Emergency Brake Not Working After Brake Job (What To Do)

Car checkups aren’t always a good experience. Sometimes even the so-called expert mechanics can mess up. 

This may get you wondering “why is my emergency brake not working after brake job?” 

Your emergency brake may not work if someone doesn’t tighten the adjustment screw properly. Or if the emergency brake lining is ripped off. This may happen if someone leaves it on and goes on driving. 

The good news is that both issues can be resolved. You can complete the task entirely on your own.

We’ll show you how to do that in detail further down.

Reasons Why Emergency Brake Isn’t Working After Brake Job


Your emergency brake may not be working for a variety of reasons. Two of the most common reasons are listed below. And we’ll show you how to solve them down below. Take a look-

Reason 1: Improper Adjustment

Your emergency brake may not be working for a variety of reasons. One of them is the improper adjustment of your screw. 

There are few other symptoms of your brake adjustment screw not working. Like- vehicle pulls to one side when braking, soft brake pedal, fluid leak, reduced braking ability, etc. 


If your emergency brake adjustment screw is at fault you need to do two things. Check its current state and fix it if needed. Here’s how to do it. –

Find the adjustment screw. Which is usually under the driver-side passenger door. But it can be in other spots as well. The adjustment of your parking brake depends on the model of your car. 

Then, check the adjustment screw. 

If the adjustment nut is not screwed the whole way in, screw tightly. But if it’s already screwed tightly then something else is at fault.

It could be that either the cables have stretched. That would need an expensive replacement. Or the shoes themselves have worn off or something is broken.

Reason 2: Worn Off Lining

One main reason why your emergency brake may not work is due to the worn-off lining. If the lining of your emergency brakes gets ripped off, it won’t work. If that’s the case, you’ll need to get a new one.


Unlike the previous method, this one would require a bit of extra time and effort. Follow the following 5 steps to check the emergency brake lining and how to fix it. 

Step 1: Take off Parts

To check if the shoes have worn off, you need to firstly pull off a wheel. Since the drum brakes are inside a wheel. So take the brake caliper off and pull off the disk assembly. Then we get to emergency shoe drum brakes. 

Step 2: Check Brake Lining

If you see that the lining of the emergency brake is worn off, that is at fault. This may happen if someone leaves on the damaged brake and goes out driving. Which might have caused the lining to get ripped right off.

Thus, you’ll need to have a new emergency brake with the right lining.

Step 3: Take Off the Old Brake

To fix it, you will need a ratchet and a socket. Use it to put it on the inside bolt to unbolt it. It removes a little retainer that holds the brake in place

Take a look at our recommended ratchets down below. Use them to get your job one-

After that, get a big screwdriver and a pry bar. Here are some of our suggestions for good quality ones-

Use them to then slide off the brake. It will need a little twisting but then it will come off. 

Step 4: Place the New Brake

Once you’ve taken off the old brake, it is time to put the new one in place. Make sure to use good-quality brakes so that they don’t get damaged easily. Here are some you can try:

Twist it in and set it in its spot. Then loosen the ring inside the adjuster. So it squeezes in a whole way. Slide the top right on it, so it fits in place. 

Once done, use the ratchet and socket to put the little retainer back in place. Then put the bolt back in place. You want to put it nice and snugly. So it doesn’t move from its place. 

Step 5: Put the Parts Back in Place

Then take the disk assembly and slide it back on. Make sure you can turn it on once you’ve slid it in. It should have a little drag and no more. If it’s too loose, then you have to tighten it.

Then put the brake caliper and the bolts back on. Make them as tight as possible. After that, repeat the process on the opposite side. Remember, the brake works in pairs. So you need to do the entire process again on the other wheel. 

That’s it! With these two procedures, you will be able to fix your emergency brake. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: How much does it cost to fix an emergency brake?

Answer: The cost of an emergency brake repair can range from $10 to $600. Only the cost of labor affects the pricing range. However, the cost of the new materials required is set based on market prices.

Question: How do I know if my emergency brake is broken?

Answer: Observe your car on a non-level ground after applying the emergency brake. If your car moves, the brake is probably broken. If the emergency brake light on the dashboard illuminates, it’s a sure sign that the e-brake is malfunctioning. (Only on specific automobiles.)

Question: What happens if I accidentally drive with the emergency brake on?

Answer: It’s possible to warp a drum or disc by driving for several kilometers with the parking brake partially engaged. If the brakes become extremely hot, the linings’ adhesive may fail. Causing the linings to split or possibly separate from the pads or brake shoes. 


Now you know exactly what to do when your emergency brake not working after brake job.

So the next time your emergency brake is not working, why not fix it by yourself? It will definitely help to save you loads of cash. 

We hope you found this article helpful.

Rob Dahm

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