You use your vehicle’s regular braking system every time you drive, but what about the emergency brake? Let’s take a closer look at how and when you should use this lesser-known — but very important — system.

Lever, pedal, or switch?

In older vehicles, the emergency brake is activated mechanically by pulling up a lever located between the front seats, or by pressing a pedal far to the left of your usual gas, brake, and clutch pedals. However, newer models often have an electronic emergency brake that you use by pulling a small switch on the console.

Perfect for parking

The emergency brake helps keep your vehicle in place when you park (especially when you’re on an incline) and take pressure off your transmission. To use it this way, put your vehicle in neutral, activate the emergency brake, and shift into park. Doing this will also ensure that your emergency braking system gets regular use and will be ready for an actual emergency.

An emergency backup

The emergency brake has less stopping power of regular brakes. However, if your regular brakes fail, you can still use the emergency brake to come to a gradual stop. To do this, pull up gradually on the lever or press down gradually on the pedal. With electronic systems, you may need to repeatedly pull the switch. For more specifics, be sure to check the owner’s manual for your vehicle.

In the best-case scenario, you’ll only ever need to use the emergency brake for parking. To boost peace of mind and decrease the likelihood of any serious brake problems, we recommend bringing your vehicle in for regular inspections here at Avery Greene Honda in Vallejo, California.