Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - Happy Blue!
I had never driven a car with one of these pushbutton electric handbrakes before this afternoon. A friend turned up in a courtesy car (VW Passat CC) diesel with manual gearbox. He had parked it in a car park, nose in facing down to a shrubbery. He needed to reverse out up the hill.

So, thats when the fun started. In a manual car with standard handbrake lever, you get the clutch to biting point and slowly release the handbrake, whilst giving a bit of power on the acclerator. What do you do in a car which requires you to have your left foot on the clutch, right foot on the footbrake (which it needs to be before you can release the brake by pressing the button on the dash) and also need a third leg for the accelerator.

The answer in this case is use the torque of a diesel to help and use fancy foot work, but my friend who is a reasonable driver of many years experience was stumped and it took me more than a few seconds to work out what to do and get the car out of the parking bay. I did a little bit of damage to the shrubbery as well!

Clearly a very dangerous design, especially in a car with a petrol engine without the reserves of torque that were very handy. Whose stupid idea is this?
Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - Bill Payer
I haven't driven one, but isn't the point that you just drive off and it releases itself?
Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - Happy Blue!
Tried that and the car stalled.
Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - Bill Payer
Tried that and the car stalled.

I suspect you're just doing it wrong (not your fault - there's no way my ego would let me read the manual!).

There's a thread about Passat electric brake here: www.honestjohn.co.uk/forum/post/index.htm?t=63989
Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - gordonbennet
I think BP's right in that the brake should release as you take up power, however i wonder just how much extra wear such a system puts on the clutch and possibly more importantly the DMF over the life of the car.

Regardless of how it's supposed to work, i agree with Espada's thread title, can't say as i've ever found a normal reasonably well maintained car's handbrake causing me to wish they were anything other than simple mechanical linkages, that you can ''feel''.

Edited by gordonbennet on 15/11/2009 at 21:28

Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - Number_Cruncher
Normally, I'll defend new technology against the technophobes, but, in this case, I too can't see the point of automatic handbrakes.

Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - BobbyG
Well I would fully defend the one in 2004 Scenic, worked a treat. Yes I could live without it but could also live without elec windows, air con etc.

Never had any trouble with it, other than when you switched cars and forgot to apply handbrake as you are used to the car doing it itself!
Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - skittles
HGVs for years had a button to release the handbrake

well its a lever but its on or off
Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - gordonbennet
well its a lever but its on or off


But being an air valve you can infinitely vary the pressure applied through it just as you can a normal cable handbrake, hence the handbrake doubles as the emergency secondary barke (obviously) and in use is every bit as easy to control progressively as the footbrake.

This wasn't always the case and the secondary brakes on British (and some foreign) trucks was separate again...then known as the dead mans handle, with another (third) brake being the handbrake which on many was mechanical.
Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - Sofa Spud
I drove a Renault Espace with an automatic handbrake and I found one quickly forgets all about handbrakes in the way one forgets about gears in an car with an automatic gearbox. However, on balance I prefer a simple mechanical handbrake.
Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - Avant
"Never had any trouble with it...."

Fair enough, Bobby, but I don't suppose you've ever had any trouble with ordinary mechanical handbrakes on other cars you've had.

Nobody to my knowledge has ever come up with an answer to the question 'what is the ADVANTAGE of electronic handbrakes?'

Incidentally, nobody needs a Passat even if they want to stay with VAG. The Octavia has only slightly less room (and is cheaper), the Superb quite a lot more. Both Skodas have proper handbrakes, praise be.

Edited by Avant on 15/11/2009 at 22:48

Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - Altea Ego
It was answered up the thread. You forget about it. As tho you never had one. Its always there working as a handbrake without you needing to worry about it, pull levers, or slip clutches.

Till it goes wrong of course.


Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - Robin Reliant
A mate has a Scenic with an auto handbrake, and a Siecento with a conventional one. He fried the rear brakes on the Fiat through continually forgetting to release the handbrake when he drove it.

There isn't much to go wrong with a cable handbrake, apart from the cable itself which is a cheap and easy fix. I can envisage the pursed lips and the sharp intake of breath when you visit the garage for a quote after your computer controlled electronic box of tricks has given up the ghost.
Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - pd
I suppose the advantage in theory is that hill starts are much easier if you can't drive properly.

