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Old 21st March 2011, 12:28   #1
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Default Hand brake jammed up in my Alto

Hi all,

Today morning when I tried to take my car out of the parking, it refused to move a bit. It was as if the hand-brake was engaged though I had released the hand-brake. Finally with some extra throttle, I managed to take the car out to the road. And again, when I tried to move the car forward or backward, it was damn difficult - again as if the handbrake was engaged. I got down and checked the tires and all of them were in quite good condition.

I called up the mechanic who has a small shop just opposite to my house to check this. The first thing he asked me was whether I had washed the car and engaged the hand-brake. "Yes" was my reply - though it was just a manual exterior was and no under-chasis wash. He said that this should not be done as there is a high chance of hand-brake getting jammed (I mean.. you release the lever, but the actual braking functionality is still engaged).

Then he took my car and did some heavy/quick acceleration and sudden braking (with screeching sound) and the same while doing a reverse. After that the car seemed to be quite okay. He said that if the problem occurs again, then we will have to remove all the wheels and do a check.

I went back home, got ready to office and then started my car again. Found it a bit weird though it was not like the reluctance I felt initially in the morning - but a slight toughness (or is it just my mind?? ). I did not want to take any chances while coming to office and so parked the car and came to office by bike. I met the same mechanic again then and told this and he told it should be normal once you drive for some distance and if you still find it difficult, then we will have to remove all the tires and do a check.

Now fellow BHPians, want your advice here. What could have been the exact problem? Is the mechanic right in what he did and said? What am I to expect now?

And yeah. forgot to mention two things.
1. Yesterday while washing the car, quite some amount of water went through the grille near the wiper hinge (just below the windshield) into the engine area.
2. After washing, I parked my car inside my house. To get the car into the porch, I will have to climb a small ramp. Since I did a left turn into the ramp, the rear left wheel came off the ground level and the car tilted mildly to right (not precariously at all) for a moment till the car aligned itself to the ramp. Hope I have made it clear enough so that you could visualize it.

Not sure if any of these things would have resulted in this brake-jam though.

Thanks in advance!!
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Old 21st March 2011, 14:33   #2
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Default Re: Hand brake jammed up in my Alto

Hi I have expericnce the same on my alto 04 many a times .Now what I do is either I do not engage the parking brake overnight or not all the way up when I park outside . This has solved my problem .As the hand brake only connects to the rear wheels when you wash the car you might get get jammed brakes (drums) if car not used for some time after washing .
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Old 21st March 2011, 14:50   #3
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Default Re: Hand brake jammed up in my Alto

The same has been discussed already. This at times happens when the hand brake in engaged while washing.
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Old 21st March 2011, 19:17   #4
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Default Re: Hand brake jammed up in my Alto

This is a carried over problem from the Maruti 800 to the Alto.The handbrake engages the brakepads of the two rear wheels which have drum brakes. Due to low usage and almost no maintenance, the brake cable refuses to disengage though the lever shows that the brake is disengaged. However the brake warning light on the dash should be on in such cases.This is less dependent on whether you wash the car or not.
The handbrake mechanism should be improvised by MSIL, as most of the lakhs of cars they roll out have such an inherent problem.
I had this problem when my 800 was about 5-6 years old in 1993. The hand brake was engaged and the same problem happened.I drove and the accelerator felt heavy.While reaching the destination there was a rattling sound from the rear right wheel. Luckily I had reached my destination.The engine temperature was high.The heat was also felt within the rear wheel drum.The car refused to move forward due to the rear right wheel getting jammed.However it moved quite freely on the reverse gear and the revving of the engine was excellent.I drove the car on reverse gear for about 1 km to a friend's house and got it parked there for the night.
A real life joke here: As I was driving the car on its reverse gear, almost on the middle of the road, one Sardarji who was coming from the opposite direction on a black Kinetic Honda fumbled and it was clear that he was guessing as to whether he will pass my car from the left or right side? He got a bit confused as the car was moving in reverse gear!
The next morning, I brought the mechanic who opened the rear wheel upto its disc. There it was! The brake pads of the rear right wheel had broken due to excessive pressure and had got settled within the tiny space within the drum.A new set of brake pads were fitted the two rear wheels. I was shown the brake wire within the covered cable (handbrake) that was rusted and jammed. This was also changed. How can a badly rusted brake wire move freely within the cable?
I vowed thereafter never to engage the handbrake unless there was real emergency.
I would suggest you to get the two rear wheels opened and check the brake pads for wear and jamming. Replace the hand brake cable if its rusted.

Last edited by anjan_c2007 : 21st March 2011 at 19:37.
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Old 17th October 2011, 15:11   #5
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Default Re: Hand brake jammed up in my Alto

Washed my car ( Punto MJD ) on Sunday from the local garage and engaged the handbrake after parking her.

Today morning car had difficulty moving forward. Engaged and disengaged the handbrake a few times and the "jam" went away.

What is more preferable and recommended - parking in gear or using the handbrake ?
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Old 17th October 2011, 17:29   #6
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Default Re: Hand brake jammed up in my Alto

Quote:
Originally Posted by sdp1975 View Post
What is more preferable and recommended - parking in gear or using the handbrake ?
Right after a wash - slotting the car in a gear is the best bet. Engage the handbrake and chances are, they'll be jammed later.
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Old 17th October 2011, 17:43   #7
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Default Re: Hand brake jammed up in my Alto

This problem is not confined to Maruti's alone. I've faced similar issues with the Accent and Santro. The service people are now advising against using the handbrake at all, while parking for some period of time, especially during rainy seasons.

