How to Attach Emergency Brake Cables?

Driving with a bad emergency brake system can damage your vehicle even more. | Source: Kevin Smith Youtube channel

The emergency brake, also known as a parking brake, has a series of steel cables called emergency brake cables that control the rear brakes. If the car’s main braking system fails, emergency braking may be your last option.

Emergency braking is necessary to put the car in place when parked on an up or downhill slope. This will give a stronger hold to your car and keep it from rolling away.

Rust is your emergency brake cable’s biggest enemy. It builds up if the car is left unused for extended periods of time and causes the cables to get stuck in place, making the brakes hard to engage. Driving a car with a bad emergency brake system could be damaging to other related parts and could result in more repair costs for you in the future.

The good news is you can actually do an emergency brake repair on your own if yours is already bad. Here’s how to change emergency brake cables:

Aside from wearing protective gear such as safety glasses and gloves, you will need the following tools during repair:

  • Brake service retractor set
  • Brake service tool set
  • Drum brake service tool set
  • Floor jack
  • Jack stands
  • Lug wrench
  • Parking brake cable release tool
  • Push pin pliers
  • Torque wrench

Emergency brake repair varies depending on your vehicle so always refer to the vehicle’s service manual. Visit JC Whitney for high-quality replacement emergency brake cables:

Step 1: Secure the vehicle on an even surface and chock it to prevent from moving away.

Step 2: Engage the emergency brake.

Step 3: Disconnect the rear emergency brake cable and front cable from the equalizer bar and mark the cables connected to the chassis.

Step 4: Remove other supporting fasteners from the vehicle’s body to access the bottom part of the wheel assembly.

Step 5: Disconnect the front cable from the pivot hole enabling you to remove the front cable from the wheel assembly.

Raise and support your vehicle using a jack stand. | Source: Engineering Explained

Step 6: Raise the vehicle and use jack stands to support it, then remove the wheel and tire.

Step 7: Remove the brake drum from the wheel hub to access the wheel drum assembly. Pull out the disc brake and caliper from the rear disc brake assembly

Step 8: Disconnect the emergency brake cable from the lever attached to the brake shoe on the wheel side of the backing plate then pull the emergency brake cable through it.

Installing emergency brake cables through the backing plate | Source: Mustang and Fords

Step 9: Get the new cables and install them by sliding the rear cable through the backing plate then attach them to the emergency brake lever.

Step 10: Put the brake drum and brake disc assembly back to their original location. Attach the wheel and tire.

Step 11: Lower the vehicle and torque the lug nuts to 100 ft. lbs.

Step 12: Connect the rear cables to the equalizer and properly route them to the chassis. Connect the front cable to the equalizer after.

Step 13: Place the parking brake in its original position and remove the pin from the parking brake control assembly.

Step 14: Engage and disengage the parking brake a few times to ensure it catches.

Check out this video guide on how to replace emergency brake cables:

Author: JC Whitney

JC Whitney is the largest and oldest catalog and Internet direct-to-consumer auto parts and accessories retailer in America. Since 1915, JC Whitney has been filling the needs of customers by providing the right part at the best price. You can always shop with confidence at

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