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MG MGF Technical - Handbrake failure

Has anyone experienced or heard of handbrake failure in an mgtf? My car was parked on my driveway, with the handbrake fully engaged, and after an hour rolled off causing
SJ Westwood

This is not an unknown happening - park a car and the metal is hot and therefor expanded, when the metal cools the brakes no longer hold the car in place.

If you can not apply the brake with 'super force' then it is best to also leave it in gear - I have to do this as my wife can never get the brake off if I use the 'super force' method.

Having said that - if the brake has actually failed and jumped off then you must have grounds for complaint, your best bet is to get an independant check done then go back to MGR and if they still say 'tough luck' contact you local trading standards officer.

Ted Newman

Get the AA or RAC to check the handbrake, if they say it has Failed due to Fault, then you have a case!.
Then go back to MGR, and kick off on them BIG time.
I would also phone MGR direct, over the dealers head as it where, and tell them the response you got, Sorry NOT good enough!.
If the handbrake has failed due to a fault They have to compensate you. No Question!


... if, however, you simply didn't put the brake on properly then you pay.

I have parked in gear every time since I was taught to drive back in the 60s (1960s before Mark jusmps in). Anything mechanical can fail as can all humans. better to be safe than sorry.

Your not alone. I had the very same thing happen at the start of the year. I checked over the braking system and there was absolutely nothing wrong with it. So under the circumstances I decided there was little point taking it up with MGR as there are nothing obvious wrong with the car (except for a cracked rear bumper, caused as a result of the incident) so I decided I would just get landed with a nice bill for them to look at it and a ‘perhaps you didn’t put it on’ response.
I had the bumper replaced by the MGF Centre and thought nothing more of it till I read an article in the Telegraph a few weeks later on the very subject, and how common it was.
It is cause by what Ted said, if the handbrake is applied when the discs are hot, they can contract as they cool and cause the brake to release, a drawback to rear disks IMO (not heard of it happening in drum braked cars).
Steve White

I've had the RAC check it. The report came back saying the handbrake was failing to hold properly. The examiner witnessed the problem first hand, and could see clearly the problem. However on seeing the report MGR responded by saying I should have left it in gear.
In response to the comment from John.......I maybe a woman (I'm sure you wouldn't made that comment if I was a man!)but I have been driving for long enough to know how to apply a handbrake correctly!!


Take no notice of John, he has been acting strange ever since he got all those letters and numbers after his name, must think he has some kind of PHD in MGFing.
Anyway when John learnt to drive you didnt need a handbrake you just said "STAY" and the horse didnt move!. :o)

As Ted says go to trading standards armed with your RAC report, You MUST have a case, so IMO MGR should pay up.

Good luck and let us know the outcome!.


PS.... perhaps in future leave it in gear as well :o)

Sorry about this rambling folks - but on a lighter note - I was always taught & always have parked in gear anyway. Found this was definatly not foolproof on my - at that time 14 month old 'F', - as my girlfreind jumped in it, started it up & landed in her front porch. Cost a few hundred quid. More expensive still, we are now married (!!!!). The F made a cracking wedding using wedding cars tunbridge wells car mind, we still have & cherish it & she now has a ZR...
D Smithson

>Anyway when John learnt to drive you didnt need a handbrake you just said "STAY" and the horse didnt move!. :o)


Cheers !
Dieter K.

Sonia, sorry if you took offence - none intended. Didn't read your email addy until just now; your name was shown as SJ Westwood and even down here where I live this is no indicator of gender.

Please read again from the top: Ted suggested it was best to park in gear; I suggested it was better to be safe than sorry; Mark suggested that if it was a failure you had to be compensated; I suggested that if there was no failure it would cost you. No mention of gender and no statement about your driving ability.

More general comment; as Ted and Steve have said, brake disks contract as they cool which can lead to slipping hand brakes - this is the reason many of us were taught to, or subsequentlt learnt to, park in gear. Even my wife learnt to park like that and she is a woman.


