Does Putting Parking Brake On Prevent Towing?

The article “Does Putting Parking Brake On Prevent Towing?” delves into the question of whether engaging the parking brake on a vehicle can effectively prevent it from being towed. In this informative piece, you will discover the mechanism behind parking brakes and their role in ensuring your vehicle’s security. By examining the potential benefits and limitations of utilizing this safety feature, this article aims to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of how the parking brake can serve as a safeguard against unauthorized towing.

Does Putting Parking Brake On Prevent Towing?

The Purpose of the Parking Brake

The parking brake, also known as the handbrake or emergency brake, is a crucial component in every vehicle. Its primary purpose is to prevent the vehicle from moving when parked. While the main function of the parking brake is to secure the vehicle in place, it also plays a significant role in towing situations. Understanding the importance of the parking brake and its impact on towing is essential for every driver.

Basic Function of the Parking Brake

The basic function of the parking brake is to engage the rear brakes independently of the regular braking system. Unlike the regular hydraulic brakes, which rely on the vehicle’s braking system, the parking brake utilizes a separate system to lock the rear wheels in place. This is achieved by either applying tension to the rear brake cables or through a mechanical linkage mechanism. By engaging the parking brake, you are essentially adding an extra level of security to prevent the vehicle from rolling or moving.

Importance of the Parking Brake

The importance of the parking brake cannot be overstated. When properly engaged, it provides an additional layer of safety, especially on inclines or when parking on uneven surfaces. It serves as a backup measure in case the primary braking system fails or in emergency situations. Furthermore, the parking brake is crucial for maintaining the longevity of the hydraulic braking system, as it helps distribute the weight evenly and prevents unnecessary strain on the primary braking components.

Understanding Towing Process

Towing refers to the act of pulling or hauling a disabled or illegally parked vehicle using another vehicle, typically a tow truck. It is essential to understand the towing process to fully comprehend the impact of the parking brake on towing situations.

How Towing Works

Towing involves attaching a tow truck to the disabled or parked vehicle through various towing mechanisms. These mechanisms include a tow bar, tow dolly, or a flatbed trailer. The tow truck uses its power and towing equipment to safely and effectively transport the vehicle to its intended destination. Towing requires the disabled vehicle to be in a neutral gear and have its wheels free to roll, enabling the tow truck to pull it along.

Types of Tow Trucks

There are various types of tow trucks designed for different towing scenarios. The most common types include flatbed tow trucks, hook and chain tow trucks, and wheel-lift tow trucks. Each type has its unique features and mechanisms for securing and towing vehicles. The type of tow truck used depends on factors like the size and weight of the disabled vehicle, as well as the towing company’s capabilities.

Effects of Parking Brake on Towing

Engaging the parking brake during towing can have both positive and negative effects. The impact of the parking brake on towing depends on several factors and can vary from one towing scenario to another.

Factors That Determine the Impact of the Parking Brake on Towing

Several factors determine the impact of the parking brake on towing. These factors include the type of parking brake mechanism, the condition of the parking brake system, the weight and size of the disabled vehicle, and the towing method used. Understanding these factors is crucial in assessing whether engaging the parking brake is beneficial or detrimental during towing operations.

The Role of the Parking Brake in Preventing Towing

The parking brake can play a vital role in preventing towing, especially in situations where a vehicle is illegally parked or when unauthorized towing is attempted. When engaged, the parking brake adds an additional level of resistance, making it more difficult for a tow truck or another vehicle to move or tow the disabled vehicle. However, it is important to note that the effectiveness of the parking brake in preventing towing may vary depending on the circumstances and the strength of the tow truck’s equipment.

Potential Risks and Limitations

While engaging the parking brake during towing can offer some benefits, there are also potential risks and limitations to consider. It is important to be aware of these risks before deciding whether to rely on the parking brake as a preventive measure during towing.

Does Putting Parking Brake On Prevent Towing?

Potential Risks Associated with Using the Parking Brake During Towing

One potential risk of using the parking brake during towing is that it may put unnecessary stress on the parking brake system. Towing a vehicle with the parking brake engaged can cause excessive heat and wear on the brake components, potentially leading to damage or failure. Additionally, relying solely on the parking brake to prevent towing may not be effective in all situations, especially if the tow truck’s equipment is extremely powerful or if the parking brake mechanism is weak or faulty.

Limitations and Exceptions in Preventing Towing with the Parking Brake

There are certain limitations and exceptions to consider when relying on the parking brake to prevent towing. In some cases, the strength of a tow truck’s equipment may overpower the parking brake, rendering it ineffective. Additionally, if the parking brake mechanism is not properly maintained or if there are underlying issues with the system, it may not provide the necessary resistance to prevent towing. It is crucial to regularly inspect and maintain the parking brake system to ensure its optimal functionality during towing situations.

Best Practices for Preventing Towing

While the parking brake can be a useful tool in preventing unauthorized towing, it is important to follow best practices to ensure its effectiveness and avoid potential risks.

Proper Use of the Parking Brake during Non-Towing Situations

To maintain the parking brake’s functionality and effectiveness, it is crucial to use it properly during non-towing situations as well. When parking your vehicle on an incline or uneven terrain, applying the parking brake can prevent rolling or unintended movement. It is important to engage the parking brake fully and ensure that it securely holds the vehicle in place before exiting the vehicle.

Additional Precautions to Prevent Unauthorized Towing

In addition to using the parking brake, there are additional precautions you can take to prevent unauthorized towing. These precautions include parking in well-lit and monitored areas, using anti-theft devices such as steering wheel locks or wheel immobilizers, and being aware of local parking regulations to avoid illegal parking situations. By taking these extra measures, you can further reduce the risk of your vehicle being towed without your consent.

Difference Between Parking Brake and Emergency Brake

There is often confusion surrounding the terms “parking brake” and “emergency brake,” leading many to believe they are two separate mechanisms. However, the parking brake and emergency brake are one and the same.

Understanding the Distinction between the Parking Brake and the Emergency Brake

The terms “parking brake” and “emergency brake” are often used interchangeably to refer to the same mechanism. They both serve the purpose of immobilizing the vehicle when parked and providing an additional safety measure. While the term “parking brake” is more commonly used in the automotive industry, the term “emergency brake” implies its use in emergency situations where immediate stopping or braking is required.

Misconceptions and Common Myths

There are various misconceptions and common myths surrounding the parking brake and its role in preventing towing. One common myth is that engaging the parking brake during towing will automatically prevent the tow truck from moving the disabled vehicle. However, as mentioned earlier, the effectiveness of the parking brake in preventing towing depends on several factors, and it may not always serve as a foolproof method to deter unauthorized towing.


In conclusion, the parking brake plays a vital role in preventing your vehicle from moving when parked and can have some impact on towing situations. Understanding the functions and limitations of the parking brake is crucial for every driver to ensure their safety and the security of their vehicle. While the parking brake can provide an additional level of resistance against unauthorized towing, it is important to consider the specific circumstances and factors involved before solely relying on it as a preventive measure. By following best practices and taking additional precautions, you can minimize the risks of unauthorized towing and ensure the proper use of the parking brake in all situations.