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The Met Office has issued yellow weather warnings for snow and ice every day over the last week, with many dealing with the effects on the roads. Most of northern Scotland has been covered with a thick layer of snow, while most of the rest of the UK seeing frost and ice.
As a result, millions of drivers have woken up this week with their windows and windscreen covered in frost, and may be dealing with other car issues.
In some occasions, the freezing temperatures could cause handbrakes to be completely frozen.
Modern electronic parking brakes can also freeze in the same way that a traditional, manual handbrake can.
Graham Conway, managing director at Select Car Leasing, said when temperatures plummet, the freezing of a car’s handbrake can be a major headache for motorists.
He added: “The handbrake isn’t nearly as accessible as a frozen windscreen is, so finding a remedy – particularly when you’re in a hurry – can be stressful.
“If the handbrake does appear frozen when you attempt to drive, it is important to follow the right steps to ensure no damage is caused to the vehicle.
“Driving with the handbrake engaged, however light, will cause friction between your brake pads, generating heat, which can cause your brake fluid to boil.
“The moisture and gas from your brake fluid boiling can impact the vehicle’s ability to stop.
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“Therefore, there are several effective things you can do to try and melt the ice and free up the handbrake mechanism.”
Drivers who have emerged to a frozen handbrake should start the vehicle’s engine to generate heat and will hopefully melt any ice in the braking system.
To speed up the process, gently rev the engine at the same time as attempting to disengage the handbrake several times.
Revving the engine will heat the vehicle quicker and will also help to break up any remaining ice.
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Blocking as much of the open space between the road and the sides of the vehicle will create a path for airflow from the front to the rear of the vehicle.
The objective is to circulate heat throughout the entirety of the car, from the front radiator to the rear of the vehicle, where the parking brake components are located.
If they can, motorists should try to create a channel under the vehicle by piling snow at either side.
If none of this seems to be working, they can inspect the parking brake and cable for ice.
A traditional, mechanical parking brake is connected to the brake shoe on one of the tires by a thin black cable. Drivers can check the owner’s manual if they aren’t sure where it is located.
If ice does appear, they can gently chip away at it with a hammer. Just remember to direct the hammer at the ice only, and don’t hit it too hard as they don’t want to damage or dent the brake components.
If people do see any damage, corrosion or rust with the parking brake or cable, they should contact a mechanic to look at the issue.
If they are certain there is no damage to the brake components and ice still remains, they can use a hot setting on a hairdryer to directly defrost any remaining ice.
This should melt any ice that is preventing the brake from releasing.
However, it is important to be cautious whilst using electrical equipment in snowy conditions, and be careful to not put themselves at risk of electrocution.
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