Needless to say, always put your car in gear while washing.
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Old 3rd April 2017, 23:53   #8
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Default Re: Hand brake jammed up in my Honda Brio

I also faced this issue in my Honda brio. Tried engaging and releasing the hand brake lever multiple times, but the brake was not getting released properly. Then I tried to move the car forward and reverse and after couple of attempts, the brakes got released to an extend. But still I feel there is some friction left.

I am taking the vehicle to a nearby mechanic tomorrow to disassemble the hand brake system and see whats going on. I shall update on the progress.
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Old 4th April 2017, 17:53   #9
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Default Re: Hand brake jammed up in my Honda Brio

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Originally Posted by Cruiser_D View Post
I also faced this issue in my Honda brio. Tried engaging and releasing the hand brake lever multiple times, but the brake was not getting released properly. Then I tried to move the car forward and reverse and after couple of attempts, the brakes got released to an extend. But still I feel there is some friction left.

I am taking the vehicle to a nearby mechanic tomorrow to disassemble the hand brake system and see whats going on. I shall update on the progress.
To make the hand brakes such niggle free, we need to get it serviced regularly. The cable needs to be lubricated an checked. The brake pads, engagement mechanisms need to be checked and serviced at regular intervals.

The hand brake if jammed, can be awful and can cause nightmares to the user.
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Old 4th April 2017, 22:59   #10
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Default Re: Hand brake jammed up in my Honda Brio

Quote:
Originally Posted by anjan_c2007 View Post
To make the hand brakes such niggle free, we need to get it serviced regularly. The cable needs to be lubricated an checked. The brake pads, engagement mechanisms need to be checked and serviced at regular intervals.

The hand brake if jammed, can be awful and can cause nightmares to the user.
Not sure whether this is being done during regular service shcedules. In my case, the car is 5 years old and lubrication was done only once, few months back when I faced this issue for the first time.

Today I took the car for service and disassembled the units. The right side rear wheel brakeshoes were in semi engaged state while the left side one was behaving normally. Also found out a minor leak in the right side wheel cylinder.

So have to change the brake lever assembly as well as one wheel cylinder!
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Old 5th April 2017, 02:31   #11
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Default Re: Hand brake jammed up in my Alto

The main reason behind the drum brakes getting jammed is because of the rusted springs and metal parts, which don't allow the brake shoes to retract fully, even if the handbrake lever has been released.

Hand brake jammed up in my Alto-dscf5451.jpg

This can be prevented to some extent by cleaning the brake drums/ paying attention once every year during the paid service. It is also recommended not to apply handbrake just after a drive in rains or a regular car wash.

If the drums get badly stuck, it can be fixed in most cases by removing the wheel, and gently hitting the brake drums in the area between the wheel studs. A visit to the mechanic is then recommended.
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Regards,
Shashi
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Old 5th April 2017, 16:15   #12
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Default Re: Hand brake jammed up in my Alto

Hammering on the brake drums should release the jammed brake shoes.

I make sure that I don't engage the hand brakes:
1. When I know my vehicle will be idle for more than a day, or
2. after a wash; or
3. after a drive through rains.

Avoid applying hand brakes during these conditions and you should be generally fine. In case of a jam which keeps engaging frequently, an overhaul might be required. The culprits generally are rusted spring with little pull back action left or the wheel cylinder with a jammed piston. Replacements of the said parts may be required to sort out frequent issues.

Regards,
Saket
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Old 6th April 2017, 23:15   #13
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Default Re: Hand brake jammed up in my Alto

I got the car back from service yesterday and finally the following parts were replaced.

Hand Brake assembly - Rs 3300/-
1x Wheel cylinder - Rs 1400
Idler bearing (engine) - Rs 1800/-
Labour - Rs 500

First two items were replaced due to commonly related issue (brakeshoes jammed) whereas the idler bearing was changed due to the noise observed especially during cold start. I was suspecting the AC compressor clutch bearing, but finally diagnosed the fault with idler pulley bearing.
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Old 10th April 2017, 12:34   #14
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Default Re: Hand brake jammed up in my Alto

I faced the same issue of jamming hand brakes after washing the car. I was literally panicked the first time, as the journey was an emergency one. Tried moving back and forth, nothing happened. Tried to move the car in 1st gear and the left wheel made a mark on the sand without getting rotated.

Poured some water on the rear wheels (specifically to the brake drum through the holes on wheel disc) and it worked. Same solution helped me a couple more times.
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Old 12th April 2017, 00:16   #15
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Default Re: Hand brake jammed up in my Alto

Quote:
Originally Posted by sujithsidhardha View Post
I faced the same issue of jamming hand brakes after washing the car. I was literally panicked the first time, as the journey was an emergency one. Tried moving back and forth, nothing happened. Tried to move the car in 1st gear and the left wheel made a mark on the sand without getting rotated.

Poured some water on the rear wheels (specifically to the brake drum through the holes on wheel disc) and it worked. Same solution helped me a couple more times.
Sujith, I think it is better to get it diassesmbled and lubricated if you have already faced this couple of times. The point is, slight jams might get unnoticed while driving, but could potentially lead to other parts failure like wheel cylinder.

Jack up the car and try rotating tyres. If there is resistance, then better to get it checked thoroughly.
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