The rear wheels on our '07 Hyundai Accent hatchback have locked up.

This morning we got in the car, and when my girlfriend took off the parking break there was a strange thunk. As we began to drive forward it was clear that neither of the rear wheels were turning. The car has been parked on a bit of a slope for 7-9 days, but was working fine previously.

After chatting with some folks today, they recommended "backing up quickly and slamming on the breaks." I came home and gave it a try. As soon as I drove forward ~4' the right wheel began turning freely again. I turned the car around, backing quickly downhill about 25' then slamming on the breaks. I did that 3-4 times without freeing up the left rear wheel.

Can anyone guess what is going on? We've never had this happen before. I'm curious what's going on and whether it's something that a resourceful DIYer can fix?

  • Sometimes the rear pads or shoes become bonded (corroded) to the brake rotor/drum when left engaged for a week or more. I have also seen this with clutch discs.
    – Moab
    May 6, 2018 at 16:57
  • @Moab How do you free them?
    – doub1ejack
    May 7, 2018 at 15:55

1 Answer 1


A likely cause is one, two or all three park brake cables are frozen in place by rust. When the brake is applied you have the huge mechanical advantage of the hand lever or foot pedal. You can over come the rusted cable and actuate the brake pads or shoes. Releasing the brake relies on some fairly small springs to release the cable tension. I have had luck freeing them up by clamping a pair of "Vice-Grips" on to the cable. This must be on the cable an inch or two before outer housing. Then tap on the "Vice-Grips" with a hammer. The idea is to release the tension by driving the cable into the housing take the tension off the brake shoe actuator. This only a temporary fix as it will likely stick the next time the park brake is used.

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