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Old 10-17-2011, 03:41 PM
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Default Parking brake question

I just acquired a 2004 Century. When parking on a slight hill, it seems like the parking brakes are not holding the car. I would apply the parking brake peddle all the way to the floorboard, shift the transmission into neutral, and then release my foot from the regular brake peddle and notice that the car starts to roll slowly. I'm thinking the parking brakes are not holding the car. Am I correct?

How difficult is it to adjust the parking brakes? Does this means anything else, like the rear brakes are worn or out of adjustment?

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Old 10-17-2011, 04:33 PM
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There are two ways to do this.
You can tighten the parking brake cable some and hope for the best.
The better way is to , yea, it's a pain ,but , since you just acquired the car and don't know it's history . Remove one of the rear wheels and remove the rotor to see how much lining is remaining on the shoes which are for the parking brake only.
Depending on if there is sufficient lining left,depress the parking brake like 3 clicks or approx. one and one half inches down then proceed to tighten the parking brake cable adjustment (to shorten the cable) until you can just barley get the rotor back on.
When done with that, release the parking brake, then put the rotor and wheel back on.
The adjustment is usually located on the driver's side under the car.
You will see a cable coming from the front and going to the to the rear with an adjustment nut on it. If you spray a little penetrating oil on the adjustment , it will make adjusting it a little easier.
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Old 10-18-2011, 03:40 PM
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Thanks for your reply hanky. I think I will try to take up any slack in the parking brake cable first. Is the adjustment inside the cabin, under the hood, or under the car?

I am thinking of maybe raising one of the rear wheels off the ground and then apply the parking brake maybe 4 clicks. Then adjust the cable until the rear wheel is difficult to turn or cannot turn at all. If I release the parking brake, the rear wheel should turn freely. What do you think?

If that does not work, I may have to wait until I get back home with the car to do a more complete job on the brakes. I have to drive the car back from Tennessee to California in a couple of weeks.

While I'm at it, I should take a peek at the brake pads to see how much pad I have left. Just take the wheel off and look in the slot right?
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Old 10-18-2011, 07:24 PM
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The adjustment should be under the car.
The method of checking just one wheel should be OK for the adjustment.
Not knowing your circumstances where you are presently, I would suggest that you have the brakes checked and any necessary repairs made before you begin your return to California. If you owned the car for a longer period of time you would know much more about it's condition etc. Have a safe and pleasurable trip.
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Old 10-19-2011, 03:14 PM
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I've worked on mostly Japanese cars in the past. This will be my first domestic car for me. If the brakes are anything like the imports, I should be able to see the brake pads through an inspection hole or slot. Do the pads have the squeek tabs that would squeel all the time when the brakes are worn down? Won't be leaving for California for another week or two.
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Old 10-19-2011, 06:45 PM
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If you are talking about pads and calipers, some pad condition can be seen through the holes in the rims or better if the wheel is removed.
On the other hand the parking brake shoes don't allow for any inspection without removing the rear rotors. As you probably already know some people will bend the squealers away from the rotors to avoid pad replacement especially if they are getting rid of the car. That's why I suggested having everything checked for your own peace of mind. And yes, GM does utilize squealers.
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Old 10-24-2011, 04:27 PM
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Thanks hanky,

The car was my mother-in-law's and it was acquired new. I'm not worried about the squealers being bent back. It was serviced regularly. She pasted and it was left to me which couldn't have come at a better time. Lots to do before heading home.
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Old 10-25-2011, 04:20 AM
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Sorry for your loss.
Have a safe trip and maybe when you get home you can tell us how your trip went.
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