How to Release the Parking Brake Before Putting the Car into Drive

by Meg Hooper
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The parking brake, or emergency brake, is an important fail safe. It keeps your automobile from rolling down a hill or into the road while parked. The parking brake is often a hand-operated lever on the floor next to the driver's seat, a pull handle located under or near the steering column or a foot-operated pedal. Remember to release the parking brake before putting the car into drive or you could overheat your brake pads.

Step 1

Get into the driver's seat and buckle up.

Step 2

Identify the type of emergency brake system in your car. Look for a hand brake on the side of the driver's seat, a lever under the steering column or a push pedal near the left foot, usually where a clutch would be on a manual transmission.

Step 3

Start the car. With the car still in park, put your foot on the brake that is used while driving and hold it down.

Step 4

Release the emergency brake. If your car has a handle near the driver's seat, the lever most likely will have a button that needs to be pushed in while moving the lever down. If your car has a pull handle, pull it toward you until you hear and feel the brake release. If your car has a push-pedal system, push down and release the pedal. You should feel the brake release.

Step 5

Put the car into drive and release the driving brake. If you have released the parking brake correctly, the car should roll forward or backward easily with little or no gas.

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