Home Diagnosis and TroubleshootingBraking System How To Take Off E Brake – All The Different Ways!

How To Take Off E Brake – All The Different Ways!

by Jordan Harris
How To Take Off E Brake

You are a novice driver and you have a ton of questions on your mind probably. Like how to take off e brake? If this is the case, then you are at the right place because there will be a lot to cover on this topic where we are going to learn everything you need to know.

If you didn’t know, a parking brake is one of the most important devices that is installed on our vehicles. A lot of people who drive automatics are not seeing any purpose of this brake since when you put the transmission in park it automatically locks up.

But when you are driving a manual transmission (or learning how to drive a manual car), this type of brake is a true lifesaver if you are asking me. Who knows how many times this brake saved my vehicle and helped me avoid some really dangerous situations. But what are the types of dangerous situations that you can come across? Let’s elaborate more on them next.

First, we are going to learn more about what is an e-brake or parking brake, then we will learn how it works in reality and the types of e-brakes that are out there. Then we will learn when to use it and how to take off e brake. So, if you want to learn more, follow along.

What Is An E Brake Or Parking Brake

Now before we dive into the topic of how to take off e brake, let’s first take a look at what is an e brake in general. I bet that there are a lot of people who are reading this article who might not be familiar with it and want to learn more about this. So, this chapter is dedicated to them. If you feel like you know this stuff, you can move on to one of the following chapters.

Nevertheless, let’s take a look at what is an e-brake. So, what is this feature? Well, the e-brake is also known as a parking brake, handbrake, or emergency brake (check out our guide to learn more about the emergency brake in a car and how does an emergency brake work). And from here you can see the meaning behind the e-brake term.

This is not a new feature in cars and has been with us since the inception of cars. So, what is this e-brake? Well, this feature in simple terms is an extra layer of protection when it comes to the safety of a vehicle.

How To Take Off E Brake

These types of brakes are very often used when you park on an inclined road. So, the e-brake is there in order to protect your car from rolling down in case the first line of defense fails.

So, if you drive an automatic and the parking pawl fails on your transmission, there will still be the e-brake that will make sure that the car does not roll down the hill and end up in a ditch, or possibly hurt somebody.

In manual transmission cars, this feature is rather more essential, to be honest. But how does it work? Let’s find out more on that before we dive into how to take off e brake.

How Does An E Brake Work

Before we dive deeper and learn how to take off e brake, let’s take a look at how an emergency brake works in reality. From what components is this type of brake consist? Let’s elaborate.

What is worth noting is that this type of brake is different from the standard caliper brakes. This brake is always operated by the rear wheels. But how does it work?

Well, it is quite simple to explain. There is a cable from the parking brake lever. This is a steel cable which is really tough. Then this cable goes directly to the rear drum brakes on older vehicles. Or if you drive a more modern car with disc brakes in the rear, this cable goes to the special rear emergency brakes.

Overall, the operation is rather simple. You pull the handbrake lever and the lever tightens up the cable. Which then tightens up the rear brakes. Then the rear brakes lock up and your emergency brake is activated.

So, the car will not be able to move at all. But you shouldn’t take this for granted always. Especially on a car that you haven’t driven before. Sometimes this cable can be loose and the car could roll even without the emergency brakes on. This is why you need to pay close attention and check if the e-brake grips.

And you can do this by leaving the car in neutral and activating the e-brake. If it rolls, it means that the e-brake is not tightened well enough. If it doesn’t roll, it means that the e-brake is good. But how to take off e brake? More on this, we are going to elaborate on in a moment.

Types Of E Brakes

Another topic that we would like to cover is the topic when it comes to the different types of parking brakes. How come?

Well, there might be one type of parking brake design. But there is more than one design for e-brake activation. And by this, we mean methods of engaging this type of brake. This is why we are going to elaborate more on them in the next few paragraphs.

The first method and probably the one found in most trucks is the pedal emergency brake activation. This is a really old-school design that is often found on vehicles that are from the 70s or prior. This type of handbrake activation incorporates a small pedal that is located near the A-pillar on the car, right where the hood release is located. You just press this pedal and the e-brake activates. Simple as that.

The second type is the center lever, or stick lever as would some people call it. Usually, the term stick lever refers to some old-school applications. In more modern cars the term center lever is more commonly used. But what is this lever?