They do know about the handbrake problem.
Joe one

Hi all,
this is a well known problem ,especially on the type of handbrake used on the F. SAAB have been using this handbrake system for many years (from late 60´s) and as a fix you need to put gear in reverse before taking out the key!
Many SAAB owners have experienced the car start to "creep" after a longer drive when parking on a slope but still sitting in the car,key in,handbrake fully engaged and gear in neutral !
So always a gear engaged when parking seems a good thing...
BR, Carl.
Carl Blom

Apologies accepted John. I guess I'm a bit touchy as it seems that most people assume, being a woman, I left the handbrake off.
Moving on, I appreciate that I perhaps, in retrospect, would have been wiser to have left the car in gear, but in my naivity I assumed that the job of a handbrake was to hold the car in position. In a car of only 8 weeks old you could be forgiven for not expecting it to fail. (I also failed to mention my 15 year old son was in the car at the time, which is why I'm so keen to get this sorted)
I would also like to point out that it seems unbelievable that so many people are prepared to accept that this is just one of those things, however I feel that if it is to be expected surely all cars should come with a warning and a mandatory instruction that they should be left in gear at all times.

I checked my owners manual over the weekend and it states you must never leave your car in gear when parked. I have a '98 F so check your manual for the TF and if it says the same I'd go back to the dealer and point this out!
Good Luck and sorry to hear of your misfortune.


MGF 200MY.
"Starting and Driving.
After bringing the car to a stop, ALWAYS apply the handbrake and select the neutral gearbox position before releasing the footbrake and switching off the engine".
Geoff F.
G. Farthing

No handbrake is to ne trusted, that is why Automatics have a "PARK" position which locks the gearbox, for manuals I would recommend always leaving it in first, it is not so much putting up with faults, more that is what has always been done, and it's better to be safe than sorry. The other safe practise is to turn the steering wheel so that the front wheels turn into the kerb (if there is one) so that this will stop the car rolling downhill.
Mike (Mersea Office)

>However on seeing the report MGR responded by saying I should have left it in gear.

How were you to know it was faulty?
"The Highway Code" backs you and the manual up, leaving the car in gear is so 70's.

That said, I have been guilty of pulling the handbrake up 'till it stops', which frequently isn't good enough, you need to add another notch.

RE drum brakes, I had the midget up sticks and trundle away after leaving it on a cold morning for what was going to be a hot day, so it works both ways!
Will Munns

>The other safe practise is to turn the steering wheel so that the front wheels turn into the kerb (if there is one) so that this will stop the car rolling downhill.

This is another thing that will fail your test - wheels have to be parrallel with the road, otherwise people might assume you are turning the wheel to pull out
Will Munns

Will, not if they are turned into the kerb. I must have an old copy of the highway code, have they re-printed since the 60's ?
Mike (Mersea Office)

>have they re-printed since the 60's ?

The real bugger with the HC is that is is a 'code' and not law, so they can reprint it, changing the advice*, without telling anyone. The driving test is based on the Highway Code, but I assume that they have leaniency for HC knowlage that is out of date.

*EG it used to be acknowlaged that overraking should be compleated as fast as possible, as this is the safest method, now it is 'not exceeding the speed limit'.
Will Munns

Not quite so 70s Will, and, in fact, the Highway Code (a 902 version) does exactly the opposite of supporting your arguement.

The MGR Owners handbook refers to parking the vehicle. It does not cover the Highway Code and nor does it override the Highway Code.

226: Parking on hills. If you park on a hill you should :
- park close to the kerb and apply the handbrake firmly
- select a forward gear and turn your steering wheel away from the kerb when facing uphill
- select reverse gear and turn your steering wheel towards the kerb when facing downhill
- use 'park' if your car has an automatic gearbox.


Twas the way it was taught in the mid 90's, as I say - changes without much warning!
Will Munns

Good try Will but no cigar for you today!!!!

look on the Highway Code site from time to time © Crown copyright 2004 Revised 2004 is the current version.


Overtaking was always "as quickly as possible AND without exceeding speed limits". The HC has always advocated against breaking laws.

So using Johns link we should all resit our theory test , and see what the results are !, I passed it the last time I tried.
Mike :-D
Mike (Mersea Office)

No it wasn't, the "without exceeding speed limits" was not specfied, it was added later.

