The handbrake lever is typically positioned to the left hand side of the driver on a right hand drive vehicle, however there are some exceptions. The lever is used to apply the brakes in an emergency, although it is important that the foot brakes are not used at the same time, as this can upset the vehicle’s balance. It is also used to engage the brakes when parking, or when stopping on a hill to ensure the vehicle doesn’t roll away.
The handbrake lever has a ratchet locking mechanism which will not disengage until a button is pressed on the lever itself. It is attached to the mechanical braking system via a cable which runs to the brakes. The cable can attach to drum brakes at the brake shoes or attach to disc brakes, which utilise a lever and corkscrew near the piston.
Signs that your handbrake lever may need attention could include the handbrake feeling too tight or loose, which may be a sign of a badly adjusted or worn handbrake cable. It may also not secure the car when applied, meaning that the vehicle can move when parked. Any handbrake issues should be rectified immediately.