly think that it is connected to the power terrain by the hydraulic means of power transmission. It actually makes sense because the handbrake will keep the vehicle standstill in the event of a hydraulic brake failure.

You will see the handbrake in between the two front seats or to the left side of the gas and brake pedal. It can aptly be described it as a backup braking system that steps in when the primary brakes don’t work.

what is handbrake used for
You can apply the handbrake in the parking mode. (Photo Source: prioritytire)

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How Does Handbrake Work?

The car handbrake is designed to bypass the hydraulic braking system in the event of a failure. When you apply the emergency brake, the metallic cable it is connected to passes through an intermediate lever, enhancing the power of the pulling. Then, comes an equalizer that splits that power evenly between the brakes.

In most vehicles, the disc or drum brakes have a connection to a mechanical lever. If it is the disc brake, the existing caliper piston is likely to have a connection to an additional lever and corkscrew. When you pull the brake on, the lever makes the corkscrew to force against the piston. If it is drum brakes, the metallic cable has a direct attachment to the lever on the brake shoes.

So, you know how handbrake works and its importance in the event of a hydraulic brake failure. But, don’t apply it when the foot brake is still operational. It will disrupt the brake’s balance and the vehicle may lose control.

The Functions Of A Handbrake

You already know how does handbrake work but what are its functions, exactly? Can you use it as an alternative to the primary hydraulic brake? Or, its use will give you some kind of extra benefits?

how handbrake works
You don’t need to apply the handbrake often. (Photo Source: carsinvasion)

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Well, the handbrake keeps the car in place when the footbrake malfunctions or fails. But, its primary function is to remain engaged in the parking mode until the driver pushes the release button. It is quite helpful since it stops a car from rolling away when parked on a slope or a surface that is uneven.

You probably don’t have to use the handbrake except for the parking because the brake system in the modern vehicles is highly reliable. Their mechanism includes both dual-circuit hydraulics and low-brake-fluid sensor systems, which means they are rarely going to become inoperable. There will be very few emergency situations when you have to use the car handbrake.

Wrapping Up

Handbrake is indispensable components of a car, however people often consider it just as tool for stopping wheels. I hope this article could help you understand how handbrake works and its functions in the right way. If you have any question, please do not hesitate to leave a comment below.