They do not cause any problem - in this case it was either broken or the driver being stupid stupid stupid and not using it correctly. Did you have the seatbelt on? VAG versions will not normally release unless you do. If you don't, you do indeed need your foot on the brake and 3 legs. In day to day driving you shouldn't ever need to release it using the button on the dash.

They don't seem to give much trouble. I don't see them as any advance but I can't get too upset about them either.

Edited by pd on 15/11/2009 at 23:52

Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - TeeCee

Nobody to my knowledge has ever come up with an answer to the question 'what is the ADVANTAGE of electronic handbrakes?'

Actuating stepper motors are integral with calipers. Brake actuators and switch plug into loom. No cables to run, no connections to make / tighten = cheaper to assemble.

As for it only working if you have your seatbelt fastened, that's the Audi range off my "things to try" list when I renew my fleet car next month. I'll accept a flashing light. I'll only accept an audible warning if it can be disabled. I'll not accept something that prevents me twiddling the thing round the car park unless belted as I habitually remove the thing to gain access to the car park card swipe machine and also to reverse into parking spaces and drives.

Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - DP
Well I would fully defend the one in 2004 Scenic worked a treat. Yes I
could live without it but could also live without elec windows air con etc.
Never had any trouble with it other than when you switched cars and forgot to
apply handbrake as you are used to the car doing it itself!



I agree totally, BobbyG. We never found ourselves in any scenario, whether a gentle slope, or a 1 in 4 hill, going forwards or reversing, pulling off, or simply easing forwards, in which the auto parking brake didn't function perfectly.

Takes some time to learn to trust it though. Particularly in heavy traffic.


Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - Peter S
Isn't the main reason simply one of packaging; moving the handbrake from between the seats leaves more room for cup holders!!

I wonder too if its something to do with cars getting bigger/taller resulting in the handbrake often ending up further from the driver. Perhaps that sometimes means manufacturers can't get away with just having one set-up for left and right hand drive, at which point perhaps the electric release becomes cheaper too??

Peter
Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - Old Navy
I had a rental C-Max with an electric handbrake, after two weeks I had still not got used to it. I am usually quite happy with new technology, but the electric handbrake is a solution without a problem. My next car wont have one, and hopefully they will have been perfected before they become a standard fit.
Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - ijws15
I wonder too if its something to do with cars getting bigger/taller resulting in the
handbrake often ending up further from the driver. Perhaps that sometimes means manufacturers can't get
away with just having one set-up for left and right hand drive at which point
perhaps the electric release becomes cheaper too??


But the more expensive Golfs all have the handbrake set up for Left hand dtrive (despite ewhat it shows in the brochures), the cheaper Octavia is set up appropriately for the side the steering wheel is on.
Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - daveyjp
The A4 manual courtesy I had had an electric handbrake and as Espada has found out on the first use after starting you need to release it manually. It then goes onto auto release.
Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - dieselfitter
Espada, did you have your seat belt fastened? In the A6, the electronic brake releases automatically, forwards or backwards, ONLY when the driver's seat belt is fastened. If not, it won't release and you will stall (as you found out). As you also discovered, you can override this 'safety feature' when your seatbelt is not fastened by simultaneously pressing the brake pedal and pushing the switch down. I don't recommend trying this whilst doing a hill start unless you have 3 legs (or more). Takes a bit of getting used to and perhaps a case of RTFM, or just learning by doing, if you actually own one.

One advantage. I read one of the Towcar of the Year test reports a couple of years ago. The Passat's electronic handbrake was praised by the judges. They said that they initially viewed it with scepticism - silly solution to a non-existant problem etc. By the end of the week, they were fed up with having to almost wrench the conventional handbrakes of some of the other test cars out of their mountings to hold a caravan on Millbank's test slope. Flick of a switch and no fuss in the Passat.
Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - Happy Blue!
AH!

No - seat belt not worn as I was only getting the car out of the parking space in a private car park.

