This guide will take you through replacing the cable for the parking brake on a 7th Generation Civic. I'm no expert, but I expect the process will be the same or at least similar for other makes and models.
- Difficulty Level:
The process itself is quite simple, but I have marked it as intermediate, due to me battling to get some bolts undone.
Tools required (or rather, 'what I used')-
- Philips screw driver
- Flat head screw driver
- Size 12 ratchet spanner
- Locking Pliers
- Socket wrench with size 12 socket
- Wheel chocks / bricks / anything to stop car rolling forward
- Breaker bar with compatible adapter to fit whatever size 12 socket you are using
- Decent jack (you need to get some good clearance under the car) and 2 axle stands
- If you're a 'person of size' like myself, someone able to squeeze under your car, or a proper car lift
Parts required -
All of the bolts holding the cable in place that I removed were VERY rusted, and most of them needed the breaker bar to get them loose. Once I started using the breaker bar, they came out quite easily, so it was just a matter of getting the leverage to apply enough slow but steady force to break the bolts free of the rust without pushing hard enough to snap them or strip their heads.
- Replacement parking brake cable - VERY IMPORTANT to ensure you get the right cable for your car and the right SIDE of your car, as the cables for 3 and 5 door Civics are different and the left cable is different to the right cable
The image below shows the entire mechanism and the cables. As you can see, the cables are different lengths, with one of them feeding through behind the exhaust heat shield.
First thing to do is to expose the hand brake end of the cable. To do this, push both front seats all the way forward, and using the Philips head screwdriver, remove the following screws on either side of the center console. if this looks unfamiliar, it's because I have an armrest installed. This is the rear end of the console between the front seats - with no arm rest, you should see one screw on each side.
Tilt the rear of the center console forward, and slide it over the hand brake.
Put some wheel chocks or bricks in front of the front wheels, and then release the parking brake.
Loosen the wheel nuts on the rear wheel on the side of the car you are replacing the cable , and then jack up the car and put axle stand in place for safety. Remove the wheel.
Some people suggest you remove the caliper, to get easy access to the brakes end of the parking brake cable, but I found I did not need to.
(These pictures were taken on the right hand side of the car)
The first thing you need to do is remove the parking brake cable from where it hooks onto the caliper. This is done by compressing the 2 sections indicated in the picture below.
I found it easiest to do this with some locking pliers
Once I had compressed the spring loaded bit (sorry - no idea what it's called), I used the flat head screw driver to pop the parking brake cable free of the metal hook it clipped onto
You then need to pull the parking brake cable out of the way and removed the 2 size 12 bolts holding the mounting plate onto the rear of the caliper. This shows the mounting plate loose of the caliper. I was lucky that I did not need the breaker bar for the two bolts holding this plate in place
You need to remove this end of the cable from it's mounting bracket (this is the only mounting bracket you re-use, as the replacement cable will have the correct mounting brackets in the correct locations along the length of the cable - hence another reason to ensure you get the correct cable)
To do this, remove this clip, by pulling it horizontally with some pliers (be careful not to break or bend it). You should not have to use a lot of force - mine popped off with no issues at all.
Put this clip somewhere safe, as chances are the replacement cable will not come with one
Next is to remove the mounting bracket. Chances are you will almost have to butcher this end of the cable to get it free from the bracket (with the spring clip removed, it just slides out of the bracket, but rust will be holding it in place quite firmly)
I would recommend you use a vice grip to hold the bracket while you hammer away at the metal part of the cable going through the bracket, to work it loose and slide it off the bracket. This shows the end result of my cable.
Clean the bracket up and put it somewhere safe
The next step is on the other side of the wheel brakes. You need to remove the bolt holding this bracket in place. Remove this using a size 12 socket. This shows the cable and the bolt that needs removing.
A better view of the bolt is below. I also got lucky with this bolt and was able to get it removed without using the breaker bar (using the breaker bar would have been a nightmare as access is really limited here, especially if the car is on axle stands and not a lift)
And there it's loose
From here on, follow the cable under the car, and remove the remaining size 12 bolts, similar to this one pictured below. I seem to remember there being 3 of these on the side I did (one very close to the rear wheel, and then one on either side of the exhaust, where the cable ran behind the heat shield). I needed the breaker bar for all three of these
Once all the bolts are remove, you need to remove the cable from the hand brake end.
Ensure the hand brake is released fully, and then use the size 12 ratchet spanner to loosen the cable (rotate it so that the adjustment nut goes down the bolt, towards the rear of the car). This will loosen the whole mechanism on this end. Before you start, try take note of how far up the bolt the adjustment nut was.
So you want to go from this....
Remove the size 12 bolts holding the plate between the 2 cables in place (my pictures only shows one bolt as one got lost), and slide this plate forward
And remove it from the cables
You can now move the cables more freely.
Now, tilt the metal thing the cables clip into (sorry don't know it's name) in the direction of the cable you want to remove, and move the cable so it is at 90 degrees to this metal thing. This will allow you to push the end of the cable out from the other side of the metal thing
And then remove the cable...
Get back under the car, and pull the cable out through the bottom of the car (the rubber bung sealing the hole comes with the cable, so pull it all out).
Remove the old cable and you are half way there.
I've not taken pictures of the fitting of the replacement cable, but it really is a reverse of the process above.
Don't forget that you need to take the final mounting bracket and clip and put them on the replacement cable. To do this, slide the brakes end of the cable through the bracket
And then replace the clip
You can now go ahead and feed the hand brake end of the cable through the body into the car, push the bung into place, and reconnect the cable to the hand brake. After this, go ahead and fitt all the mounting brackets back to the car.
Once you have the replacement cable fitted an connected to the brake and the hand brake, leave the car on axle stands, refit the wheel and ensure that the rear wheels turn freely.
Using the ratchet spanner, adjust the hand brake adjustment nut back up the bolt until it is roughly in the same position as earlier. Leave the hand brake down and check the rear wheels still turn freely. Adjust the adjustment nut on the hand brake a little tighter. leave the hand brake down and check the rear wheels turn freely. Keep on doing this adjustment and checking rear wheels until you can feel the rear wheels starting to resist turning freely. Adjust the adjustment nut in the reverse direction just a touch, and then confirm the rear wheels have stopped resisting. Your hand brake should now be correctly adjusted
Pull hand brake up (hopefully it only goes about 6 to 10 clicks, or else you may need to replace the cable on the other side of the car as well) and check the rear wheels do not turn.
Well done, you're finished and can now replace the center console trim, lower the car and put everything away nice and tidy like.