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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey,

This is my second impreza. I have owned many manuals over my lifetime, but never had an instance where the parking brake freezes in place in cold weather.

I bought my 2018 impreza early last year and this is our first winter together. Recently, when the temperature dropped below freezing, I went to start my car in the morning. When I attempted to depart, it was clear the parking brake was still on. Further inspection demonstrated no tension in the cable until a certain point. I took it to the local mechanic who siad nothing was wrong.

The next day it snowed, car was fine.

Third day, below 30 degrees, same thing parking brake. I moved the car to a sunny spot and it freed up.

I've never had this problem before despite many cars. Is there something i can look for, clean out, or cover up to prevent the brake from getting stuck in place. It's very strange to park your car without putting the brake on...

Thanks all in advance.
 

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ModFather
2019 Subaru Impreza Sport 5 Dr. Manual Shift
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There was a recent discussion thread about this somewhere here. The consensus was the brake should not freeze due to how the parking brake works. It's a set of shoes inside the rear disk, the thought was it's going to be difficult to get that area wet enough to freeze. The start of that discussion was not using the parking brake but having the car roll, slowly, while in gear on a hill.

So much for that theory.

In my mind there can be two things happening. There is enough moisture in the area where the brake shoes are to be doing this or water has somehow gotten into the cable sheath that houses the brake cable.

Either way I'm not sure what the best thing to do is in the short term other than not use the parking brake if it's going to go below freezing. Park in first gear and if you are on a hill turn towards the curb.

Did you drive though a lot of water at any point? Enough to get it inside the brakes or the cable area? I suppose for the cable you could spray WD-40 in the area where the cable goes into the sheath for the brake cable. Have someone work the lever while spraying WD-40 stands for Water Displacement it may help. Probably not practical though if you don't have a garage to do this. If it's the parking brake shoes that's a little more tricky, that's just going to have to evaporate on it's own. That can be sped up by parking in a warm garage or maybe pointing a heater at the rear wheel area.

This is how the parking brake area looks under the rear rotors.

Wheel Tire Light Automotive tire Tread

Automotive tire Rim Automotive wheel system Circle Auto part
 

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The Subaru parking brake is almost exactly the same as my old Volvo parking brake was, and having the parking brake shoes themselves freeze was almost unheard of. If you do decide to go the 'WD-40 up the cable's wazoo' route, if I were you I'd follow up with some thicker lubricant once the WD-40 starts to dry out!

BTW, on that lower picture; notice the brake pad shadows? That's what happens when you brake hard to a stop, then leave the brake engaged at that spot. Experienced drivers know that it helps if you allow a little bit of 'brake creep' while the rotors are cooling down...
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Brief update.

So if it's frozen and I reverse, it doesn't stick. but the moment, I go forward, they pop back into place.
This is very frustrating because I can't possibly imagine why it should be doing this.

Thank you for the photos.
 

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ModFather
2019 Subaru Impreza Sport 5 Dr. Manual Shift
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There is an auto adjust mechanism on shoes that when you reverse and hit the brakes it can tighten the shoes. However, I don't think that's the case when they are just parking brakes. I'd have to look at the service manual.

Update: I don't see an auto adjust cable


Font Rectangle Parallel Number Screenshot

Map Font Parallel Auto part Diagram

Font Art Parallel Circle Pattern


That's just odd what's happening.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I'm hesitant to think its a stuck caliper because of the inconsistencies. I've avoided using the parking brake in the cold. However, I've been brand loyal to Subaru because of their cold-weather protections and this is extremely disappointing.
 

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When I attempted to depart, it was clear the parking brake was still on. Further inspection demonstrated no tension in the cable until a certain point. I took it to the local mechanic who siad nothing was wrong.

[...]

Third day, below 30 degrees, same thing parking brake. I moved the car to a sunny spot and it freed up.
How did you disengage the parking brake to take the car to the mechanic or to move it to a sunny spot?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I put it down by pushing in the button. But after same you can't put any tension in the line.

Now it stays on if you use the parking brake at all, no matter how short a period. I think it might be a blown caliper? I wonder if that's under the CPO...

Stefan
 

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ModFather
2019 Subaru Impreza Sport 5 Dr. Manual Shift
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I put it down by pushing in the button. But after same you can't put any tension in the line.

Now it stays on if you use the parking brake at all, no matter how short a period. I think it might be a blown caliper? I wonder if that's under the CPO...

Stefan
The caliper for the disk is not involved in the parking brake operation, that is a wheel cylinder that pushes out the parking brake shoes. I'm not saying it's not a caliper issue but they are independent systems is all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The caliper for the disk is not involved in the parking brake operation, that is a wheel cylinder that pushes out the parking brake shoes. I'm not saying it's not a caliper issue but they are independent systems is all.
That is a most fair point. I can only say that I know this is a parking brake issue. So it has to be the rear drums. Could it be a cable problem?
 

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ModFather
2019 Subaru Impreza Sport 5 Dr. Manual Shift
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That is a most fair point. I can only say that I know this is a parking brake issue. So it has to be the rear drums. Could it be a cable problem?
I could be the cable binding. I know back when I lived in Jersey, part of the vehicle inspection was having a working parking brake. We had bad winters and there was a lot of road salt used. The only time a lot of people ever tried the parking brake was during the yearly inspection. Sometimes it would not budge due to being rusted in place and other times I might stick on. I worked at a gas station that did inspections.

The only way to know what's going on is to trace the cables and also remove the rear rotor/drum setup.
 
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