Sticking Handbrake

122,600 miles, 14th December 2010

Quite soon after getting my Mk V, I noticed that the handbrake was a bit stiff. I thought it was due to something just needing to bed-in and so didn’t really worry about it. Then, when my car went for its first service, I noticed that the handbrake on a newer Mk V courtesy car I’d been given was much smoother. So I mentioned this to the garage and when they rung back, they said that two handbrake cables needed replacing. They did this under warranty and it fixed it. The handbrake was much smoother to operate.

Then last year, about 5 years after the handbrake cable has been replaced, I noticed it was starting to stiffen up again, just like it had originally. Suspecting the handbrake cable again but not wanting to have to get it replaced again, I decided to give it a really good workout. Whilst stationary, I pulled the handbrake lever up and then released it a number of times. Sometimes I would apply it much harder than I would normally. I also repeated this a few times with the engine running and whilst applying the foot brake quite hard to get maximum assistance from the brake servo. Lo and behold, afterwards the handbrake was much smoother and felt as good as new!

I think what is happening is that there is some rust somewhere in the handbrake’s cable linkage. (Read about another issue caused by rust on the Mk V.) This eventually gets so bad as to cause the handbrake to become stiff. Whilst giving the handbrake a bit of a workout is not going to get rid of the rust, it does free it up a bit so you can get a bit more life out of it.

I've had to exercise the handbrake cable a few times now on my Mk V over the last few years. I wonder how long this will work?

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