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Handbrake danger

Question : A FRIEND was on his way back to Kuala Lumpur after a day trip at Fraser Hill last weekend.

While descending the hill, his Nissan Livina handbrake remained in the up position, meaning he was driving downhill with the hand brake still engaged!

He only put it into neutral upon reaching the road heading towards Batang Kali.

He told me that negotiating the bends was a breeze during the descend.

I told him that was probably because all four tyres were properly gripped by the brakes.

I told him not to do it again in future as it only wasted fuel since the vehicle was in a "dragging" mode as the brakes were still on.

Am I right? Is it advisable to emulate his driving everytime one descends a hilly route.

Was my friend taking a calculated risk with his life and that of his passengers and other road users?

Will there be any effect or damage done to the braking mechanism?

Answer : The handbrake is designed to hold the vehicle in a stationary position and NOT for slowing the car down.

Driving with the handbrake on unbalances the whole braking system of the vehicle and it is possible that if the vehicle encounters sudden wet conditions, the rear wheels could lock up and lose traction and put the vehicle into a spin.

This is a highly dangerous practice and your friend is lucky that the brakes did not overheat and glaze over or the heat generated did not cause the brake fluid to boil, resulting in brake fade and "no brakes" at all.


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