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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So the other day, my wife and I come out of Home Depot, and head for home. She's got a bunch of small packages which she drops in between the front seats. I pull out of the parking lot, and get on the freeway about 1/4 mile later. After about a minute, I start hearing the sounds of a helicopter flying overhead; a steady quick rythmic thumping.

For about 10 seconds we're looking around, and my wife even rolls down her window to get a better view. Only then do I notice the handbrake indicator on the dash is lit, and scramble to release the brake.

When I started driving, it felt normal, so I'm hoping the brake wasn't set very hard. I usually just give a pretty light pull when parking in a lot.

So, what I'm wondering is what did I hurt, and how bad? And how can I tell?

Thanks,
eKennedy
 

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I doubt it could have been fully engaged. I can not move with mine on. I already tried it as I thought I had done the same at one point. If it was partially engaged, it would have simply engaged the brake part way, which would not hurt it too badly.

Do this - pull the brake all of the way up - seven or eight clicks. Gently put on the gas, or try to let the vehicle roll on a slight incline. The brake should hold the vehicle.

Hope it works out.
 

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Plus, it's only the rear brakes which don't do near the work that the fronts do, you should be fine. It's been done before, by thousands of people, myself included.
 

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Heh, I failed my first driver's exam many a moon ago because I left the parking brake on in the K-car. As well as a few other mistakes - I had three examiners in the car with me as they were training someone new!
 

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I did the same thing last weekend. Felt a little stupid since my 10 y/o was with me. Brake still holds well, I guess I really didn't have it completely engaged. :evil:
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I think I'm ok. This morning I gave the brake a good hard yank, and then tried driving forward. I got it up to about 2000 rpm without any slippage at all.

Was pretty funny at the time though. I could've sworn there actually was a helicopter landing right on top of me...

eKennedy
 

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Are the rear brakes on an Element disk or drum? I don't have one so I don't know.
If they're disk you may have got them too hot and there's a chance you warped the rotors. Not trying to scare you, I doubt it was that severe but it can happen. You'd feel it every time you hit the brakes if they were indeed warped.
My guess is the worse thing that happened was a little extra wear on the rear pads/shoes.
 

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They're four wheel disc brakes on the element, but if they're like other rear discs, the emergency brake is actually a cable actuated drum brake inside the "hat" of the rear disc. I doubt any damage was done, if it still works, your fine.
 

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Don't worry, back when I was in college I was with my father once as he drove about 20 miles on the highway with the E-brake fully on. There were even truckers on the CB (yes in the late 80's my dad still had a CB - the internet of his day) saying that someone in a red pickup was 'running very hot' (we chuckled and mentioned what an idiot THAT guy was). When we stopped for gas we got quite a smell of the little mistake. We went on from there for a week long 2000 mile trip without any trouble, and I don't think there was any real lasting effects to the truck.
 

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I drove ... a LONG way with my E brake on. Now it makes a horrible grinding sound if I engage it while the car is still rolling. I talked to a Honda mechanic about this. He said driving with the brake on or using it to stop will seriously derange it. It's apparently a drum brake attached to the rear wheels somehow. I suspect I ground any pad surface it had off, leaving metal on metal but the brake still holds fairly well.

Does anyone have any real info on this?

Eleman
 

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[quote:228c16c992=" "]It's apparently a drum brake attached to the rear wheels somehow. I suspect I ground any pad surface it had off, leaving metal on metal but the brake still holds fairly well.

Does anyone have any real info on this?
[/quote:228c16c992]

A brake rotor is shaped sort of like a top hat, or maybe more like Zorro's hat, right? On the rear axle, there is a small drum brake combined with the rotor. The "drum" part is where the inside hat band would be on Zorro's hat, the part that would get sweaty first during sword-fighting. So, if you remove the rear wheel and rotor, you will be able to see if the little drum is trashed, and if the little brake shoes are worn down to metal.

A little note here - you will have to have the parking brake released to remove the rotor, so please use the utmost caution to make sure the car doesn't fall off the jack or jack stands, and don't put any part of your body under the car, or even close. Safety first!

Bill
 

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Did it this morning on my 2 week old for almost my whole commute. Fortunately that's only about 1.5 miles. No noises. Felt bad but the post cheered me up a little. Hope the admission will do the same for others.
 

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Oh yeah, Ive done this too! MANY a times too! LOL... With it being hilly around here you get to learn how to drive a stick with your e-brake so you wont roll into the guy (who thinks hes a dog and has his nose so far up your :shock: ) right behind you.
 

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I've done it a couple of different times in various vehicles, always caught it early enough (within a mile or two), I think it does more damage to your pride than the actual brakes.
 

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In highschool a kid I knew had a Mitsubishi Eclipse which, since his parents bought it for him, he liked to abuse. He once drove about 5 miles with the emergency brake engaged enough to barely let him drive the car. I vividly remember him pulling up to my friend Matt's house at night and by that time the entire rear rotors were glowing red. Matt walked up to the car and lit a cigarette off them they were so hot. The car still drove and the brakes still actually stopped the car, but the rotors were severely warped. I doubt you got them to that point, I know on my E that it won't budge if the brake is on just two clicks or so.

As for that Mitsubishi Eclipse......eventually he decided to drive through piles of leaves people had raked to the curb for leaf pick up. Someone had covered a few cut up logs with their leaf pile, which he ultimately hit with the Eclipse. That was the end of that car...........and every time I read the Darwin awards I wonder if I'm going to see that kids name..........
 

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All these drove-with-the-brake-on scenarios argue for pulling the hand brake much tighter. When you start out, you will realize immediately that the brake is on, and if you're on a hill, the parking brake will actually do its job. Limply applying the brake gives you a false sense of security that could be worse than not using it at all.
 

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did any of you hear about the guy in a rented for explorer and drove around san francisco with the e-brake on and finally noticed it while on lombard street on the curvy part and somehow tipped it on its side?
 
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