Operating the electric handbrake..inconsistencies - gordonbennet
I've driven a few different cars now with the dreaded electric handbrake, i won't ever own one by the way.
Some inconsistencies here in the application and use, if they standardised it would be better i'm sure.

I can't comment on VW/Audi, and i can't remember exactly how the Vauxhall Insignia brake operated, but i don't recall anything unusual, and i can't remember how Renaults operate either.

Anyway here's a few to start with

Citroen Pull on Pull off.
(C5, C6 normal siting, C4 Pic top of dash)

Jaguar, Land Rover, (All Fords?) Pull on Push off ...quite normal to me anyway.
(Normal siting)

New Avensis Push on Pull off....find this unusual.
(dash siting just to left of bottom of steering wheel)

Please add your own knowledge and do correct me if i'm mistaken again, at least we'll know what to expect, i daresay more cars will be fitted with these systems in the future.
Some of the above have selectable auto/manual function, thats handy when you get in a strange vehicle.
Operating the electric handbrake..inconsistencies - DP
Renault Scenic II (and maybe others):

Engages automatically every time you switch off the engine, although can be pulled on manually if desired, by pulling the "handle" to the right of the steering column.

Releases automatically as you pull away, but can also be released manually (if the engine is running, or the keycard is in the slot) by pulling the lever (as per arming), but pressing the little button in the centre of the lever as you do so. This actually "feels" remarkably similar to releasing a conventional handbrake, believe it or not.

The Renault system also updates on the computer display for 10 seconds or so if the handbrake status changes (i.e. 'PARKING BRAKE ON' or 'PARKING BRAKE OFF'), as well as the usual (P) warning light. There's also an audible hum from the rear of the car as it does its stuff.

Had two years with it, used largely in full auto mode, never managed to "catch it out", and it never malfunctioned. We liked it

Cheers
DP

Edited by DP on 26/03/2009 at 08:17

Operating the electric handbrake..inconsistencies - mustangman
I've driven a C-max with the electric handbrake.

It's worst feature to me was the lack of any feel if you need to do a hill start. You have to let the clutch bite by listening to the engine note and feeling a bit of body squat. You then attempt to pull away hoping you don't roll back, and find it takes a couple seconds for the thing to come off as you lurch forward.

It gets better with practice, but I still found it a pain. With a normal handbrake you can feather or adjust it as you pull away.
Operating the electric handbrake..inconsistencies - DP
The Renault one does perfect hillstarts on everything from a slight incline, to a one in four. Just pull away as if you're on the flat, and it disengages at the right time. It took time to learn to trust it, but in the end we never gave it a second thought.

I've been critical of some aspects of my Renault, but this really did work superbly.
Operating the electric handbrake..inconsistencies - daveyjp
Audi - pull on push off. Push off only required when you first start the car. After that it disengages as soon as the clutch bites. IIRC Jag has the same system of pull on push off.

I prefer the system on autos.
Operating the electric handbrake..inconsistencies - ifithelps
Pal of mine has just been given a new Ford Transit for work.

It is fitted with a gadget which prevents it rolling back on a hill, must be some form of automatic handbrake.

My pal tells me it works a treat.

Operating the electric handbrake..inconsistencies - Robin Reliant
Shame somebody doesn't invent a cable operated handbrake that just needs a lever pulled to apply it. It would be simple, cheap, and foolproof.

Oh, hang on a minute...
Operating the electric handbrake..inconsistencies - Ricky Angel

The electronic handbrake on the Vauxhall/Opel Astra is very dangerous, for a number of reasons:

1. Handbrake does not come on automatically when you switch engine off. Every other car fitted with an electronic handbrake does this.

2. Switch to operate handbrake isnt like a switch you press to call a lift or a light switch - on the Astra you have to hold the switch up for 2 seconds whilst the handbrake comes on. If you flick the switch the handbrake does not fully come on (or at all). If you move the switch you want the handbrake to come on!!

3. If you try and get out of the car with the lights on you get a warning sound. If you get out of the car without being in gear or have the handbrake on you do NOT get a warning sound. I would much rather come back to the car to find a flat battery than to come back to discover it has rolled down the hill into a bus stop full of children.

4. Finally, if your Astra does roll away your insurance will not cover you as it is considered negligence on your part if you fail to apply the handbrake. You won't get anything from Vauxhall either as they say that the extremely poor implementation of their handbrake is as per design.