Well, this lever is usually found located between the driver and passenger seats. There is a button that you press and use to engage the handbrake and then move it up to activate it or push it down to deactivate the handbrake.

And the last type of e-brake is the more modern push button e-brake. This e-brake relies on a button that is often found on the center console to activate and deactivate. This is a very modern design found on most new cars nowadays. But how to take off e brake? More on this in a moment.

Why This Emergency Brake Is So Important

Another topic that we would like to discuss before we dive into how to take off e brake is the importance of this device. Why the e-brake is so important for you as a vehicle owner? Let’s find out.

A ton of owners who own an automatic think that they don’t need this archaic device in their cars. Something which is true to a certain extent.

On automatic engines, you have the parking pawl, which resembles a metal tooth that grips and does not allow the gearbox to move.

But what can happen is that this parking pawl can fail. Especially if you decide to park a really heavy vehicle on a very inclined road. This metal piece can break and then your car will roll down the hill.

This is why using the handbrake, even on automatic transmissions is more than necessary because you did not put so much stress on the parking pawl and your car is kept in a stationary position without any bigger problems.

When it comes to manual transmission cars, the handbrake is a really essential device. Especially when you park on a steeply inclined road. Even if you put the car into gear, it could still move a bit. This is why using the handbrake is necessary to do always on manual cars.

Also, not only to keep the car stationary. But also to put the car into gear and drive off when you are parked on an inclined road. The parking brake needs to be engaged while you buildup enough momentum on the engine that will allow the car to accelerate on an inclined road. But how to take off e brake? More on that we are going to cover in a moment.

Parking Brake VS Emergency Brake

Now let’s discuss another topic before we learn how to take off e brake. And this topic is the difference between a parking brake vs emergency brake. Is there any difference at all? Let’s elaborate.

These two are terms that refer to the same thing. This means that there is no difference between the two of them.

So, it doesn’t matter if you prefer to use the terms parking brake, emergency brake, or e-brake. They are referring to the same thing which is the emergency brake. But why it is called an emergency brake? Is this an exaggeration?

Well, not quite. Even though the term parking brake might suit best, the term emergency brake describes this brake well as well.

How To Take Off E Brake

Because there could be a situation on the road where your brakes fail. Imagine that you have a leak in your brake lines. And what can you do in this situation?

The only way around this would be to use the emergency brake in order to make the car stop. This can get dangerous because the car could go sideways when this brake is engaged. But if it’s your only way, you just have to use it.

There are also some tricks that you can pull off like downshifting if you drive a manual. But the emergency brake is probably one of your best options in this situation. But how to take off e brake? More on that we are going to cover in a bit, now let’s take a look at what could happen if you drive with an emergency brake on.

Driving With Emergency Brake On

Now let’s take a look at what could happen if you drive with the emergency brake on. This will be really useful to know before we start learning more interesting topics. Such as how to take off e brake. So, what could happen in this case?

Well, if you try to do so, the car will probably start moving. But it will move really slowly like it is down on power.

In this case, you will also notice the e-brake light on the dash as well. So, if you notice the light, the first thing that should come to your mind is to release the e-brake on the car in order to resume the proper ride.

If you don’t do this and continue driving the car like this, you can expect to put a big strain on the cable and make the e-brake not work very well in the future. You can also snap the cable for this system in some situations as well. So, you get the idea why driving like this is rather unrecommended.

And also, in this situation, there could be damage to the clutch if you drive a manual car. If you drive a manual with the e-brake on, your car will start smoking like crazy and you will burn the clutch. How do I know this?

Well, experience. I burned my dad’s car clutch when I was a kid. So, if you don’t want to learn from experience like me, you better always check the e-brake before you try to drive the car. Because if you don’t do this, you risk either damaging the e-brake components, or the clutch if you drive a manual car. But how to take off e brake? More on that, we will cover it in a bit.

When You Should Use E Brake?

Now let’s take a look at another topic before we learn how to take off e brake. And that is the situation when you should use an e-brake.

As you probably know, the emergency brake should not be used all the time. But only in specific situations that you will come across while driving your car. So, what are these situations? Let’s elaborate more on them in the following chapters.

When And How To Take Off E Brake #1: When You Park On An Inclined Road

Now let’s take a look first at when you should use your e-brake before we cover how to take off e brake.

The first reason why you should use the e-brake is that you park on an inclined road. If you drive an automatic, don’t rely on the parking pawl because if you do, you risk this pawl breaking off.

