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Parking brake not releasing intermittently

efusco

Moderator - Model S & X forums
Mar 29, 2009
5,421
666
Nixa, Missouri, United States
For probably the last two months, and maybe once every week or two and probably only when trying to back out of a spot (ie. when going from Park directly to reverse [update: or Drive]) one of my parking brakes has failed to release...the driver's side rear I'm pretty sure.

To be clear, I've got over 59,000 miles on the car and have experience the issue of the parking brake pads sticking to the disks, particularly in the winter, but that is not what this is at all. With the sticking issue once you started driving it would break loose. In the situation I'm having the brake stays locked and drags even while backing up and if I shift to Drive it will stay locked as well and continue to drag. To resolve it I have to stop, put the car back in Park, then can go to either R or D and it is fine.

So, rare/infrequent issue, not brake sticking, actually failing to unlock. I haven't called the SC yet as 1)They're 200+ miles away and it is more of an annoyance than a problem, and I have my next regular service in about a month or so and was planning to have it addressed at that time. Posting here for others who might later experience something like this and to see if anyone else has had the issue and what resolution was arrived at.

edit:
Here's the video:
 
Last edited by a moderator:

pgiralt

Supporting Member
Jun 16, 2013
1,520
155
Cary, NC
I had an issue where one of the parking brakes would not engage at all. The car actually displayed an error saying that the brake was not engaged and to be careful because the car could move on its own. Ended up being a defective brake mechanism on only one side and got replaced.

Maybe they only display the error in the case where it fails to engage.
 

efusco

Moderator - Model S & X forums
Mar 29, 2009
5,421
666
Nixa, Missouri, United States
I had an issue where one of the parking brakes would not engage at all. The car actually displayed an error saying that the brake was not engaged and to be careful because the car could move on its own. Ended up being a defective brake mechanism on only one side and got replaced.

Maybe they only display the error in the case where it fails to engage.

Interesting, perhaps you're right.
 

efusco

Moderator - Model S & X forums
Mar 29, 2009
5,421
666
Nixa, Missouri, United States
Update: I probably need to call Tesla tomorrow. Today this occurred again (had happened last night too) so I suspect it's becoming more frequent. This time it also occurred when I put it in drive (as opposed to reverse as I thought was the trigger in my original post). This time I recorded a video as soon as I noticed that the brake locked again. You can see from when it is in drive, listen to the squeal when I try to drive, then see it resolve by doing the dance of Park then Drive again.

Tesla Model S Parking Brake Malfunction - YouTube
 
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Cyclone

Cyclonic Member ((.oO))
Jan 12, 2015
5,058
1,143
Charlotte, NC
Ouch Evan. I have no clue what the actual problem is not any advice, but it would sound like whatever mechanism pushes/retracts the parking brake is failing intermittently.
 
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efusco

Moderator - Model S & X forums
Mar 29, 2009
5,421
666
Nixa, Missouri, United States
Got my car back from service. They do not disassemble the brake caliper, so cannot definitively confirm that there is a mechanical issue that cause the problem, but their diagnostics did show abnormal spikes in the signals that trigger and control the worm drive that closes and opens the calipers in the left rear parking brake assembly so it is almost certainly the problem. The tech speculated that this is possibly related to a lubricant failure or something similar causing the worm drive to stick when the car is put into D or R. Then when put back into Park the high energy spike broke loose the sticking worm drive and then it would release more easily when put back into D or R again. He had not previously seen this issue and they replaced only the side I noted the problem on and that showed the abnormal energy spikes on diagnostics. He told me he wished I'd have recorded the right (passenger) side as well just in case it was also having issues, but I didn't think to do that for a couple reasons... 1) I was driving the car so no easy way to do that alone, and 2) I felt the pulling from the left rear only (not that the right rear might also have been partially locked). Hopefully all is well and the right side won't be an issue.

As an aside, they updated my 12v battery jump post to the latest design and did a wheel balance/rotation for a mild low/moderate speed shimmy I had. All warranty (extended).
 

NigelM

Recovering Member
Apr 3, 2011
13,386
555
Northern Virginia
For probably the last two months, and maybe once every week or two and probably only when trying to back out of a spot (ie. when going from Park directly to reverse [update: or Drive]) one of my parking brakes has failed to release...the driver's side rear I'm pretty sure.

