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How to Adjust an Emergency Brake on Vehicles

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

The emergency brake keeps the stress off of the Vehicles transmission while the Vehicles is in park. It can also act as the backup brake if the main brake system fails. You can adjust the emergency brake in your Vehicles from your home garage, saving yourself time and money. The purpose of adjusting the e-brake is to take up the slack in the parking brake cable, which becomes stretched out over time. You will know it's time to adjust your emergency brake when you park your Vehicles on a downhill slope and the Vehicles slips forward even after engaging the emergency brake.

Under The Hood:

 How to Adjust an Emergency Brake on a Lexus RX 330

Put your Lexus in neutral, disengage the emergency brake, and place chock blocks around the front tires.

Lift both rear wheels of the vehicle off the ground, loosen the lug nuts and remove the wheels. Starting with the left rear of the vehicle, locate one of the 8 millimeter access holes in the rear brake disc drum and turn the drum so that the access hole is at the 6 o'clock position. Using a flashlight, locate the emergency brake adjustment gear through the disc drum. It is immediately behind the disc drum and is star-shaped. Insert a flathead screwdriver into the brake adjustment gear opening and turn clockwise until the disc drum resists spinning. Reinstall the wheel.

Proceed to the right side of the vehicle and repeat the same procedure for other wheel.

Test the emergency brake by parking your vehicle on a slope and engaging the emergency brake.

Items you will need

  • 2 car jacks

  • Chock blocks

  • Flat screwdriver

 How to Adjust the Emergency Brake on a 1991 Miata

Place wheel chocks behind the front wheels of the Miata. Use the floor jack to raise the rear of the vehicle, and slide jack stands under the rear frame. Lower the car onto the floor jacks, and remove the floor jack.

Remove both rear wheels using the lug wrench and store them in a safe place to prevent tripping hazards and loss of the lug nuts.

Locate and remove the cap that covers the adjuster. Looking at the top of the caliper three bolts are visible: one bolt for the brake hose, one bolt for the emergency brake cable bracket and between these the cover bolt for the adjuster.

Using an Allen wrench from the set, turn the adjuster to tighten the caliper piston until there is a slight drag on the rotor from the pads rubbing. Adjust both calipers, and reinstall the cover bolts. Check the parking brake. It should only ratchet up three to six clicks before the brake sets. If it is still loose, proceed to the next step. (If not, skip the next step.)

Locate the parking brake cable adjuster on the parking brake lever inside the console. Tighten the cable adjuster with a wrench until the parking brake holds.

Reinstall the wheels, and raise the vehicle off the jack stands using the floor jack. Lower the jack and re-tighten the lug nuts one final time.

Items you will need

  • Wheel chocks

  • Floor jack

  • Jack stands

  • Lug wrench

  • Allen wrench set

  • Metric wrench set

 How to Adjust the Emergency Brake in Chevy Cavaliers

Lift up on the parking brake lever five notches. Put wheel chocks in front of and behind the front wheels.

Put the jack under the rear of the car and raise it up. Slide the jack stands under the vehicle next to each of the rear wheels.

Find the threaded rod that houses the parking brake cable under the vehicle. On this rod is the adjustment nut. Tighten the adjustment nut with a wrench.

Test the left rear wheel by turning it backwards. It should take both hands and be difficult to turn it backwards and then the wheel should lock when you turn it forward.

Disengage the parking brake and check to see that both rear wheels spin freely.

Raise the vehicle, remove the jack stands, lower the vehicle to the ground and remove the wheel chocks.

Items you will need

  • 4 wheel chocks

  • Jack

  • 2 jack stands

  • Wrench set

About the Author

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