I always pull my handbrake up as high as it will go when I am parked (I put the button in and yank it pretty hard, until it won't go up anymore)

It is easy to remove again.

My friend says this damages it, however I disagree with this, and hence this question! They pull it up to about 3/4 of the way

2003 Opel Agila

Am I damaging my handbrake by pulling it up all the way?

  • 5
    I think in many cars, how high it will go depends on how strong you are. Jul 29, 2015 at 0:33

4 Answers 4


All you might be doing is putting the cable under more stress than it needs. The cable will stretch over time. This is normal. It will take a long time for the life of the cable to expire.

I remember learning that automobiles automatically adjust for this stretch whenever you back up.

Basically, don't hammer the thing unless you really feel you need to.

Try pulling it while pressing the button and while the car is in drive and use the e-brake to stop the car. Don't give it throttle but let it just move forward at idle and see exactly how much braking power your e-brake has. Then you'll know exactly how far up you must pull.


The cable may loose over time, so you'll have to adjust it. Pull it all the way if you're parked on slope.


Cars that still have drum brakes on the rear will automatically adjust the shoes when backing up. I don't know of any automatically adjusting brake cable mechanism.

Pulling harder than needed to hold the car in place just stretches the cable; used properly, it should probably never have to be adjusted, but keep stretching it and eventually you'll have to adjust it to get it to do anything useful at all.

Common wisdom in Miata circles seems to be if you have to pull it up more than 5-6 clicks, you should adjust the cable.

  • That's what I remembered about automatically adjusting.
    – gh0st
    Jul 29, 2015 at 17:12

Just pull it until it feels tight.

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