show me tell me questions - not just for the driving test -
checking the handbrake (parking brake)

You will be asked to show how you would check the handbrake for excessive wear whilst making sure you keep safe control of the vehicle.

Note: Whilst the foot brake operates on all four wheels via an hydraulic system and advances in technology over the years have made them increasingly more powerful and safe, the handbrake only operates on the rear wheels and only via a cable with no hydraulic system involved. The handbrake, if in good working order, will prevent your vehicle from rolling down a hill when parked but it is in no way as powerful as the foot brake and it is possible to drive off with the handbrake applied. If the handbrake is applied whilst the vehicle is moving at speed it will cause the rear of the vehicle to slide out and in a vehicle with a high centre of gravity, could even turn it over. On the public road the handbrake is only ever to be used once the vehicle has come to a complete stop!

You should always depress the button at the end of the handbrake when applying it. When you don't do this you can hear the ratchet clicking and over time this will wear out the ratchet and your handbrake will no longer be effective.

In order to check the handbrake: You want to stop on an incline, keeping firm pressure on the foot brake whilst you apply the handbrake. When you release the button the handbrake should stay where it was rather than fall back down. Then gradually release the footbrake to see that the handbrake is holding the vehicle. Then, with your foot on the brake again check to see that the hanbrake can be moved to a higher position to make sure that it is not at the end of its working travel.

If the handbrake cannot be moved to a higher position and at a lower one it does not hold the car on an incline the cable has been stretched and you need to get a mechanic to put it right for you.

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