Car MOT Manual 2012 onwards

Brakes - 3.1 Parking Brake Control

Many of the checks in this sub-section are based on the assumption that the parking brake is a ratchet type hand lever. For vehicles with footoperated or electronic parking brakes the Method of Inspection detailed will need to be ignored or varied depending on the particular type.

Vehicles certified as being designed before 1 January 1905 and constructed before 31 December 1905 do not require a parking brake.

Hydraulic parking brakes as a sole means of operation are not acceptable on vehicles first used on or after 1 January 1968. However, they may be used to assist the application or release of a mechanical brake.

An electronic parking brake EPB, although applied electronically, must be maintained in operation by direct mechanical means. This mechanism may be within the brake caliper or within the motor/gear assembly, so cannot be readily seen.

Items not possible to check fully from the drivers seat should be checked from beneath the vehicle and/or under the bonnet.

An Electronic Parking Brake EPB may apply automatically in certain conditions e.g. such as when the drivers door is opened. Testers should be aware of this throughout various aspects of the test.
Method of Inspection
1. Check that the vehicle has a parking brake designed to prevent:

• at least two wheels from turning, or
• with a three-wheeled vehicle, at least one wheel from turning.

2. Check the method of operation.

3. While sitting in the drivers seat, check the presence, security and condition of the parking brake lever or control.

4. With the brake lever in the off position:
a. check the amount of side play in the lever pivot by moving the lever from side to side

Note: Some vehicles have sideways movement of the parking brake lever when new.

Movement is a reason for rejection only when: • the pawl is moved clear of the ratchet, and
• the brake does not hold in the on position

b. check the security of the lever and pawl mechanism pivots, their associated mountings and the presence and effectiveness of retaining and locking devices.

5. Without operating the pawl mechanism, apply the parking brake slowly and check the effective operation of the pawl mechanism by listening for definite and regular clicks as the pawl moves over the ratchet teeth.

6. When the brake is fully applied:
a. knock the top and each side of the lever and check that the lever stays in the on position
b. check that the lever is not at the end of its working travel and that there is no fouling of adjacent parts
c. check that the lever is not impeded in its travel.

7. On vehicles with an electronic parking brake, operate the switch to release and apply the parking brake and check that a malfunction is not indicated.

8. Check the parking brake lever or control for any inappropriate repair or modification.

9. Check the condition of the vehicle structure around the mountings of any:
a. mechanical parking brake lever mechanism
b. electro-mechanical actuator unit.

Note: It may be necessary to check the mounting of the parking brake lever or EPB electro-mechanical actuator unit prescribed areas from the vehicle underside when it cannot be checked from the inside the cabin.
Reason for Rejection
1. The vehicle does not have a parking brake designed to prevent:

• at least two wheels from turning
• with a three-wheeled vehicle, at least one wheel from turning.

2. For vehicles first used on or after 1 January 1968 the parking brake is not capable of being maintained in operation by direct mechanical action only.

3. The brake lever or control:
a. missing
b. insecure
c. defective or located so that it cannot be satisfactorily operated.

. a. Side play in the brake lever pivot to the extent that the pawl may inadvertently disengage
b. the lever or pawl mechanism pivots and their associated mountings are insecure or a locking or retaining device is insecure or missing.

5. The pawl spring is not pushing the pawl positively into the ratchet teeth or the ratchet has broken, or excessively worn teeth.

a. When knocked, the lever is not held in the on position
b. when the brake is fully applied there is no possibility of further travel of the lever because the lever is:

• at the end of its working travel on the ratchet, or
• fouling adjacent parts of the vehicle

c. the lever is impeded in its travel.

7. Electronic parking brake warning indicates a malfunction.

Note: An EPB malfunction may alternatively be indicated by a message on the dashboard.

8. A parking brake lever or control inappropriately repaired or modified.

9. Deliberate modification which significantly reduces the original strength, excessive corrosion, severe distortion, a fracture or an inadequate repair of a load bearing member or its supporting structure or supporting panelling within 30cm of the parking brake mechanism or associated mountings, that is, within a prescribed area, see Appendix C.

Reproduced from the MOT Inspection Manual by kind permission of THE VEHICLE INSPECTORATE.

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