This week, a Celebrity Roast.

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | May 01, 1991

Dear Tom and Ray:

I own a 1983 four cylinder Chevy Celebrity. My problem is with the brakes. About a year ago, I had my brake shoes, rotors, and pads replaced. For a few months, the brakes worked fine. Then, my right rear brake seemed to be locked up when I first took off--after the car had not been used for a day or two. After driving a mile or so, the brakes would work perfectly again. What do you think is going on?

TOM: It sounds like your parking brake is sticking, Arnold. The parking brake operates the drum brakes on the rear wheels of this car. It sounds like the right rear cable is hanging up. What that means is that the right rear brake is essentially "on" during that first mile or two.

RAY: Believe it or not, the engine is more than powerful enough to move the car, even with one of the brakes applied. But it would definitely feels like something is "holding you back."

TOM: You say that after a couple of miles, the brake seems to work itself free. But what really happens is that you wear out enough of the brake linings so that the wheel turns freely. Then it works fine until the parking brake sticks again.

RAY: Your mechanic obviously has to do something. Have him start by replacing the right, rear parking brake cable. It's inexpensive, and there's a good chance it will solve the problem. And while you're there, ask him to check the linings on that right, rear wheel. We've done some tests in the lab, and we've found that driving with the brakes applied definitely does not increase the longevity of the linings. In fact, by the time you read this, my guess is that your's will be cooked. Good luck, Arnold.

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