I think many are missing the point here, to be told to always leave it in gear when I havent in 20 years of driving without a problem is a little patronising. The point is 'we shouldnt have to!!' the hand brake should be well constructed and relaible on ALL cars, especially as it is a safety device. What next? always leave the lights on on case we have a surprise total eclipse??
Not meaning to sound harsh, but can you point me to where it says in the manual to leave the lights on in case of a suprise total eclipse? Because I could point you to where it says leave the car in gear when parked on a slope.. You have unfortunately learned why the car should be left in gear when parked on a slope, and why the ratchet button should not be depressed when pulling up the handbrake. Maybe there is a fault with the handbrake mechanism. I'm not saying there definitely isn't. But if everyone did as the manual said, we wouldn't have peoples' cars running away when parked. This is advice is also in the highway code.
By all means take it to Alfa to have the handbrake checked out, but you can't say it wasn't partly your own fault.
You have my sympathy though, and hopefully this will be a lesson to all other 159 drivers.
I am quite shocked, ok that was an understatement, that people anywhere actually think that the hand brake is the SECONDARY means of securing the car, new flash...the gearbox isnt designed to hold the car, it just happens to, the hand brake is designed to secure the car from rolling when there is no drive engaged or when there is do drivER engaged.
Well I was taught the gearbox is what holds the car when it is parked with the engine off, and my car has never rolled away..
I only pull the handbrake on as a backup, and when it is a very steep slope I incline the wheels towards the curb.
I believe it was vauxhall Vectras that have the well documented design fault (as highlighted by watchdog) whereby the ratchet sometimes doesnt properly engage.
Does the 159 share the handbrake mechanism??? are we onto something here????
I doubt the 159 shares the same handbrake mechanism as the Vectra, they don't share the same chassis, GM bailed out of the 'Premium Platform' on cost grounds and the Vectra got a different platform.
If you read your Alfa manual you will see that it does not recommend that you press the ratchet button to apply the handbrake but only to release it. These are the guys who designed and built the car telling you how to operate it correctly. Driving instructors tell you to press the button when applying the handbrake because they are more concerned about their ratchet getting worn out than they are about you learning how to drive correctly. If you don't like the sound of clicks for some reason then by all means press the button to apply but give it at least one more click at the end, otherwise as has already been stated here when the disks cool it could let go. The manual also tells you to leave it in gear on a slope.