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The parking brake cable is a thin, steel cable that connects the parking brake lever to the parking brake shoes. It is located underneath the car. When you pull the lever, this cable enables the parking brake shoes to press against the rotor or the drum, creating the friction that keeps the car from rolling. It is just like using the brake pedal, but in this case, you are using the parking brake cable instead of brake fluids to apply the pressure. Over time the cable can rust and break. If the parking brake cable is broken, the car will roll even when the parking brake has been engaged.
The brake drums or pads often need to be removed to access the emergency brake cable. During this time, the drums and pads should be inspected to see if they also need to be replaced.
Always apply the parking brake when the car is parked. This will keep the parking brake adjusted properly. Your mechanic should inspect the parking brake cable during every brake service. They should also periodically spray rust penetrant chemical on the cable to prevent rust from building up.
All services associated with proper function of your brakes are important. In addition to safety issues, ignoring small repairs can quickly lead to more serious (and more expensive) problems.
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