Yeah, I know, most of the world doesn’t like or use the parking brake any more. Yet, some of us still prefer a manual transmission for the driving experience — and rely on the parking brake. So, what happenswhen someone does not set the brake completely? My wife found the truck had rolled down the hill (slowly, fortunately) and into a city park. That was the catalyst for a new roll arresting car parking stop.
Like many in Colorado, our home has a sloping driveway. Not a huge slope, but enough. Though we have a good size garage, the truck scrapes the door top when pulling in, so unfortunately, the truck gets to live outside. My son’s car also gets to live outside — and it also parks on the sloping driveway.
OK, I’ll admit it. The garage is also the workshop, so most of the time only my wife’s car gets a space inside. And, she deserves it.
Why The Need For A Car Parking Stop?
While we love the beauty and simplicity of a manual transmission, the one annoying problem is the lack of an easy way to secure it. I’m not sure the history, or why it’s not also in manual transmissions, but the Park function of an automatic is the one piece I’m jealous of.
Parking brakes are notoriously poor in design, and engine compression is not robust for many situations (like parking on a hill). So, how does the car stay put?
We found out just how unreliable the situation can be one day when we found the truck had rolled away on it’s own. Apparently the brake was not set sufficient, and overnight the car rolled slowly down the drive, into the street, then into the city park. Time for a reverse car parking stop to cover our user error. We don’t want that again.
Reasoning, Experiment, and Design
Normally a car parking stop is in front of the wheel — like in parking lot. The stops, or bumpers, or barriers, are there to position the car so the driver knows when to stop.
So, should we do one in reverse? To do that, the car must first drive over it, and each time it leaves, it will drive over it again. That means the parking stop must be strong to handle repeated driving over.
Laying a 2×4 across the drive works mostly, but it is not quite enough to keep the truck there by itself. We need something a little taller. Additionally, the wood is a little to light, and it tends to move around, and we can’t depend on it.
As an experiment, a simple piece of steel angle was tried, and it worked. After several drive overs with the truck, the angle no longer was at 90 degrees. Since the point of experimenting is to learn, the experiment was very successful. First we know the 3″ L-Angle works, and second, we now know the steel angle by itself will gradually flatten out. Of course we could go to thicker, heavier angle, but how much more?
Like many things, in this case we decided to just sidestep the issue of thickness and make a triangular tube. See the image (upside down for construction). This is effectively a gusset — the same thing as we recommend for strengthening a trailer.
Building the Car Parking Stop
The design and the build are super easy. Just lay the flat piece of steel into the open side of the L-Angle, then weld. Stitch weld along the sides every 6″ or 8″. That’s it. For reference, this is 3″ x 3″ x 1/4″ Angle with a 3″ x 1/8″ Flat piece inside. It is 18′ long to cover two car positions. The weight is sufficient that it doesn’t move around on the driveway, then placing one edge in the seam of the concrete helps too.
The only trick with construction is making the 2 pieces stay in place, upright. In the photo you can see adding a couple blocks on either side of the angle held with a large clamp makes a good cradle. A few small clamps keep the flat piece from moving while welding.
You might think just setting the flat stock in is enough, but it’s not. Welds are funny because they make things move. In this case, the welds are using a MIG style welder with 1″ to 1.5″ stitches. One fun aspect of this project came because my sons wanted to help weld. Since it’s just a bunch of steel on the ground, and because the welds are not seen, it’s a perfect place for them to learn and contribute.
Turns out a fun experience for all of us as they did most of the welding. You can see in the photos that they are OK, and it all works.
With this car parking stop across the driveway, cars parking there won’t roll back. While it’s enough to keep things from rolling — even when in Neutral and no park brake — it’s also not too high to simply drive over it. Problem solved.
What Are Your Solutions!
This Solutions! category of our “Mechanic’s Tips” library is for you. We want to see your fun solutions as well, so please take a minute, get a few photos, and tell us your story. Use The Customer Page to Submit. You don’t have to write a long story, just write a little about how you solved something in your shop. This is a DIY site, after all, and we’re way more interested in the solutions than in the writing skills.
You submit it, then we’ll share it just like this car parking stop. We’ll give you credit too. For more inspiration, follow the links and we’ll show you more. Thank you for visiting.