VW Polo 1.4 - VW Polo handbrake problem - papageoff

My granddaughter has a VW POlo 1.4 07 plate. Has been happily using it since May. Two days ago she went to take the car out and found that although she had released the handbrake thye car refused to budge. She phoned garage who said " it's because of the rain, trey rocking it " She phoned me and I went round to have a look. As she said the car was impossible to move. Eventually we got thh VW people out and they freed it up but couldn't guarantee that this wouldn't happen again. They suggested leaving it parked in gear with the handbrake off! My grandaughter is now somewhat reluctant to drive the car . The mechanic still mentioned rain as a probable cause of the problem. I find this disturbing. Surely no car's handbrake operation should be affected by a little rain let alone a relatively new VW. Are you aware of this problem. I would appreciate your advice.


VW Polo 1.4 - VW Polo handbrake problem - Peter.N.

Has the car been kept in a garage? if so, and its been put away when wet the humidity will remain quite high and the drums will rust, this rust causes the shoes to stick to the drums. Once free you shouldn't have any more trouble, parking it without the handbrake on should prevent it from happening again, but make sure you leave it in gear.

VW Polo 1.4 - VW Polo handbrake problem - papageoff

Point taken but car was outside and had been used the day before so I wouldn't have thought rust would take hold overnight.

VW Polo 1.4 - VW Polo handbrake problem - Peter.N.

the only alternative is that the handbrake cable is sticking, but that's only usually caused by rust and unless its an old car you shouldn't have that problem. It could be that it was driven through some water which got inside the brake drums, although this is only something that normally happens when the car has been standing for some time. I would hardly think that the brakes are suddenly going to lock on when you are driving it, I wouldn't worry about it.

Edited by Peter.N. on 14/08/2010 at 18:37

VW Polo 1.4 - VW Polo handbrake problem - Jon P

We've had a 2000 1.4 VW Lupo in the family for 149,000 miles now and the rear drums have always sounded rough whenever the car has been standing for any length of time. Within a couple of miles of town driving, they quieten down. I used to 'clean them up' by pulling the handbrake gently once on the move.

On many occasions, the handbrake has stuck on in the manner described. I often had to be quite brutal to free them (usually it was actually only one, though it could be either or both) by pulling away regardless - it is usually quite a loud crack/bang. It seems to be most effective in reverse.

On a couple of occasions, it has got so regular that I had the rear brakes cleaned out by the VW franchise - I'm afraid it is the case that "they all do that sir/madam".

VW Polo 1.4 - VW Polo handbrake problem - morris121

Just had the same problem on my Polo 05 and it turns out it was bad cylinder, hence the reason it locked the rear wheels. Dont be ripped off by QF and the like, they will say you need to replace drums/ shoes. It sounds very similar and I wouldnt be suprised if it was a bad cylinder. I got the problem solved for around £25.

VW Polo 1.4 - VW Polo handbrake problem - Jeremy H

My 57 Polo lives outside and if it's been wet overnight there is the tiniest of jerks as the rear brakes free off and the first two applications produce a slight grating sound at the micro-film of rust grinds off the iron drum. See how much rust is on your discs after a damp night.

I am surprised that your brakes really stuck, though.

A BIG WARNING about Polo and many other brakes. As the friction materials are asbestos-free and much harder than the once were, both discs and drums wear out much sooner while the lining material goes on for ages.

The problem with rear drums is that these wear a large lip. In the case of my Polo, used 99% with me only so no weight on the back, at 30,000 miles I only just managed to get the drums off over the shoes. The Polo is a pain on that it is very difficult to slacken off the brake shoes, so don't look for help there. With a large round file I took a 2-mm lip off both drums.

You will see much the same lip on the discs. On my Polo the disc thickness new is 23-mm and the wear limit is to 19-mm. At 35,000 I ground a 2-mm lip off both sides of both front discs. The original pads are 70% on the way to replacement, so they should see me to 60,000+. New discs at 70,000? Do both at the same time, I suppose.

VW Polo 1.4 - VW Polo handbrake problem - steve

We have the same car and I can tell you exactly what the problem is.

The problem is caused by corrosion on the moving surfaces of the brake shoes themselves. The root cause is because there is no copper grease applied during manufacture. After a couple of years mild corrosion sets in and the shoes do not move freely. It is worse if the car is left for several days. The solution is to remove the rear brake shoes and have them cleaned (or replaced - the set is about £20 at euro car parts) and then have some copper grease applied to the moving parts.

Take the car to a trusted local old fashioned garage and it should cost you about £50 labour plus parts. Take it to a VW dealer and the sky is the limit - sorry you need new hubs brake shoes calipers etc etc etc - anything to make it a £400+ bill.

In the meantime until you get it fixed the answer is to leave the car in gear and with the handbrake off.


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