The short answer is that the emergency brake repair cost can range from $10 to $600. The price range varies only by labor cost.
The emergency brake is used to keep the vehicle in a stationary position when parked, so the car does not slide or lean.
Similar to any mechanical system, the emergency brake might need repair if they got damaged by wear and tear. However, you might not need to repair it unless your vehicle is ten years old or has more than 145,000 mileage.
It is not very common to look for emergency brake repair costs since they do not need repair very often.
The emergency brake system is made to handle a tremendous amount of tension. However, depending on the driving habits, the environment you are driving in, the emergency brake cable might stretch. As a result, the cable might need to be adjusted or replaced to do its job efficiently.
Before talking about the costs of emergency brake repair, it is crucial to understand how does the emergency brake system work, what are the symptoms of lousy emergency brakes? Is it possible to fix the emergency brake on your own? And how much will it cost you if you repair your emergency brake system at an auto repair shop or a dealership?
How does the emergency brake cable work?
The emergency brake, or what is sometimes called the “parking brake” is not the primary brakes that you tap with your foot. From what the name is indicating, it is an “emergency” brake. In other words, it is a hydraulic system that is only used to stop your vehicle if the primary brakes have some problems.
In addition to stopping your vehicle in emergencies, the emergency brake is responsible for keeping your car in the same position when parked, so the car does not slip or lean.
That been said, the emergency brakes have a significant job when it comes to your safety. It is entirely UNSAFE to drive a faulty emergency brake vehicle.
The emergency brake system consists of the main cable that is connected to two wheels in your vehicle, usually the rear wheels.
There are two common types of emergency brake systems: a hand operating lever or a foot operating pedal.
Symptoms of lousy emergency brake?
As we mentioned earlier, we must not drive your vehicle if it has issues with the emergency brake system. The question is how to know that you have a problem with your emergency brake?
There are common symptoms you need to pay attention to when you are using your emergency breaks, or when you are testing them, including:
The parking brake is not holding the vehicle in place
The primary job of the emergency brake is to make sure that your vehicle does not move when parked.
If you feel that the parking brake is not doing its job or the car is moving when parked, this is a clear indication of a faulty emergency brake system. You need to stop driving the vehicle and mark it as out of service immediately.
This symptom can be more apparent when you are parked on the inclined surface.
The parking brake is not functioning
If you tried to engage the parking brake and you do not see any results, this indicates that there is a significant issue in your emergency brake system. Again, you must get the emergency brake functioning well before driving this vehicle.
The parking brake light is illuminating
It is an excellent habit to keep an eye on any warning lights on your vehicle’s board, whether it is related to emergency brakes, engine, or any other part of the car.
These warning lights are meant to give you a “warning” that there is something wrong going on with your vehicle. It is better to take care of the warnings promptly for your safety and to avoid future high repair costs.
Similar to any other warning, the parking brake warning light is a clear indication of a problem in your emergency parking brake. You need to get it fixed immediately.
While these are the most common symptoms of the faulty emergency brake system, other signs can give you red flags about the functionality of your emergency brake system including:
- It feels very easy or very hard to apply the emergency brakes
- The parking brakes were holding only one wheel when it supposed to keep two wheels.
- The parking brake is holding the vehicle only on flat surfaces but not on inclined surfaces
- There is noise coming from the emergency brake system when engaging it.
Is it OK to drive my vehicle when there is a problem with the emergency brake?
The emergency brake’s job has to do with your safety. While it will not prevent the vehicle from running, it can significantly threaten your life.
Imagine if you had a sudden problem in your primary brakes when speeding on a highway. If you do not have the emergency brake functioning properly, you will risk your life to get involved in significant accidents.
Therefore, if you know for sure that you have a problem in your emergency brake, you have to stop driving this vehicle and request a repair immediately. If you attempt to fix the problem in your emergency brake, make sure to use a sturdy piece of material to keep the vehicle in place. This material can be a simple piece of block or wood.
How often should I replace my emergency brake?
Usually, you do not need to worry about changing your vehicle’s emergency brake as it is made with excellent material to help it does its job appropriately.
However, over time and as any mechanical system, tear and wear can stretch the main brake cable in the emergency brake system.
Besides, in some harsh environments, you might need to replace the emergency brake cable more often. For example, if you are driving in a cold climate where you drive a lot on icy streets that are filled with salt, you might need to replace the emergency brakes more often. The salt on the roads can fasten the tear and wear and can help rust the emergency brake system faster.
