Uneven braking: How to adjust hand brake

There is a common problem with the hand brake – uneven braking. It is rather easy to start looking for the problem in the brake caliper, worn pads or in the stretched brake cable. I did exactly that on my old, but warmly loved Honda Accord CB3 1991 year model. After trying all the possible solutions, I even consulted with a couple of mechanics, but they could not figure either. The solution was unbelievably simple. Here, I will show how to address the uneven braking by a mere adjustment of the cable tensions on the example of my Honda.

My car has failed car inspection with the abovementioned problem. Only the right rear wheel was locking when the hand brake was applied. I replaced the caliper, but it did not help. I tried adjustment of the brake cables, but this did not help either. The image below shows the brake cables after my attempt to adjust the brakes.

The main problem that I found is in the sequence of hand brake adjustment which is not clearly explained in the owner manual either. I found a video on Youtube that was explaining the proper sequence. If the steps are skipped, there will be no effect. The adjusted brakes will still not work.

The solution was rather simple, but requires the proper sequencing. So, here is the step-by-step guide how to adjust the brakes.

  1. Raise rear side of the car so both wheels can freely spin
  2. Release the hand brake cable as much as possible (not to mention that you need to reach the tension bolt by disassembling some part of your car interior. See manual for that)
  3. Properly pump the brakes by pressing on the foot brake
  4. Tighten the brakes cable until the lever snaps to the first snap position.
  5. Now is the time to tighten the adjustment bolt on the hand brake lever until the brake calipers do start tightening on the brake disks. There should appear some even friction when you try to spin the wheels. Normally, the bracket that holds the brake cable should come even as well.
  6. Assemble back the housing access to the hand brake lever.

That’s it!!! The job is easier to do in two people as it requires running around the car to check the ease of spinning of the wheels during the adjustment, but I did the adjustments myself. So, you can as well.

Here is that video that I found the solution from. It helps visualizing where and what to do.

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