To be clear, I've got over 59,000 miles on the car and have experience the issue of the parking brake pads sticking to the disks, particularly in the winter, but that is not what this is at all. With the sticking issue once you started driving it would break loose. In the situation I'm having the brake stays locked and drags even while backing up and if I shift to Drive it will stay locked as well and continue to drag. To resolve it I have to stop, put the car back in Park, then can go to either R or D and it is fine.

Same exact problem appeared 3 days ago, managed to fix it by trial and error as you did. Occurred again yesterday, same drivers side rear wheel; car is going in for inspection tomorrow. Coincidentally, I'm also over 60,000 miles.
 

NigelM

Recovering Member
Apr 3, 2011
13,386
555
Northern Virginia
Some pieces broken off the brake pads caused the lock-up. Service says this can happen if the car is standing for too long, especially if wet beforehand....However, in my case the car had been at the airport the previous week for 5 days and then I'd driven it 60 miles home (in the dry) the night before, doesn't really account for the repeated problem but new pads seems to have fixed it in any case.
 

Owyheelrf

New Member
Jan 20, 2018
1
0
Banks, Oregon
My Model S90 suffers from the parking brake sticking and not releasing. This happens after I wash the car, or when its rained very hard and the car has sat for more than 24 hours. It makes a loud clank. Frequently both sides. I also live at the end of 0.5 miles of gravel road which may exacerbate the problem. Service saw no problems when inspecting the brake, but the tone of the sound is VERY disconcerting.
 

gmikew421

Member
Sep 16, 2017
9
3
Minneapolis
Me, too, Owyheelrf. 5 month old S75D. After being in park overnight, I put it in reverse and it doesn't move. I apply some slight pressure to the accelerator and there is a loud "clunk" which sounds like the parking breaks releasing. Very disconcerting. Service appt in 2 days. I'll try to record it. The car seems fine the rest of the day. I hope I can reproduce it for the tech.
 

croman

Active Member
Nov 21, 2016
4,732
6,719
Chicago, IL
Me, too, Owyheelrf. 5 month old S75D. After being in park overnight, I put it in reverse and it doesn't move. I apply some slight pressure to the accelerator and there is a loud "clunk" which sounds like the parking breaks releasing. Very disconcerting. Service appt in 2 days. I'll try to record it. The car seems fine the rest of the day. I hope I can reproduce it for the tech.

Normal. Try to run the car fast and using physical brake before parking overnight after rain or car wash.
 

SSSimon

Member
May 18, 2015
12
18
Canberra ACT
Had a friend visit in his S85. It was a wet day and he parked in my garage. When he went to leave the PB would not come off. We tried tow mode, then shutting down the car, then disconnected the 12V battery. Nothing would release the PB. As he tried to move the car I was checking and realized that only the left PB was staying locked. Lots of noise a torque lift, where as right side no visible or audible issues. Tesla help-line said they'd send a tech the next day as it was Sunday afternoon. After a meal-break we decided to jack the car, remove the left rear wheel can check the brake caliper connections. With the car chocked and the wheel off. The S85 has a separate PB caliper. As my friend engaged R I happed the PB solenoid with a hammer and it let go. We put the wheel back on and the car went normally however the Park Brake error that was there from the start persisted. Although the car could be driven cruise control and AP(1) would not engage. Anyone else experienced this?
 

efusco

Moderator - Model S & X forums
Mar 29, 2009
5,421
666
Nixa, Missouri, United States
Normal. Try to run the car fast and using physical brake before parking overnight after rain or car wash.
While common, I would not refer to it as "normal". When there is active heavy rain when you get home, there's no opportunity to dry the brakes. Likewise with snow/slush conditions. While I do try to use the physical brakes after a car wash, it doesn't always completely do the trick.
 

gmikew421

Member
Sep 16, 2017
9
3
Minneapolis
Me, too, Owyheelrf. 5 month old S75D. After being in park overnight, I put it in reverse and it doesn't move. I apply some slight pressure to the accelerator and there is a loud "clunk" which sounds like the parking breaks releasing. Very disconcerting. Service appt in 2 days. I'll try to record it. The car seems fine the rest of the day. I hope I can reproduce it for the tech.

Service reiterated many here who describe this as "normal". Nothing to be done. It will be better in Summer. Doesn't seem quite right to me, but I'll live with it.
 

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