Car Mechanics (UK)
Bad brake adjustment
► Some motorists are extremely fussy about the amount of travel on a vehicle’s handbrake, often believing that a shorter travel equals a better brake. This is not always the case. Very often insufficient handbrake travel can prevent the self-adjuster mechanism in the rear brakes from working correctly. This is applicable to both disc and drum rear brakes.
The owner of this 2006 Vauxhall Corsa had taken to adjusting up the handbrake himself by tightening the adjustment at the lever end. This gave him the desired short travel, but he was still unhappy with the operation of the handbrake. When the car came in for its annual service, he asked us to make sure the handbrake was adjusted correctly.
When removing the rear brake drums, we discovered that he had wound up the brake cable so tightly that the handbrake levers on the brake shoes were not returning correctly to the ‘off’ position. This meant the brake shoe’s self-adjusting mechanism was not operating, leaving both the footbrake and handbrake out of adjustment. With the handbrake cable slackened and the rear brakes adjusted correctly, the Corsa not only had a good handbrake, but a better footbrake.