Trim removal tool (or something flat, dull, and hard) that won’t scratch plastic surfaces
10mm long socket, extension bar, ratchet
1. According to the Haynes manual, a properly functioning e-brake system will allow the lever to travel between 1-5 clicks. If it travels less than 3 clicks, there is a change the brakes are dragging.
2. Block the front wheels, raise the rear of the vehicle and support on jackstands. Alternatively, you could do the inspection using a flashlight and mirror without lifting the car.
3. Remove the trim piece around the e-brake lever by first raising the lever as high as possible. Using the trim removal tool, start from the rear corners and move your way forwards.
4. Remove the rear cupholders in the same way you removed the first trim piece. Be careful and avoid scratching the console with the sharp clips.
5. Remove the rubber shroud on the e-brake lever. First locate the clip on the underside of the handle as shown. Push in that clip while pulling the shroud forward (towards the dash).
6. Raise and lower the e-brake lever a few times to settle the hardware.
7. With the lever fully released (down position), rotate the rear wheels and listen for any drag on the brakes.
8. Using a mirror, inspect the stops at the rear of the caliper and see if the lever hooks are touching the stops when the e-brake lever is fully released.
9. The driver’s side cable (at least on my car) is the first to get tightened by the e-brake cable due to the apparent design. I observed that my driver’s side e-brake WAS dragging significantly more than the passenger side, and I also observed the lever was not at the stop (on the rear of the caliper) when I released the e-brake. You may want to keep this in mind as you adjust the e-brake.
10. Loosen/tighten the adjusting nut next to the shift lever as necessary. The Haynes manual says to loosen the nut just until the lever touches the stop, then loosen the nut one full turn.
11. As a check, the Haynes manual states to lift the e-brake lever 3 clicks and attempt to rotate the rear wheels. It should rotate with some difficulty, while the 4th click should lock the rear wheels. Although I suspect you may need to use a 5th or 6th click to hold the car on a steep hill.
12. When the e-brake lever is released (down position), you should not experience any drag.
13. With the lever lifted as high as possible, re-install the plastic trim and the rear cupholders.
14. If you lifted the car, gently lower it to the ground.
15. Remove the wheel blocks (if you used any).