Emergency Brakes When Regular Brakes Fail

Hi,
If you lost your brakes, the emergency brakes are used, but they will not stop you right away (I did a test). With an automatic transmission in an old 79 Chev station wagon, is it ok to shift
to low gear (to slow down) first when you are traveling, say 50 MPH?
Thanks in advance, Brad
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Brad wrote:

Probably not. It is likely that that would lock up the rear wheels and cause a possible loss of control, although it would slow you right down.
nate
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"N8N" wrote:

It would not be a problem at all to downshift (just not reverse) Hydromatics are locked out at engaging at speed above which could cause control loss or damage to drive train. You can even select first at 80 but it will not engage until between 25 and 40 mph (depending on rear axle ratio) and instead will go into second gear until it gets to a safe downshift shift speed. The only time you "might" ever lose traction momentarily would be on very slick pavement because a 79 chevy wagon is not light in the rear end and it will take a lot to break it loose and the down shift is not that harsh anyway.
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Um, most attomatics wnt hit first till they slow down enough in 2nd. From personal experience, but this was a much older car. I would use a combo of trans downshifting, and e-braking. Anything to bring down the speed!
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if your regular brakes are overheated, unless you're driving a corvette or some other car with an exotic e-brake setup, hitting the e-brake is actually going to get you LESS than hitting the regular brake pedal. reason? they use the SAME brakes! (well, the rear set of your normal brakes anyhow. with the exception being like i said, on the corvette, & possibly a very few others). your BEST bet is if you HAVE to do lots of quick hard stops like that, & don't already have metallic pads, get them. secondly, you could try cross-drilling your rotors to improve cooling (motorcycles & auto racers have been doing it successfully for years). when brakes are that overheated though, continuing to hold the pedal down will only increase the time it takes before you will be able to use them again. the sooner you let off, the sooner they'll cool, and the sooner they'll work again. they can cool down surprisingly fast, so if you have enough distance, let off the brakes for a second or two if you can, then re-apply. i know from experience that the amount of braking you'll get from your trans may slow you down a bit, but it wont bring you anywhere near a stop (i.e. if you're racing from light to light, & you're at 80 & realize you have no brakes, dropping the trans down into low might get you slowed down to about 65 before you go flying thru the intersection).
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I had to use the emergency brakes once when an brake hose on my old

Rey
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