With any vehicle, the brakes are obviously very important. The handbrake is often overlooked when people talk about caravans. If it is overlooked and not checked regularly, serious problems and accidents could occur.
This mechanism is vital for safe towing and safe parking of your tourer. Given how crucial it is to your whole caravan outfit, and how tricky issues surrounding it can be, we wanted to help troubleshoot some of the common problems we have come across when researching handbrakes.
When Applying the Handbrake, You Can Still Push the Caravan
Generally speaking, on any caravan, if you apply the handbrake there should be noticeable resistance. Not too much or too little, but just a nice amount. If there is no resistance at all, there are several problems that could be causing this.
It could mean that:
- The handbrake cable has snapped
- The handbrake cable needs to be adjusted
- The handbrake cable needs to be cleaned
- The shoes have worn down and need to be replaced
Obviously, if you feel confident about doing it yourself, go right ahead, but if you are nervous or don’t understand the mechanics, speak to a professional.
There are lots of YouTube videos and tutorials online that you can consult if you do wish to try and fix the problem yourself, though.
Handbrake Pulls Up Okay, But Button Doesn’t Lock the Brake
Your handbrake isn’t staying on when parked, because the button rod, the long rod that is inside the lever of the handbrake, is bent. You can check for this by looking up and into the lever from below. That is what is preventing the button from coming out fully.
Although this does not mean the brakes are not working, it would be recommended that you don’t try to tow until you resolve this issue.
If the handbrake isn’t engaging properly while stationary, then it won’t be able to lock on properly, if the caravan becomes detached from your towing vehicle while you are towing, it won’t lock on.
It is important in this scenario to get your caravan handbrake repaired first before towing your tourer. While the brakes will work, the breakaway cable won’t function properly. Basically, if you are towing and the caravan became detached, it could continue to roll. This would obviously be a massive problem if you were in a caravan park and trying to park on a slope, as the caravan may just roll down and could cause an accident.
We understand that as caravans already constitute a significant financial investment when you have issues with mechanisms and components like the handbrakes, you may want to avoid paying out for expensive repairs.
However, you need to weigh up whether or not you will be able to give any repair work the same expert attention and care a professional would. You may end up causing more damage by trying to fix something yourself that you have no experience working with. The extra it may cost upfront to hire a professional, may save you more money in the long run.