Driving With Parking Brake On: What Happens To The Car?

Maybe you’re curious about what is happening to your car while you’re driving it with the parking brake. 

So, what happens to the car if you turn on your parking brakes? Usually, when you drive with a parking brake, even if you’re running your car for several miles, it may overheat, causing the brake lining’s adhesive to fail. 

Moreover, this article will give you insight and awareness about what will happen when you turn on your parking brake while driving. You may continue reading below!

Driving With Parking Brake On

Is It Possible To Drive With The Parking Brake On?

Yes, you can drive while you’re using your parking brakes. It happens all the time, and usually, most car owners apply the parking brake lightly when they park unless you push or pull your brakes until it doesn’t move. 

Hence, your car will slightly overcome your brakes, making it move a bit until you park your car. When this malfunction happens to you, you may notice that your car seems to be a bit sluggish. 

Sometimes it creates a smell like the odd burning smell after driving your car with brakes on; it’s normal. It is because your brakes are contracting each other, making your car stop. 

However, there are instances that even your brake is on, you didn’t notice. For example, maybe your brake isn’t working correctly or your car’s speed. 

If this happens, don’t wait for it to get worse; visit an expert right away. 

What Happens When You Drive With The Parking Brake On?

Driving with a parking brake on is one common mistake made by lots of car owners. The first indication of that is having a lack of power. Also, if you leave your parking brake for too long, it will begin to create a burning smell when your brake pad gets too hot. 

Sometimes, the heat that your brakes produce gets to your brake fluid, causing the fluid to boil in extreme situations. 

It can cause your brake pads to get very slick and harder to stop your vehicle. To restore your brakes, you can put a glaze on it and brake usually- it will allow your brakes to work just as well as before. 

Can Drive With Parking Brake On Damage Transmission?

Yes, it will damage your car’s transmission if you leave your parking brake for too long. Indeed, parking brakes are essential because they will protect your vehicle by bypassing the hydraulic braking system.

Also, it ensures your vehicle stops in an emergency or keeps your vehicle in place while parking. 

Nowadays, most vehicles are built with automatic transmission. So, when you park your car, the parking prowl images inside the transmission restrict the movement of the car’s transmission. 

If the parking brake is not standard, it will break the transmission causing your vehicle to roll away.

Make sure you check and use it carefully to prevent stress and tension on your car’s transmission and other drive components. 

What To Do If You Were Driving With The Parking Brake On?

If you’re driving for long miles, you need to turn off your brake. If you need to park your vehicle, that’s the time you can turn your brakes. 

Parking brakes are used to stop your movement and restrict your car from moving during emergencies. So, if you aren’t experiencing any emergency, turn it off. 

Driving With Parking Brake On Short Distance: Is It Okay?

No, it’s not okay to drive your car with the parking brake on. However, driving your vehicle with brakes on a short distance won’t cause any long-lasting problems. 

1 Mile

If you’re driving only for one mile, it is okay if you turn on your parking brake. However, don’t turn it on if you don’t need it. 

2 Miles

If you forget that you turn on your brakes, 2 miles is quite okay. It won’t massively destroy your brake system.

3 Miles

Turning on your parking brakes for 3 miles runs is a little bit dangerous. Be minded with the outcomes and what they will do to your transmission. 

4 Miles

Four miles is quite far already; possibly, your car will release a distinct odor like a burning odor. By this time, you need to stop, or your car brake will fail in your future use, or it may cause car accidents along your way.

5 Miles

Leaving your parking brake on for 5 miles will possibly damage your transmission. The time that you need your brakes. It won’t function effectively.

Moreover, if there’s no emergency and you don’t need to use your parking brakes, don’t use it; it’s a straightforward rule.

If you don’t want to spend a lot of money fixing your brakes, then use them properly. Using your parking brakes properly will save you from stress.

Smoke When Driving With Parking Brake On What To Do?

When you notice that there’s already smoke when driving with the parking brake on, you need to pull over. Then, contact a technician right away. 

Your car just broke, and your brake transmission can’t hold your car, causing it to fail and smoke. 

So, please don’t wait for the time that your brakes will get extremely hot, because it may cause severe damages or accidents on the road. 


In summary, driving with a parking brake isn’t good whether it’s near or far. So you only need to use it if you’re parking or during an emergency. 

Yes, parking brakes are for your safety, but using them in an unwanted situation can cause damage to your brakes and their transmission. 

When your brakes are damaged, you won’t stop your car and may cause you trouble and accidents. 

Putting your life at risk isn’t worth it; always keep your focus while driving, check your dashboard, and turn off your parking brakes before traveling long distances. 

Moreover, keeping your car healthy and well maintained is very important so that when you need to use your parking brakes effectively, you can use them in your most critical situation.

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Image credits – Canva

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My name is Hank, and I've been in the automotive industry for 27 years. I've been working in my own auto repair shop for the last 13 years, and now I want to help you here, on my blog. Let me know if you have any questions. Read more