How To Adjust Emergency Brake On 2003 Nissan Altima

Sometimes you need to know how to adjust he emergency brakes on your 2003 Nissan Altima. As a 2003 Nissan Altima has drum-in disk emergency brakes, they can be overlooked if you have new rotors and pads replaced, leaving the drums to not match the level of braking power that the disks give you. Therefore, the rear drum and emergency brake lever can be adjusted to help get the lost performance back and to stop the car solidly when parked on an incline.

What you'll need:

  • Socket Wrench Set
  • Flat-head Screwdriver


  1. To adjust the cable at the emergency parking brake lever, fully engage the parking brake. Under the lever is an adjustment screw and you can loosen this with a 10mm socket on an extender bar to release the control lever. Tighten it up and re-tighten the lock nut when you feel it is satisfactory.
  2. To adjust the emergency or parking brake on a 2003 Nissan Altima on the rear drum, you must secure the car on axle stands and remove the rear wheels. Depress the brake pedal five or more times, this reduces any slack and makes it easier to feel the adjustment being made. Pull the emergency brake lever up to its maximum stroke 10 times.
  3. On the center of the drum is a slot where you can use a flat-blade screwdriver to adjust the cogged wheel inside the drum. This directly adjusts the brake shoes and pushes them closer to the drum lining. Turn the cog down to tighten, it will be a little difficult to do this, but turn it a ½ turn to see what affect it has on the emergency brake.

Refit the wheels and with the parking brake engaged, try to turn the rear wheels by hand. They should remain still. Disengage the parking control lever and turn the rear wheels again. There should be no drag and be able to spin easily. Lower the car off the axle stands and you should have a strong holding e-brake.

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