Handbrake Cables Handbrake Cables

Handbrake Cables

What are handbrake cables? (AKA parking brake cables)?

Handbrake cables, also known as parking brake or emergency brake cables are sheaved wire cables that connect the handbrake handle in the vehicle cabin to the parking brake mechanism of the vehicle. Electric parking brake systems also have cables but they are controlled by a motor rather than a handle or lever.

How do I choose the correct handbrake cables?

Choosing the correct replacement cables can be tricky as, depending on the vehicle type there can be different brake systems installed that affect which part would be correct. It is good to take note if there are compatibility notes listed next to a part that is shown as correct for your vehicle. These may include:

  • Front or rear disc brakes

  • Vehicle has ABS or traction control

  • Manual or automatic transmission

  • Hand, foot or electrically operated

  • Is the handle in the centre or to the outer side of the passenger cabin

  • Vehicle manufacture date (this is not the date the vehicle was registered but the date it was made)

  • Engine number sequence (up to or after as specific number/letter)

  • VIN (chassis number) sequence (up to or after as specific number/letter)

What brand of handbrake cables should I choose?

Brands such as Bosch and TRW make parts for the original vehicle manufacturer so they would be considered a premium brand. In many cases the cost of a replacement part is an important consideration when selecting a replacement. A reputation for quality and reliability is also important. Aftermarket brands such as Blue Print, Borg & Beck, Quinton Hazell and Apec all offer long warranties that indicate the quality of their products.

How can I tell my handbrake cables need replacing?

In some cases it is quite obvious that the handbrake cables are faulty, stretched or damaged however if you are not sure we would recommend that you have your vehicle inspected by a qualified mechanic to receive an accurate diagnosis. Some of the symptoms of a failing or damaged cables are:

  • Handbrake will not fully engage or disengage

  • Handbrake handle over extends

  • Handbrake does not hold the vehicle stationary

  • Handbrake operation feels tighter than usual

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