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Why You Should Set Your Parking Brake

Brian Champagne

When you park your car, do you set your parking brake? UPR Contributor Brian Champagne checks out a car that will do it for you and explains why if you don’t have that feature you should still be setting it yourself.

Lexus loaned us their all-wheel-drive IS 350 F Sport sedan in summer, so in lieu of snow, we drove it on a small field of lightbulbs. They were incandescent. Mostly.


It’s all-wheel traction let us accelerate off them with 311 hp. Translating two pages of press release PR-speak, Lexus worked very hard in Japan to make it handle better. It turns sharply on the lightbulbs.

It stops right on them. And when you park on them, it sets the electric parking brake for you. And setting your brake is serious. Some guy doing driver training on Youtube said only 10% of us use it.

It is a good idea even though you’re driving an automatic transmission, to apply the parking brake. One reason why is that you know when your car rolls and bounces a little when you park? That bouncing is on a pin in the transmission, and it wears on it.


If you set the parking brake before you let off the foot brake, you’ll keep the thousands of pounds your car weighs off the pin.


Another YouTuber adds that it’s a fail-safe in case the transmission pin gives out. Makes it easier to find your car when it stays where you left it.


When you jack up the front of your car to change a flat on a front-wheel-drive car, there’s nothing keeping the car from rolling if you don’t set the brake.


It also keeps the parts loosened up, and legend had it kept the rear brakes aligned.


So take a tip from some YouTubers and a guy who parked a Lexus on a steep hill with no problems, and set that brake.


Brian Champagne grew up in the less-famous Central California but left after starting his television news career there. He worked 22 years in news for NBC, ABC, Fox, and CBS affiliates in four markets. He served as chief photographer for KTXL-TV in Sacramento, but worked in front of the camera, too.