How to Adjust Parking Brake on S70/V70/XC70/C70 Volvos
Is your Volvo’s parking brake not holding it on an incline? It’s likely a simple handbrake cable adjustment. Here’s how.
Hello, this is my second post here tonight. I apologize and hopefully you won’t kill me for that. The topic is different so I did not want to merge it with the other (more important for me) subject.
Again, Volvo V70 1998, 166k miles. Hand brake is not really working. When I got the car, it was not working at all. So I opened the rear brakes, detached the discs, the hand brake pads were gone. Ordered new ones, replaced. Adjusted the “spacers” (?) inside the disks and the screw behid the hand-brake lever in passenger cabin. Used the car for few months. Did not see a real improvement. So I thought the cables are bad and replaced those. Still no improvement.
So what would you suggest?
I admit that I might not adjust the “spacers” inside the discs properly. But when I overdid it, the wheel would make the funny noises during every turn. Could it be that my rear brake discs are worn / distorted? (I think I overheated them at least once – this Volvo is my first car with automatic transmission and on a long descent, I came to a point where the brakes stopped working and the car got into a very terrible loud vibrating state (it went away when I released the brake pedal). Replacing the rear discs is not that difficult (though not completely cheap, is it).
The parking brakes can be refered to as drum brakes. I am going to assume that you did not use brake cleaner on the drum (rotor) where the new pads will rub. That needs to be done, as well as using brake cleaner on the new shoes.
Once the rotor is back on, adjust the star wheel until the shoes touch the drum firmly. Then back off 2 clicks, the wheel should now turn easily. Of course, you need to do this on both sides and slacken the cables before you start.
The cable adjuster in the cabin needs to be tightened. Watch the bar that connects to both cables if you can. As you tighten, the bar should remain perpendicular at all times – meaning that both rear brakes are going to be treated equally.
Parking brakes are meant to hold the car when it is parked. They are NOT intended to stop a moving car, and will not do so at speed. If you are really good, you can lock up the wheels but they will overheat rapidly if used for a normal stop.
Looking for parking brake pad info? Here’s another fine post regarding parking brake pad replacement/adjustment.