It Still Runs is the go-to destination for all things cars. From motors to radiators and everything in between, we've got you covered.


How to Fix the Emergency Brake in a VW Jetta

by Jeffrey Caldwell

An emergency brake, or parking brake, on a Volkswagen Jetta is used to take stress off the transmission while the vehicle is parked, and as a fail-safe in the event of a major failure of the hydraulic brake system. The emergency brake lever on a Jetta is located to the right of the driver's seat, and is connected to the rear brake caliper via two steel cables.

Removing the Center Console

Step 1

Remove the ashtray from the rear of the center console.

Step 2

Remove the two screws located behind the ashtray.

Lift the rear portion of the center console up and away from the parking brake lever. Remove the console from the vehicle.

Removing the Parking Brake Cable

Step 1

Disconnect the brake cables by loosening the lock nut and adjusting nut and separating the inner parking brake cable from the equalizer bar.

Step 2

Lift the vehicle and support it with jack stands underneath the frame or axle.

Step 3

Remove the outer cable from underneath the vehicle, and separate the cable from its support guide.

Step 4

Work back towards the rear of the vehicle, separating the brake cable from its support clips.

Step 5

Remove the rear wheels and tires.

Separate the inner cable from the parking brake lever on the rear brake caliper, then remove the outer cable from the retaining clip.

Installing the Parking Brake Cable

Step 1

Connect the rear outer portion of the brake cable the caliper retaining clip, and attach the inner cable to the parking brake lever.

Step 2

Working towards the front of the vehicle, attach the parking brake cable to its support clips.

Step 3

Guide the front of the cable through the body and attach the outer cable to the support guide.

Step 4

Connect the inner parking brake cable to the equalizer bar on the parking brake lever.

Reinstall the rear wheels and tires.

Parking Brake Adjustment

Step 1

Access the parking brake adjusting nuts at the parking brake lever. Make sure the parking brake lever beside the driver's seat is not engaged.

Step 2

Looses the nuts on both cables until the parking brake levers on each of the rear calipers hit their stops.

Step 3

Tighten the nuts on each cable evenly until the parking brake levers move slightly off their stops at the caliper.

Step 4

Measure the distance between the caliper parking brake lever and its stop at each wheel. It should be less than 1.5 mm (1/16 inch). Make sure both sides are the same.

Step 5

Check that both wheels move freely.

Step 6

Engage the parking brake and count the number of clicks until it is fully engaged. It should be between four and seven. Adjust if necessary.

Tighten the locknuts on both cables.

Reinstalling the Center Console

Step 1

Drop the center console into position over the parking brake lever.

Step 2

Reinstall the two screws that secure the console to the vehicle's body.

Reinstall the ashtray into the rear of the center console.


  • On some models it may not be necessary to remove the center console, because the adjusting nuts and cables are accessible by removing the rear ashtray. Examine the cables closely before removing. Only one may be damaged and need replaced.


  • Always follow the manufacture's instructions listed in the owner's manual when lifting or lowering a vehicle. Failing to do so could result in injury or death.

Items you will need

  • Automotive jack
  • Jack stands
  • Metric wrench set
  • Needlenose pliers
  • Flat-blade screwdriver
  • Phillips screwdriver

More Articles