Brakes Locked Up In My Car After Sitting

Reader Question

Hello, my name is Michael I own a 1988 BMW 525i. My car has not been used for about 5 months (due to field time) the other day I went to drive my car but the emergency brake will not release.

I’m assuming that since the car has been sitting for so long that either the line froze or some rust build up is preventing it from releasing. When I tried to drive it the car did not move. Do you have any ideas what the problem may be? Can you tell me how I can fix this problem? Thank you for your time and patience.


Austin’s Reply
Michael, your assumption about the brake lines may be accurate. The first thing you should try is to remove the rear wheels and locate the brake cables. To find out if the brake cables are rusted or frozen, squirt some oil on them.

Then beat them lightly with a hammer, and work them with a pair of pliers. Engage and release the emergency brake inside the car several times as well. Worst case scenario, you can remove the cables all together to see if the wheels will move freely.

If it turns out that the cables aren’t causing the problem, it may be that the car doesn’t have enough power to maneuver the brake cables. If so, you might have another problem…..probably transmission/clutch or drive axle.


Update Michael wrote back to say, “Thank you for your timely response. I tried what you mentioned, and it worked like a charm. I also took what you mentioned about the transmission, clutch, and drive axle, and I will have them looked at as well. Again, thank you very much. I greatly appreciate your help and advice.”

Please share this with your friends,
Austin Davis

Posted in: Brakes

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