Everything You Need to Know about Electronic Handbrake
A handbrake is one of the most essential safety features of a car. In older cars, handbrakes used to be a manual function operated through a stick near the shift stick. However, modern cars are fitted with an electronic handbrake that is not just user-friendly but also more agile. An electronic parking brake has also reduced the clutter within the cabin.
In this guide, we will discuss the mechanism of an electronic handbrake, how to use an electronic parking brake, its pros and cons and much more.
What is an Electronic Handbrake?
The electric park brake has replaced the mechanical technology with a simple push of a button. The electronic handbrake locks the car’s wheels when the car has come to a standstill. This way the car does not move backwards or forward on slopes.
The main function of the electric park brake remains the same: to stop the car by closing the brake pads and vice versa. However, some unique operational features have been added to the electronic braking system.
How Does an Electronic Handbrake Work?
The current version of the electronic handbrake in cars is more sophisticated and utilises an electronic brake force distribution system. It comprises an electronic control unit, a modulator and a button.
The button activates and deactivates the electronic braking system. Once the button is pressed, the electronic brake control model comes into action and provides power and control to the modulator. The modulator then generates a force on the brake disc to hold the car in place.
How to Use Electronic Parking Brake?
The electronic handbrake in cars has been around for quite a while. Earlier, this feature was only available in expensive cars but it has now been incorporated into cheaper vehicles.
An electronic parking brake is activated by pressing the button with a ‘P’ sign on it. The ‘P’ sign on the button indicates the parking brake.
Light is often switched on upon activating the electronic handbrakes showing its engagement. It also indicates that the parking brake must be released before driving. This light glows red to show that the handbrake is fully engaged, but sometimes it’s green to show that the handbrake is automatically holding the car in position when on a hill start or in traffic. Once the hill descent control system is activated, it engages the electric park brakes for added support.
If there is no option for the light indicator, you might hear slight whirring as the motor works. In either case, the warning light illuminates on the dashboard to show handbrake activation.
Some further developments in the handbrake system, like the ‘Auto-hold’ feature, sense once the car is stationary and automatically applies the brakes. The auto-hold feature has a dedicated button for activation.
Pros and Cons of Electronic Handbrake
Every technological advancement usually comes with its pros and cons. However, the pros of electronic handbrake have outweighed its cons. They have been detailed below.
Pros of Electronic Handbrake
- More convenient and reliable
- Increases storage space
- Auto-hold feature for hill start and traffic
- Disengage automatically when pulling away
- Can be used as a car emergency brake
Cons of Electronic Handbrake
- Expensive to repair
- A bit complex
- Can sometimes be slow to engage
Problems with Electronic Handbrake
Although electronic handbrakes are more sophisticated than manual handbrakes, it is important to shed light on some problems that can occur.
The foremost concern with electronic handbrakes is a locked handbrake. This can happen if a car’s battery dies, offering zero power to the control unit. It rules out the push-start method of moving your car manually. However, some cars with an electronic handbrake may have a manual release system that aids in overcoming this problem.
Since electronic handbrakes are advanced technology, they are tricky. Therefore, in case of any maintenance work, electronic handbrakes require intervention by a professional who is skilled in fault detection technology in cars. This being said, you must understand that DIY fixes are nearly impossible to carry on electronic handbrakes.
The electronic handbrakes serve as a high-tech solution and add value to everyday life by enhancing comfort and ease. The electronic handbrake was first installed in the 2001 BMW 7 Series, and since then, it has now been introduced in many new car models. If you are interested in buying a modern car with high-end features and specs, you can have a look a these used cars for sale in the UAE.
Stay tuned to the UAE’s top auto blogs for more information on the electronic braking system and other advanced automotive features.