The bottom line, most vehicles will not need to replace the emergency brake cable. Vehicles 10 years and older or with 145,000 mileage will start needing to replace the emergency cable.
How much does emergency brake repair costs?
For pricing any mechanical repair in the automobile world, the cost is divided into parts costs and labor costs.
Emergency brake repair is one of the maintenances that you can do on your own to save tons of money on labor costs.
In general, the price of the emergency brake cable is meager. It ranges from $18 to $20 for the parts only
The biggest driver in emergency brake repair cost is the labor cost. The emergency brake cable can cost from $18 to $20 on parts only. However, you pay much more on labor costs depending on where you will get the replacement done at. For example, the labor cost for replacing an emergency brake cable can get up to $600 at dealerships.
Also, the price of replacing your emergency brake cable can vary by car make, model, and year. For example, here are expected costs to return the emergency brake cable for different vehicles at a dealership:
- Ford F-150 ranges from $234 to $275
- Toyota Camry ranges from $208 to $250
- Chevrolet Silverado 1500 ranges from $243 to $286
- Honda Accord ranges from $298 to $355
- Honda Civic ranges from $284 to $343
- Toyota Corolla ranges from $228 to $279
- Nissan Altima ranges from $444 to $511
- Ford Explorer ranges from $319 to $371
Usually, emergency cable replacement can be associated with other replacements. For example, you might need to replace the brake pads, which can cost from $328 to $373 at a dealership. Besides, you might need to replace the brake shoes, which can cost from $344 to $403 in a dealership.
Therefore, if you want to get your emergency brake cable replaced, consider only that the only thing you need to be careful with is the labor cost. If you have some mechanical experience, it is recommended that you replace it on your own. However, if you don’t have any mechanical knowledge, you might need to get it repaired at a local auto shop, not at a dealership, to save on labor costs.
Step-by-step on how to replace your vehicle’s emergency brake cable
If you decided to save on labor cost and get the emergency brake cable replaced on your own, here are the recommended tools, vehicle preparation and steps to get the job done:
Tools and equipment
There are specific tools you need to prepare before starting to replace the emergency brake cable process. These tools include:
- Brake retractor set
- Brake service toolset
- Drum brake toolset
- Floor jack and jack stand
- Gloves and safety glasses
- Wrenches (lug & torque)
- Mechanic toolset
- Brand new emergency brake cable
- Pushpin pliers
- Your vehicle’s service manual
- Wheel chocks
Replacing the emergency brake cable for your vehicle requires specific vehicle preparation before starting the job including:
- Make sure that the car is parked securely and it is not moving or slipping
- Find the location of your emergency brakes. It is usually inside the vehicle, alongside or under the vehicle’s body
- Raise the car from the ground using the jack and make sure to rest it on the jack stands before sliding under it to start the job.
- If you had engaged the parking brakes when you parked, it is not the time to release it.
- Once you located the emergency brake cable, disconnect it from the body of the vehicle. Sometimes the wires are further connected with brackets or guides, make sure to disconnect those as well.
- Disconnect the parking brakes from the brake mechanic side. It is a good idea to pull the emergency brake cable, lay it on a flat surface alongside the new cable to confirm that you brought the correct one.
- It is recommended that you spray the new emergency brake cable with a rust preventing or silicone lubricant to lengthen the lifespan of the cable.
- Once you confirmed that you got the correct emergency brake cable, it is the time to install it in the reverse order process of how you disconnected it. It is also recommended that you review the vehicle’s owner’s manual to confirm that you are following the correct steps to install the emergency brake cable.
- Put the wheel back to its position. Make sure to spin the fasteners either by hand or by socket set if you have one.
- Use the jack to lower the vehicle till the wheels just start reaching the ground
- Now it is time to test the new emergency brakes. If you feel that they are working well, you are all set and ready to drive your vehicle!
The emergency brake system is not the primary brakes that you tap with your foot to stop the vehicle. It is a first brake designed to keep the car in place when parked or to stop your vehicle if the primary brakes had problems.
It is not very common to repair your vehicle’s emergency brakes; however, if your car is ten years and older or it has more than 145,000 miles, it might be the time to repair it.
In repairing the emergency brakes, it is mostly the emergency brake cable needed to be replaced due to wear and tear.
Replacing the emergency brake cable can cost you from $18 if you want to do it on your own to $400 if you got it repaired at a dealership.
It is recommended that if you have the required mechanical skills to replace your emergency brake cable on your own to cut tons of repair cost money.