If a 2-2.5 (between two and two-and-a-half) ton saloon car:

  • is manual
  • between 7-15 years old
  • parked on an incline of around 20-30 degrees
  • for roughly 8 hours a day
  • 5 days a week

What can the expected damage/wear (if any) on the handbrake be?

Assume that the handbrake is handled normally and not "yanked" up each time.


Once any cabling has stretched to its full amount, there will be no ill effect. The handbrake on your vehicle has been designed to cope with its weight. A extra precaution you can do, if only for peace of mind is: Leave the vehicle in gear; turn the steering to point at the pavement(sidewalk) and apply the handbrake.

  • 5
    You may want to modify your answer slightly ... typical thought on direction of wheel when parked on a incline is dependent upon the direction the vehicle is pointing (uphill/downhill). If uphill, you should point your tires away from the curb. If downhill, you should point your tires towards the curb. You do this so if the vehicle starts rolling, the tire will rub the curb sooner so as to hopefully stop the rolling sooner (mass in motion applies here). I'm sure that's what you meant to say, so am hopefully helping you clarify. Oct 8 '14 at 21:04
  • If the car were to fail on the handbrake and was parked as I suggested: Pointing up hill - the car will roll back and be held by the rear wheels against the kerb, pointing down hill the car will be held by the front wheels against the kerb. Any mass of the vehicle will have a mechanical disadvantage minimised by the transmission being in gear. Oct 9 '14 at 18:42
  • 1
    I'm sorry you feel this common knowledge is wrong. I take it you have never dealt with this type of situation before. If the incline is sufficient, no amount of engine compression is going to stop a vehicle from rolling. If you are pointing uphill and you point the tires toward the curb, if the brakes fail, the front end of the vehicle will move away from the curb and possibly put it out into traffic (the front end). What I'm suggesting will stop the vehicle before momentum can even build. Oct 9 '14 at 22:58
  • Your making up as you go along. Oct 10 '14 at 19:45

There is exactly the same amount of wear on the handbrake mechanism when you pull it on regardless of the weight of car and the incline. That wear only depends how hard you pull it on.

If the vehicle moves on the hill the shoes will wear a little but insignificant compared to normal breaking.

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