Luckily, I drove slowly, about 20-40km/h. When I reached home, I realised that I did not release my handbrake. Will there be a big problem?

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    If you did, you'd be joining the millions of who do this every single year!
    – gdw2
    Jul 15, 2015 at 17:45
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    Did you go in reverse? Drum brakes put much more wear when you go in reverse with the e-brake (handbrake) on. Jul 15, 2015 at 17:49
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    @nallar that question is asking for a diagnosis of a specific symptom (burnt odor in one wheel) - this one hasn't even clarified if his wheels were locked.
    – Random832
    Jul 15, 2015 at 18:13

4 Answers 4


If the handbrake was on well enough to stop the rotation of a rear tire(s), you may have created a flat spot on them due to wear. If the tires were able to spin, either adjustment of the brakes need to occur, or possibly replacement of friction material may be needed. If enough heat or wear was generated, replacement of the rotor/drum may also be required.

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    I doubt it's possible to drive for 1 km with a blocked tire without hearing anything. Jul 15, 2015 at 15:17
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    @GuntramBlohm - While I agree it's implausible, I've seen it happen. If people are unaware their e-brake is on, they may be oblivious to that noise coming from the rear of the vehicle. Jul 15, 2015 at 15:26
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    @GuntramBlohm Been there, done that
    – Shobin P
    Jul 15, 2015 at 15:34
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    Add a good sound system, and its easy to drive for a long period with any number of sounds that you CAN'T hear.
    – WernerCD
    Jul 15, 2015 at 18:22

You may find that you have to replace your rear brake friction material sooner than you would otherwise have had to but there should be no adverse or lasting effects so don't worry.


Your rear brake should be pretty hot, but I can't see why anything permanent would have happened.

One time I drove home after having my brakes inspected, only to realise the idiot had adjusted my rear brakes in such a way that they never disengaged. I could feel the heat radiating from the rear-left drum. I waited for it to cool, then took it apart and readjusted. Three years later I've still not had a problem.


When I was young my mother drove from Vegas to Orange County CA with the handbrake engaged. As far as I know it never caused a problem, although she may have had it looked at later without me knowing--I was pretty young.

In general I'd say no problem if the handbrake still works but it wouldn't hurt to have a look for wear.

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