Is that it? Stupid again! The Nanny state has come to us all - Argh!
Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - Old Navy
>>AH!>>

Back Roomers to the rescue again!
Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - DP
Is that it? Stupid again! The Nanny state has come to us all - Argh!


Ah, the Renault system would release the parking brake, but would then beep softly at you and blink its seatbelt warning light. If you did not comply with Nanny within about 10 seconds, the beeping would turn very loud and very angry to the point where it was completely intolerable. SWMBO and I used to joke that it was akin to an electronic angry Frenchman jumping up and down and cursing us "stoopeed rosbif eeediots"

I have since learned however that these seatbelt enforcement systems are part of the NCAP scoring process, which is why they are found in so many cars today.

The Volvo has a lovely civilised "bong" which is almost relaxing, accompanied by a seat belt warning mounted on the rear view mirror where it really doesn't annoy. Kind of defeats the object really. But so Volvo. :-)

Edited by DP on 16/11/2009 at 10:43

Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - Bagpuss
I presently have an Audi A6 on extended on loan. It has an electronic handbrake which I didn't use for ages as the car is an automatic. When I did try to use it I discovered that it does release automatically when I put my foot down, but there is a noticeable clonk and a delay of a second or so after the transmission has clearly fully engaged the clutch (it's a CVT) before the brake itself releases. If I drove like this with a normal handbrake I would accuse myself of not showing adequate mechanical sympathy.
Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - Bill Payer
after the transmission has clearly fully engaged the clutch (it's a CVT) before the
brake itself releases.


I bet that'll be hilarious in icy weather!

Such a system on RWD cars will presumeably have them spinning on the spot.
Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - dieselfitter
>>I bet that'll be hilarious in icy weather!

You could be right, BP. On a manual A6, it works well most of the time, and seems to release the brakes smoothly and at the right moment. BUT just once, when trying to move off on loose gravel, the front wheels were spinning and throwing stones around before there was enough torque at the rear wheels for the sensors to release the brakes.

All things considered, I'd rather have a normal handbrake...
Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - dieselfitter
Another good one on the A6 - it won't start unless you have the clutch pedal all the way to the floor.

These 'safety' features are all very fine, but we now have a situation where an experienced driver, stepping into an unfamiliar car, is probably unable to a) start the engine b) drive it out of a parking space. Hmmm.

Maybe it's supposed to stop children starting the car or releasing the brakes by accident, and rolling off a cliff. But wait - that actually happened last summer, didn't it? In a Citroen with an EPG? Clever, these kids.
Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - DP
These 'safety' features are all very fine but we now have a situation where an
experienced driver stepping into an unfamiliar car is probably unable to a) start the engine
b) drive it out of a parking space. Hmmm.


Ha ha. Takes me back to my first encounter with a Scenic II. Hired at Schiphol Airport in the Netherlands. Took my boss and I 20 minutes to work out how to start the thing (a combination of a non-hands free keycard, push button start, and the fairly comprehensive starting instructions that scroll up on the computer display being, of course, in Dutch. :-)

After eventually getting it running, we then couldn't work out how to release the parking brake. I suggested just trying to drive the thing forwards, which my boss did, accompanied by a reassuring "whirr" from the back of the car, and unrestricted forward motion.

That was three years ago, he now has other responsibilities and I rarely see him, but we still chuckle about it when we do catch up. Felt like a right pair of muppets.
Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - gmac
Maybe it's supposed to stop children starting the car or releasing the brakes by accident
and rolling off a cliff. But wait - that actually happened last summer didn't it?
In a Citroen with an EPG? Clever these kids.

Or maybe it was driver error ?
The handbrake and gear selection doesn't work without the key in the ignition, switched to P1.

Got me thinking about those keyless entry systems though. I wonder if that checks to see if the key is actually inside the vehicle before enabling the ignition or just in close proximity.
Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - Bagpuss
Got me thinking about those keyless entry systems though. I wonder if that checks to
see if the key is actually inside the vehicle before enabling the ignition or just
in close proximity.


The cars I've driven with keyless would only enable the ignition if the key was inside the car. Yes, I went out of my way to see if I could fool the system.
Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - Old Navy
What we need is an internationally agreed set of interlocks, so anyone can start and drive a car without reading the manual first. The manual should be for all the non essential bits and pieces not directly involved in driving.