And when this parking pawl breaks, there isn’t anything that will stop your car. Especially if we are talking about a big SUV that weighs a lot.

And for manual transmission cars, this is recommended to do. Even if you place the car in gear, you need to activate your e-brake for the car not to move at all.

Also, when you start your car on an inclined road and you try to build some momentum, you need to have the e-brake on and then quickly release it so the car to pull forward. Overall, this is the number one use for the e-brake. Now let’s take a look at the other uses before we learn how to take off e brake.

When And How To Take Off E Brake #2: In Emergency Situations

The second use of e-brake that we are going to cover before we dive into how to take off e brake is emergency usage. So, what is an emergency situation?

Well, let’s say that your brakes have failed and you cannot stop the car. In these situations, you need to think really fast and make the right calls in order to get away with no damage to your car and also no damage to other cars around. So, what you can do?

Well, the first thing you can do is to downshift the transmission if you have a manual or manual automatic with paddle shifters. Doing this will activate engine braking. The engine will simply slow down and lose momentum.

Then pull the e-brake. Just make sure that you don’t pull the handbrake abruptly. This way you will not lose the rear end. Because if you pull it very fast, you will lose the rear and you will potentially crash into something. And this is something that you want to avoid doing because you could hurt someone. But how to take off e brake? More on that we will cover in a second.

When And How To Take Off E Brake #3: To Drift Your FWD Car

And the last reason why to use an e-brake that we are going to cover before we learn how to take of e brake is the reason to drift your car. That’s right, you can drift your car with this brake. So, why is this the case?

Well, on RWD cars, losing the rear end comes naturally. On FWD cars it does not, the front end dives into understeer and you can’t drift an FWD vehicle.

Unless you drive sharp into a turn and then pull the handbrake. By doing this, you will basically lose the rear end of the vehicle. And once you do so, you will be able to drift the car.

Just, this is not something easy and beginner friendly because you can seriously smash your car and also potentially hurt people around you if you try this on an open road. If you want to test these things, you can find an empty parking lot or a track where you will have a good perspective of what is going on around you.

How To Take Off E Brake

Now let’s get to business and learn how to take off e brake? How this is done the right way. We will explain all the different designs.

Let’s start with the pedal brake. In order to take off this type of e-brake, you only need to press the pedal and the e-brake will be released. It is dead simple.

On the other hand, if you have a lever e-brake that is located between the seats, you will have to put your hand on the handle, then press the button on the top of the handle and then take off the e-brake. So, this is the procedure to release the parking brake. And in order to apply it again, you don’t have to press the button, just lift the handle up as much as you can.

And the third type is the electronic parking brake. This type is probably the simplest one to operate, you just place your finger in the small hole and push the button towards you to activate it. Also, repeat the same process to take it off the e brake. It’s that easy,


In this article, we covered quite a bit when it comes to parking brakes. First, we learned what are parking brakes and how they operate. Then we learned the types of parking brakes that exist. And when it comes to this we can say that there are a few of them.

Then, we moved on and learned about the situations in which you will need a parking brake. And lastly, we learned how to take off e brake.


Now let’s answer some frequently asked questions.

Which Pedal Is The Brake

In automatic transmission vehicles, the brake pedal is located on the left side. In manual transmission vehicles, the brake pedal is located in the middle.

Is The Brake On The Left Or Right

The brake pedal is always mounted on the left side, while the gas pedal is mounted on the right side. If you have a manual transmission, you will have a clutch pedal that will be mounted far left, while the brake will be mounted in the middle in this application.

What Is A Parking Brake

A parking brake, emergency brake, or e-brake is a brake that is there to be used in emergency situations and anytime you park the car. We always recommend that whenever you park the vehicle, activate the parking brake, just for a good measure, you don’t know what can happen.

How To Reset Parking Brake Light

You can reset the light if you put the handbrake down. Just press the button on the handbrake and put the lever down, this will clear the light.

How To Use Parking Brake

If you have a pedal parking brake, just press the small pedal at your far left foot well. If you have a classic handbrake, just pull the lever up in the air. Or if you have an electronic parking brake, just pull the button towards you.

What Should Drivers Do In Case Of A Brake Failure

In case of brake failure, you should try to downshift the transmission, this will make the engine lose momentum and the car will slow down. And during this, slowly lift the handbrake and the car will eventually stop.

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