Friday, 18 June 2010

Handbrake - Adjusting

How to adjust a Rover 25 / MG ZR handbrake.

Time to complete - 15-25 minutes

Difficulty - 2/5

Tools/Parts required:
  • 12mm Spanner
  • Car Jack
  • Axle Stands
  • Wheel Chocks (block of wood to position in front of the front wheels)
*Disclaimer: Any information given in this guide is to be used at the readers own risk. I take no responsibility for injuries to the reader or damage to their vehicles. If this guide is followed correctly, no harm should occur to either the reader or the car.

Please read through the entirety of this guide prior to undertaking any work, and take due care.*

Rover 25 MG ZR hand brake

Step 1

Tip: Before starting this procedure, make sure that the car is level, or as level as possible.

Figure out how much your handbrake needs adjusting. Pump the foot brake pedal a few times, this will make sure the clearance is correct between the braking elements. Then starting with the handbrake in the fully disengaged position, pull it up counting the number of clicks. It is best to pull it up slowly to get an accurate count. The acceptable click range is 8 - 12.

Step 2

Chock the front wheels, then jack the rear of the car up so that the rear wheels are off of the ground. Position the axle stands in a safe position under the car and lower the car onto them.

Step 3

Fully disengage the handbrake, then pull it up 1 click.

Step 4

Remove the rear ashtray from the centre console. To do this simply pull it out. Once out it should reveal the handbrake adjusting nut. As shown below.

Rover 25 MG ZR ashtray

Rover 25 MG ZR handbrake lever adjusting nut

Rover 25 MG ZR handbrake lever adjusting nut

Step 5

Take the 12mm spanner and adjust the nut until only a very slight resistance to movement can be felt when turning the back wheels by hand. If you had lower than 8 clicks in the step 1 test then turn the nut anticlockwise, if you had higher than 12 clicks turn the nut clockwise.

12mm spanner


Step 6

Once adjusted, fully disengage the handbrake and make sure that the wheels still spin freely. Then (from fully disengaged) pull the handbrake up again counting the clicks till fully engaged. As a ball park position, this is my handbrake fully engaged at 9 clicks.

Rover 25 MG ZR Handbrake

Step 7

On completing the adjustment, refit the ashtray (it just pushes back in) and remove the axle stands. Then lower the car back to the ground.


  1. Would this affect a spongy brake pedal at all? I know it sounds odd, but I'm at my wit's end! I've bled the brakes, does various tests and even changed a vacuum hose. I cannot figure out for the life of me why the brakes are spongy for the first 3rd of the way down

    1. I wouldn't have thought so, but it might be worth taking it to a local garage. A lot of them now offer free no obligation checks on brakes. Alternatively jump on themgzr and ask the forum members.

      Unfortunately the 1.4 brakes aren't much cop anyway, so if you are used to another car and this one feels worse, it could just be that. Hope this helps in some fashion.


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