parking brake engaging on one side only

Parking Brake Engaging On One Side Only? [Causes & Fixes]

Do you feel your vehicle’s parking brake engages only on one side? This can be a critical issue if you don’t treat it promptly. In this article, we will provide you with causes and what you should do when the handbrake only works on one side. Let’s start. 

How to Know Hand Brake is Engaging Only on One Side?

One-sided handbrake engagement often feels uneven and may lead to a noticeable pull or drift to one side when the brake is applied. The vehicle might not stay stationary, especially on an incline, and there could be a sensation of reduced braking effectiveness.

Additionally, there may be audible signs such as scraping or grinding noises. If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s crucial to promptly diagnose and address the issue to ensure proper functioning of the handbrake system and overall vehicle safety.

Why Is My Parking Brake Engaging on One Side Only? 

Uneven wear of brake components, cable tension issues, misalignment or seizure of brake mechanism, corrosion or damage, and improper installation or adjustment can cause the parking brake to engage only on one side. Let’s talk about these factors a wee bit.

Uneven Wear of Brake Components

If the brake pads, shoes, or rotors/drums are worn unevenly, it can lead to one side engaging more than the other. Such uneven wear can be caused by driving habits or when you neglect regular maintenance.

Cable Tension Issues

The parking brake of a vehicle operates through a cable system. If one of the cables is more stretched or loose than the other, it can result in uneven engagement.

Misalignment or Seizure of Brake Mechanism

The components of the parking brake mechanism may become misaligned or seize over time. This could particularly happen if your vehicle is not regularly driven or your brake is seldom used.

Corrosion or Damage

If you expose the components to elements like water and salt, it can lead to corrosion or damage the brake cables and mechanism. 

Improper Installation or Adjustment

If you recently serviced or adjusted the parking brake system, improper installation or adjustment can cause one-sided parking brake engagement.

How to Fix Parking Brake Engaging Only On One Side?

Here is how to fix one-sided handbrake engagement.

Adjusting or Replacing Brake Cables

If the problem is due to any stretched or damaged cables, why not try adjusting them for you to have equal tension or replacing them if they are worn out in order to resolve the issue?

Evening Out Brake Wear

Replace the worn brake components like pads, shoes, or discs/drums. Always make sure that you have replaced in pairs (both sides) to maintain the even wear and performance.

Correcting Misalignment

Check the alignment of the parking brake mechanism. Misalignment can lead to uneven engagement and this in order requires professional adjustment or realignment.

Lubrication and Cleaning

Lubricate the moving parts such as the levers and springs to ensure smooth operation is vibrant. Clean any rust or corrosion, that can hinder the proper function of the parking brake system.

Balancing Brake Mechanism Tension

In some of the vehicle braking systems, tension springs may need adjustment to ensure equal force which could be applied on both sides.

Professional Inspection and Repair

For complex systems, especially electronic parking brakes, professional inspection and repair are recommended. Such inspection can accurately diagnose and fix the issues that are not apparent to an untrained eye.

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