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Advice for parking Model S on a very steep driveway

ive never heard of the brakes failing, you can manually deploy the parking brake as well by holding the parking button on the stalk for a few extra seconds, the light will come on.

when my brakes were deployed as a part of a ground fault issue... that car wasnt going ANYWHERE. i removed the wheels to try to pull the calipers off and reset them, and even with 0 power or signal they were locked onto the rotor.
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Breaker of Ignore Buttons
Jan 6, 2020
Thank! Is there any consensus that with engaging the parking brakes by long pressing Park, wheel chocks are unnecessary on a very steep driveway?
Risk vs reward. You reduce your risk further, by going with wheelchocks AND the parking brake.
Whats the spend/labor associated with getting/using wheel chocks and turning your front wheels to full lock, worth to you?
Okay I'll just get a couple of wheel chocks then and remember to long press on Park to engage the parking brake.

By default, does the car not engage the parking brakes? What brakes are engaged by default when Park is not long pressed?

I'll be parking at an Ambassador's Residence in DC so if the brakes fail, it will be a diplomatic situation as the car will crash into the Ambassador's house.
Okay you all have convinced me that the car should hold.

Just to be on the safe side, I'm going to put two bricks at each rear wheel.

Can someone explain to me though if the car by default does not engage the parking brake and long pressing "Park" is what engages the parking brake? If I don't long press "Park," what's holding the car?
So long as the surface isn't icy or otherwise slippery I'd not give this a second thought.
As @ucmndd stated, the brakes holding are not sufficient protection if you are parked on top of snow or ice type of conditions. In that situation it has nothing to do with the brakes not holding but the tires not having sufficient traction, tires break static friction adhesion to the surface, and the car slides down the incline. There was a case I recall a couple years ago where that happened to someone, they tried to argue the brakes didn't work, but I recall video seeming to show rear wheels still being locked up. This is the scenario where some chocks could help, but they also would ideally want to clear the surface below the chocks and tires first if you had the ability to do this.


Active Member
Oct 29, 2016
I think the only issue is ice. I’ve had cars with all season tires slide on my driveway (it’s 3-4 degrees - not super steep).

Just guessing but you probably need a snow - melt - freeze cycle to have ice under the tires.

Without ice, I’d be very confident in the parking brakes.


Well-Known Member
Mar 10, 2016
Can someone explain to me though if the car by default does not engage the parking brake and long pressing "Park" is what engages the parking brake? If I don't long press "Park," what's holding the car?
It’s the electric parking brake in either case. I had speculated at some point in the past that the long press was like an “extra” hold with more pressure on the caliper/rotor, but others said that wasn’t the case and it’s all the same thing.

So. Long press just in case. ;) But the brake is plenty powerful enough to lock the wheels and hold the car even on a very steep slope.


Well-Known Member
Mar 10, 2016
Long Press of parking brake is designed for emergency stopping while driving, according to the owner's manual. I don't think they add anything further than a standard press once parked.
There is a visible difference in the instrument cluster between simply tapping the park button after a drive and holding it down for a second or two. In the latter case, the parking brake symbol illuminates in red. No visual indication at all in the former.

Whether or not that actually does something different is up for debate, but it’s interesting the car chooses to visualize the two behaviors differently.

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