ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Many of us rarely engage the parking brake on our vehicles, or use it only on steep inclines. But industry experts suggest you should use the parking brake every time you park.

According to NAPA Auto Parts, all vehicles have two brake systems: a “service brake,” which is the primary brake system, and the “emergency brake,” or the parking brake.

The primary brake is a hydraulic system that activates whenever you step on the brake pedal. The parking brake is independent of the primary brake system and is usually controlled by a lever or button.

Close-up shot with the detail of a parking brake in a car.

When a car is shifted into “Park,” the car engages something called the parking pawl, a device that locks the transmission from moving.

But the pawl or transmission can wear out over time, because it adds pressure on the clutch, transmission, and CV joints, according to Firestone.

Nationwide Insurance suggests: “You should use your emergency brake every time you park. It doesn’t matter if you’re on a hill or a flat parking lot, whether you drive an automatic or manual transmission, or whether the weather is pleasant or inclement..”

Firestone recommends engaging the parking brake BEFORE you shift the car into “Park,” to limit the stress on the transmission, add an extra layer of security, and help prevent parking failure and future transmission repairs.

According to NAPA, regular use of the parking brake is good for the car because it keeps the cables and levers moving, preventing them from oxidizing or seizing from disuse.