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What will you do if your emergency brakes fail?

Buy the wrong emergency brake cable and that car you love could end up in the junkyard, too.

Buy the wrong emergency brake cable and that car you love could end up in the junkyard, too.


It’s comforting to know that the brakes in your vehicle are fairly reliable. Car brakes don’t fail often. However, it’s still possible; it still happens, from time to time.

That select group of people who have brakes fail on their cars are the only ones among us who will really know if their emergency brakes will work. Emergency brakes are a redundant method of applying the brakes. They’re used as parking brakes, though less frequently than ever, and they’re used as emergency brakes. While they may work as parking brakes that’s not a guarantee that they’ll work properly in an emergency.

All of this brings up the pertinent question, “What will you do if your emergency brakes fail?” The question suggests that, at the time that your emergency brakes fail, you’ll be having an emergency because your standard brakes failed; you’ve fallen back on the redundant brake system to ensure the safety of yourself and your family, if they happen to be in the vehicle at the time.

A car’s brakes fail almost exclusively when the vehicle is in motion. The car could be traveling at a moderate speed of 20 mph or at a highway speed of 65 or 70 mph. If you’re inclined to challenge the limits of the vehicle’s speed, and the likelihood that local police officers will catch you in the act, you might even have your brakes fail while you’re traveling at a much higher rate of speed – say 100 mph or more.

When your brakes fail there are two imperative decisions you need to make: 1) can you steer clear of other cars, pedestrians, trees or other structures and, 2) what can you do to bring the vehicle to a stop. This is where the emergency brake comes into play.

There are two methods of applying a car’s emergency brakes. One method involves applying a pedal found on the left below the dashboard. The other method is to pull the lever that you’ll find in between the driver and passenger seats. In either instance, you should probably do this, if your brakes have failed, as quickly as possible.

If you’re emergency brakes work as intended, the car will begin braking immediately. When you’ve depressed the pedal, or pulled the lever, an attached cable pulls a lever that engages the brakes. Hopefully, you’ll do this with sufficient speed that you have time to stop before making contact with whatever is in front of you – if the emergency brakes work as intended.

There are generally two problems that could occur, at this point, to spoil your effort to use your emergency brake to stop the vehicle. One problem is that the cable could stretch. Believe it or not, the emergency brake cable can stretch – if inferior material was used to make the cable. The other problem is that the cable can break.

When a cable breaks, this usually happens where the cable is connected to fittings that attach to the levers. If the cable stretches, the car probably just won’t stop as quickly. If the emergency cable breaks … well, that’s a problem. If the emergency brake cable fails you’ll stop when the vehicle runs out of momentum or runs into something that doesn’t want to move out of the way.

What all this comes down to is this; auto manufacturers continue to build emergency brake system into their vehicles because they know that, reliable or not, a car’s brakes can fail. If you’re going to have an emergency brake system in a vehicle, what’s the point if you can’t count on it to actually work in an emergency.

Fortunately, there are American made emergency brake cables that are proven to work in emergencies. The company selling these quality brake cables is Bruin Brake Cables of Fox Lake, IL. You can purchase their brake cables online at ebay (click here). The alternative are imported brake cables that are proven highly unreliable. If you purchase your emergency brake cable from an auto parts store, you’re purchasing an imported brake cable. The only place to get a reliable emergency brake cable is to order it online from Bruin.