I've had my '97 civic for a little over a year now. Sometimes I park the car on an uphill road, pulling the handbrake right up, but when I get out, or get back in, the car still moves a bit, and i have to pull the handbrake even higher. How do I adjust this? thanks.

  • Does it have drum or disc brakes?
    – mikes
    Jan 31, 2014 at 13:02
  • I think the front and back is different hey, I've got closed rims wih hub caps over right now, I'll have to check when I get home Jan 31, 2014 at 13:39
  • discs all round Jun 6, 2017 at 10:57

1 Answer 1


There is an adjuster behind the handbrake lever - if you look on the back of the centre console there should be a small removable cover at floor level (I have a feeling this varies by trim level - you might have to remove the console completely), pop this off with a small screwdriver and you should see the adjuster behind it. It consists of a nut on a threaded rod coming from the lever, which moaves the balance bar, which in turn pulls on the two cables.

Before adjusting it, check that the balance bar is roughly even when the handbrake is applied - if it is pulling much more on one cable than the other, you may have a siezed mechanism on one side (it appears this is quite common on certain Civics of that era, particularly those with rear disc brakes).

Assuming it is even, you adjust the handbrake by tightening the nut on the adjuster. It is a trial and error process, I usually go for the following approach:

  • Chock the front wheels and put the car in gear.
  • Jack up the rear of the car and support it.
  • Release the handbrake, adjust it by 2-3 flats (i.e. 1/3 to 1/2 a turn)
  • Apply the handbrake 3-4 clicks, try to turn the rear wheels by hand.
  • Repeat the last two steps until you just can't turn the wheels with the handbrake applied, and they turn freely with it released.

If you do have a siezed mechanism, I'll post the method I used to un-stick mine...

  • thanks, will try this when I get home. . .I hope I don't break the clips behind the console though Jan 31, 2014 at 13:31

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