>Crown copyright 2004 Revised 2004

any change logs?
Will Munns

>any change logs?

probably not but ignorance has never been a defence in law.


but the HC is not law, it is volantry practise, except where otherwise specified by the law (anywhere the keyword MUST is used there is law somewhere to back it up)
Will Munns


JohnP, is that your final ' ' on the subject ?
Mike (Mersea Office)

Hi Will, long time no speak.

As this thread started with Sonia asking advice, can you and I agree to differ for the time being and pull it back on topic?

A minor correction to the comments from Susanne and Geoff - please note they have both made errors of ommission rather than fact but ...

MFTF Owners HandbookRCL 0549EN English 06/2003

On page 54 in the section dealing with BRAKES rather than DRIVING it states -

"Parking on slopes

Do not rely on the handbrake alone to hold the car.

Manual gearbox cars: Apply the handbrake and leave the car with a low forward gear selected when facing uphill and reverse gear selected when facing downhill.

Automatic gearbox cars: Apply the handbrake and leave the car with 'P' (Park) selected to lock the transmission."

So, if a representative of MGR or an appointed dealer (without going too deep for a legal definition) says, inter alia, that a car should be left in gear, they are merely following the advice given to owners.

Obviously Sonia is looking for some redress and I hope she gets it. Hopefully, we are all pleased that neither Sonia, nor her son, were harmed in the incident and that the only damage was vehicular.

Not yet Mike - but I had to wait until I got to my car as I was sure I had read advice to park in gear on a slope (other than in the Highway Code).

Just checked back over earlier posts and apologise unreservedly to Geoff & Susanne - neither appear to have a TF and probably don't have a TF handbook. Susanne specificaly sugested checking the TF book.


Thanks JohnP, apology accepted!

Thank you John. Apology accepted. There is no mention in the "Brakes" section of the MY2000 book (RCL0332ENG 3rd Edition).
Looks like MGR identified a problem and specified it in the later Handbooks.
Dodgy Legal Situation. "Engage gear because there is a Design Problem !! ".
Geoff F.
G. Farthing

Increasing litigation problems everyday. Which came first - Highway Code changes or MF Owners Handbok changes? Neither have a Changes Log so we may never know.

/tongue in cheek/

If I can help somebody then my living will not have been in vain.

/tongue out of cheek/

Mike said: So using Johns link we should all resit our theory test , and see what the results are !, I passed it the last time I tried. Mike :-D

Maybe we should.

We all are bombarded with constantly changing pressures on us and requirements of us, at home, at work and on the road. As we get older these become harder to assimilate. I work with a director who claims that she only remembers anything that she thinks she might need again.

When I got home this evening I asked Lyn (without reference to this bbs), how she parked her car and why: in 1st or reverse gear depending on up/down sloping road - because the Nissan Micra Owners Handbook told her to, as did her driving instructor. I checked the book and the wording was almost identical to that in the TF book.

We, on here, like to think that we are fairly enthusiastic and knowledgeable about driving; comments above, including mine before I looked things up, suggest otherwise. And we have to share the roads with ourselves.

/gross generalisation on/
If your copy of Highway Code is 4 years old and/or your vehicle is 4 years old, you are unlikely to a considered a "safe driver".
/gross generalisation off/

It seems that car manufacturers are even brighter than we are - not only do they use small print to save paying out but they even use 'voluntary codes of conduct'.

I'm going to spend this evening researching Highway Code before I try to get the rear subframe on my TF replaced under warranty.

Driving used to be so much fun!! And there was less traffic on the road!! And the horses stopped when you told them to!!


Just to throw another thing into the equation...

I'm pretty sure (but you'll have to wait until I get home on Tuesday evening so that I can confirm it) that the driver's manual for my Rover P6 (1971) also mentioned about leaving the car in gear when parking on a hill.

Sonia, as I mentioned in another recent thread on the subject, I also suffered a similar problem. In my case my F nearly hit my MGB, when it rolled down my driveway. Luckily the F came to rest before it hit the B.

Was the £1400 damage to your car, or to another car/object?


This thread was discussed between 24/10/2004 and 25/10/2004

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