This happened a couple times many years ago, but I just can't remember the resolution.

Basically if you incredible-hulk the handbrake on the Mazda3, it "pops out" to this overly upward position and won't go back down. Has anyone else had this experience? What was the remedy if so? Thank you

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    Welcome to Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair! Sounds like the cable busted and would need replaced. There are three cables which make up the system: one from the hand lever going back to two which then separate and go back to the braking mechanism. Any one of these could have let loose. Sep 6, 2021 at 1:52

2 Answers 2


Yup. I have an '08 manual transmission Mazda3 and the parking brake handle broke inside. I took the whole thing apart, but no really good way to fix it. The good news, is that it was readily available from the local salvage yard. Because my driveway is sloped, I really need a parking brake.

Note, I took the old one off first. That showed me where all the tricks are, and special tools required for the removal. (at my local yard, you remove the parts yourself.)

Really easy job. And because many folks with automatic transmissions don't often use the parking brake, the replacement had very little wear.

Somewhere I have photos, if I can just find them...

remove handle

Steel Guts to Parking Brake Handle

Plastic Push Button to Parking Brake Handle

Sorry there isn't a clear image of exactly what broke. It was the long plastic rod. I don't remember exactly what caused it. In an emergency it might have been possible to patch it up, but my local salvage yard typically charges like 5% to 10% of retail for stuff like this. In fact, the replacement handle came with the low gloss, matt chrome finish, same as the rest of the finish in the car. That shiny chrome parking brake button on the old handle was the only thing in the car that didn't match the rest of the trim on the instrument panel. That always bugged me. ha. All fixed.

As I look at the photos... Take the whole assembly out of the car first. You can disassemble the thing by just pulling the 'rubber' handle off the shaft. You don't need to depress anything. Mount the base in your vise and pull hard. After that you can remove the rubber boot, and see exactly what has gone wrong.

  • Incredibly detailed and informative. Thank you! It will be many days before I have access to the car again and when I do I'll be watching for this
    – Malachi
    Sep 8, 2021 at 6:21

The ratchet assembly inside the handle engages the toothed arc. It is possible that the ratchet assembly has been moved beyond the toothed arc and rotated to the point where it cannot return. This happened to me with an ancient VW Beetle. The solution was to push the ratchet assembly back into position.

Of course, doing so requires disassembly to the point of accessing the ratchet assembly. Three or four hands may be required. One must pull up on the handle while depressing the release button. The ratchet assembly has to be forced into a position that matches "no-engagement" with the toothed arc and held there while the handle is lowered.

  • Thank you for the response! This rings a bell and may be what happened back all those years ago. When I have access to the car in a few days I am going to look for this as well as @zipzit's suggestion
    – Malachi
    Sep 8, 2021 at 6:22

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