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Administrator 2009 SLK 55 AMG/Founding Member 2006
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Car Talk: Hubby’s right: Engage parking brake first

Dear Tom and Ray: My husband and I are at odds on this issue. We have a 2003 Mini Cooper with an automatic transmission. He applies the hand brake before throwing the car into park. The car then makes a noticeable creak when we get out. I usually put the car in park, then apply the hand brake. If I’m on an incline, the car will roll a little, then stop — but no nasty creak. Hubby’s logic is that it’s better to be hard on the hand brake than to be hard on the transmission. The creak just makes me uneasy. Any advice on who’s right?

— Cat

Ray: Well, we’re glad this is all you’re at odds over. During my brother’s most-recent marriage, they were at odds because he would put the car in park, and she would hit him with the hand brake.

Tom: The good news is that neither of you is doing any damage with your respective parking methods. But we prefer Hubby’s.

Ray: When you put the car in park on a hill, Cat, and it rolls a foot or so, that’s because the parking pawl — the device that locks up the output shaft of the transmission and prohibits the car from rolling — is not a precise instrument. It’s a ratchet with some slop in it, and it can allow the car to roll a bit in either direction before it jams into place and holds the car.

Tom: There’s nothing dangerous about that — unless you just parked 6 inches up the hill from Leadpipe Louie’s new Cadillac.

Ray: We’ve never seen a parking pawl break from rolling, so that’s not a concern. But if the car rolls and jams the parking pawl, it can make it hard for you to get out of park when you try to drive away.

Tom: Applying the parking brake before you put it in park eliminates that problem. The brake holds the car in place and doesn’t let the car roll until the parking pawl jams up. You just have to remember — when you come back — to take the transmission out of park first before releasing the parking brake.

Ray: The creak you’re hearing is just the parking brake grabbing. That’s nothing to worry about.

Tom: No. My brother creaks when he grabs now, too.
 

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Car Talk: Hubby’s right: Engage parking brake first
Tom: The good news is that neither of you is doing any damage with your respective parking methods. But we prefer Hubby’s.

First, Tom states "But we prefer Hubby’s". This does NOT say "Car Talk: Hubby’s right: Engage parking brake first"

Now, my method, developed over 45 years of having many AT's in that time frame;
1. Stop car and with foot pushing the brake pedal, place the trans in "N"
2. THEN set the parking brake.
3. Slowly release the foot brake
4. IF the car holds, place trans in "P", if not, repeat, pulling the p/b further

I prefer to let the brake(s) hold the weight of the car as opposed to the trans.

fwiw, I read and like C&C as they come up with some funny, yet accurate remedies.

No need for anyone to argue, this is just the way I do it...ymmv...
 

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Administrator 2009 SLK 55 AMG/Founding Member 2006
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97,513 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
In Florida, we have no hills, therefore we do not use the parking brake
 

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In Florida, we have no hills, therefore we do not use the parking brake
Good point :tu: ... you also have sink holes, salt water air, alligators and crocodiles :eek:

:biglaugh:
 
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Minion
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Everglades National Park is the only subtropical wilderness in North America. It is known for its rich wildlife, particularly large wading birds, and it is the only place in the world where both alligators and crocodiles coexist EEK!
 

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Premium Member 2006 SLK350
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6,796 Posts
I would suggest you get into the habit of using the parking brake...especially if you live in snow country. They'll eventually seize/rust otherwise...and when you use it, if it works, it won't release.
 

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Minion
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I would suggest you get into the habit of using the parking brake...especially if you live in snow country. They'll eventually seize/rust otherwise...and when you use it, if it works, it won't release.
I live in americas flatlands.. but you know I haven't even tried that yet. Good idea.
 

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67 Posts
the 2012 SLK owner's manual seems to agree with C&C:

Vehicle movement can cause serious
personal injury or damage to the vehicle or
the vehicle drivetrain. Therefore, always do
the following before turning off the engine and
leaving the vehicle:

keep your right foot on the brake pedal.

engage the parking brake.

shift the manual transmission to first gear
or reverse gear R.

shift the automatic transmission to park
position P.

slowly release the brake pedal.

when parked on an incline, always turn the
front wheels towards the road curb.

turn the SmartKey in the ignition lock to
position 0 and remove the SmartKey from
the ignition lock.

take the SmartKey with you and lock the
vehicle when leaving.
 
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