Never buy a Vauxhall with an electronic handbrake, as per point 4 I am £2000 out of pocket after car rolled away and hit a post after I got out. I had hired the car and assumed the electronic handbrake would work in the same way as other implementations hence agree that a common implementation must be agreed for something so important.

Ricky.

Operating the electric handbrake..inconsistencies - skidpan

Having spent all of my motoring life in cars with real handbrakes I can see no reason to change the design.

But having drive a few cars fitted with the electronic version it appears to work OK but does take some getting used to and the differences between manufacturers is annoying.

But to blame the manufacturer when you fail to ensure the handbrake is on before leaving the car just shows how far we have come, its always somebody elses fault and never driover error. Its basic common sense is it not to check before getting out, you would fail your test if you didn't do it. Added to that I was always told to leave the car in gear should the cable or ratchet fail which they can do.

To say "I had hired the car and assumed the electronic handbrake would work in the same way as other implementations" proves you should assume nothing.

Operating the electric handbrake..inconsistencies - TeeCee

To say "I had hired the car and assumed the electronic handbrake would work in the same way as other implementations" proves you should assume nothing.

The problem here is that, with a hire car, assumption and guesswork is all you have. Even if the thing came with a handbook in your language, the hire company will have removed it to prevent you, or someone else, doing so. At least with a manual handbrake there's a very obvious difference between off and on. You don't get that with a button.

A mate who works for a certain well-known hire company told me that they stopped buying Passats a few years ago, just after they moved to using a 'leccy brake. The reason was that most hirers failed to guess that the brake disengaged automagically, disengaged it manually with their foot on the footbrake and then tried to heel-and-toe the thing forwards.

The result was a shedload of Passats returned with own fault rear-end damage, usually accompanied by a hefty claim from the poor prune sat behind each one.......

Operating the electric handbrake..inconsistencies - Bromptonaut

To be honest though the Vx system, as described, works like a manual. If I leave my Berlingo's handbrake off AND forget the habitual push into gear it too will roll away. No warning there either except the senasation of movement as you step out.

Having said that I'd prefer my future cars to have a conventional cable jobbie.

Operating the electric handbrake..inconsistencies - craig-pd130

Volvo V60, leccy handbrake switch is to the right of steering wheel, under the rotary switch for the lights.

It's push on, pull to release. It also auto-releases after half a second or so of the clutch biting, which is handy for very steep hill starts. However, I prefer to manually release it 99% of the time.

I don't think it auto-applies itself when you switch off, I'll have to try it and see.

Edited by craig-pd130 on 05/02/2013 at 16:06

Operating the electric handbrake..inconsistencies - squarecarman

My V70 EPB doesn't apply automatically when switched off. Also I concur with Skidpan...

it's the driver's responsibility to ensure the parking brake is on. My V70 displays a red P

when the brake is applied. I always check this before leaving the car..plain common sense.

However I still can't see the point of EPBs

Operating the electric handbrake..inconsistencies - Hamsafar

My Audi EPB doesn't self-apply when switching off, but it did on the later model courtesy car I had. It also applied and turned off the engine and went into P when I took my seatbelt off and opened the door to look behind while reversing in a dark multistory carpark with one of those walls that juts out and waist level. Crackers.

Edited by Hamsafar on 05/02/2013 at 21:55

Operating the electric handbrake..inconsistencies - TeeCee

My Audi EPB doesn't self-apply when switching off, but it did on the later model courtesy car I had. It also applied and turned off the engine and went into P when I took my seatbelt off and opened the door to look behind while reversing in a dark multistory carpark with one of those walls that juts out and waist level. Crackers.

Most of the problems with these well-meaning "safety" enhancements is that they do tend to neglect to provide an override for those times when, for perfectly valid reasons, you don't want it to do that.

I suppose that in Audi's new world, a failed seatbelt sensor (a trivial and insignificant fault) immobilises the car (a big, fat, hairy deal).

Operating the electric handbrake..inconsistencies - Snakey

I spent a good few months driving a Passat with the electronic handbrake and it really put me off them.

Despite all the advancements, cars are still very much 'analogue' devices and the elegant simplicity of a handbrake just doesn't need replacing!

 

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