Floor Parking Brakes vs. Hand Brakes

Thanks, brad_d. If you think my Jeep is snazzy, did you see the other guy’s trophy-winning '48?

I’ll do you one better: The Jeep has a floor-mounted starter.

Re: “Hand brake”, “emergency brake” and “parking brake”. In the U.S. the terms are pretty much interchangeable. IME, most people use “emergency” and “parking”. I get the impression that “emergency brake” generally used for the hand brake and “parking brake” is used for the pedal-activated one. I rarely hear “hand brake”. Usually if it comes up in conversation (which is rarely), it is because the driver tries to take off with the brake on. Most auto-transmission cars I’ve driven that have a foot-activated parking brake disengage the parking brake automatically when the transmission is shifted into gear. All have a little T-handle to release the brake manually. All of the cars I’ve owned have had a hand brake mounted beside the driver’s seat on the console, except IIRC, my old MGB which had it to the left of the driver, and the Willys Jeeps (I used to have a '48) which had them mounted in the dash. (Memory is fuzzy though.) Dad’s Toyota and Ford (made by Mazda) pickups had hand brakes mounted under the dash, of the “pull and twist” type. His Cessna 172 and 182 had them just under the instrument panel. Personally, I’ve always prefered the hand brake over the foot “parking” brake because it is easier to control the amount of pressure the brake exerts. I think this is why I think of the foot brake as the “parking brake” and the hand brake as the “hand brake” or “emergency brake”. FWIW, I refer to the hand brake as the “hand brake” or “emergency brake”, and never as the “parking brake”.

Now, that’s not exactly true. Modern transmissions are built with safety margins high enough you could miss 1/4 of your shifts and your transmission would still last a reasonable amount of time, if you don’t force it into gear after missing. And if you don’t know how to drive without a clutch, what do you do when you blow your clutch 50 miles from home? Don’t say call a tow truck, that’s the SUV-driving-soccer-mom way of doing things. :wink:

That’s not the point of ‘trick’ shifting. Not using the clutch makes for a much faster shift, average of about 2 seconds to shift v. about 4 seconds using the clutch. Also, truckers generally don’t use their clutch when they shift. Let’s just pretend I’m practicing for over-the-road shipping. :smiley:

MC: Do you drive mostly older cars? If so, the hand brake was weak because it had been used, or gotten rusty. A properly tighetned hand brake will not allow the vehicle to move at all. If you’ve been driving NEW cars with weak hand brakes, well… that’s just shoddy workmanship.


I’m sort of reviving this thread from the grave, but…

I’ve always thought of the brake-that-keeps-you-from-rolling-when-parked, however it’s activated, was generally referred to as the parking brake. Some of comments I’ve read here made me wonder, though.

I just managed to dig out the Owner’s Manual for my now-deceased 1988.5 Ford Escort, which had a hand-activated brake on the center console. It’s referred to in the manual as the “Parking Brake,” so I guess I’m not going completely nuts.

Said brake descended gradually into worthlessness as the result of a broken part in the linkage, sounding kind of like what MC describes. After I got it fixed, it would hold the car fine - I could certainly stop the vehicle with it. Never tried to lock the wheels, though.

One of these days I’ll get the guts to try a clutchless shift in my truck. Heel-toe, I understand, but I think my gas & brake pedals are offset too far. I’ve fiddled with the idea (with the engine off!), and just can’t seem to make it work. Oh, well, an ass-light pickup with a 2.3L engine barely justifies such a trick, anyway. :slight_smile:

Once I stalk and abduct one of the jeeps on Johnny L.A.'s page, though, I’ll have something more interesting to work with.

:: dons black ski cap and vanishes into the night ::

All you have to do is figure out exactly where your RPMs should be at any given speed in any given gear, then when it’s time to shift, slide the shifter out of gear, wait for the RPMs to hit the right spot, then slide it back in. Easy as pie. To downshift, just tap the gas to get the RPMs up to the right spot and slide it in.