Fat chance of that happening!

Edited by Old Navy on 16/11/2009 at 11:55

Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - henry k
What we need is an internationally agreed set of interlocks so anyone can start and
drive a car without reading the manual first.
The manual should be for all the non essential bits and pieces not directly involved in driving.

>>
I would extend that wish to parking as I found out with the auto Auris I hired i.e. it should be left in gear when parking it.
Fat chance of that happening!
Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - the swiss tony
What we need is an internationally agreed set of interlocks so anyone can start and
drive a car without reading the manual first.


we had that - mechanical handbrake, ignition key, gearlever in conventional place...
how long before some idiot decides the clutch would be better operated by a button on the steering wheel?
Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - Lud
some idiot decides the clutch would be better operated by a button on the steering wheel?


Harrumph... or by a switch on top of the gear lever like an NSU RO80 and a number of other cars, or the gear lever (or rather wand) itself a la DS... been done quite a few times. Carp arrangement in my opinion and indeed experience, but people got used to it and liked it.
Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - legacylad
Espada
Future Mrs L has this on her '07 Passat Tdi, now with 90k trouble free miles on the clock. She loves it and would not have anything else!
Anticipating a new company car next Spring, I thought that a more practical car ie 5 door hatch (she thinks only males should be allowed to drive estate cars!!) would be the new Skoda Superb. We visited the showroom and her first question was....no, it did not have an electronic handbrake, so she turned on her heel and walked away without a backward glance.

Personally, I have never had a problem using it, nor has she...but then she does drive quite a few miles. I would never buy one privately...it looks like an expensive repair bill waiting to happen. Why reinvent the wheel, but she thinks it is better than sliced bread. Such is life.....
Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - The Melting Snowman
I agree with Avant's stance.

Just because something 'works' doesn't mean it's better than what we had. My missus wanted one of those electric tin openers a few years ago for her birthday. A completely pointless gadget in my view. Yes it 'works' (or worked as it's now broken, another useless piece of crap heading for landfill) and maybe in a catering environment where one may be opening many cans it would have some use. In a domestic house I don't see the point and seems out of tune with the latest policy of using less energy.

I don't like technology that is complicated and offers minimal (if any) advantage to the motorist and has the potential to be ruinously expensive when it goes wrong. Electric handbrakes are a perfect example. These are all solutions to problems that no-one ever had. Being a cynic I would suggest that these are just ways of the manufacturers screwing more money out of us.

The day when I can't decide when or how to apply a handbrake is the day I will hand in my licence.

Before anyone calls me a luddite (and that would be very polite compared to some things I get called) there is technology that offers immense benefits at relatively modest cost and this technology I strongly support. ABS and airbags/air curtains are excellent examples of technology that could/does save lives offering big benefits for comparatively modest outlay. In addition ESC/ESP systems also offer significant safety benefits at minimal extra cost on an ABS vehicle.

I believe Ford have dropped the electric handbrake from the C-Max.

I suppose we've got the French to thank for a lot of this, since it is often on their cars that these irksome gadgets first appear.
Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - sajid
this got me thinking, isnt there a law where there has to be a mechanical secondary backup in case the electric brakes fail, what if you had a flat battery will the brake work?
Or a ecu malfunction, or the switch itself that fails after so many countless depressions, to me i agree with fellow posters, i dont find any advantages to what improvements the electric brake switch has over the the conventional system.
Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - BobbyG
Electric handbrake can be released manually if required, certainly in the Scenic there was a way of going into the boot and releasing it.

For every technological improvement, there are pros and cons.

PAS, we could all use cars before power steering came along. Yes it made it easier but its new and fangled technology and adding in all sorts of things that can only break.

Have never had any issues with PAS on any car.

Same for electric windows, air con, airbags, tyre pressure sensors, auto lights, auto wipers etc etc

Doesn't mean I would pick them all in my next car, but also don't need to flatly refuse them on the grounds that the existing "older" systems work fine.

If they were so bad
a. why do manufacturers develop them and put them into their model range
b. why do consumers buy cars with them?

As said before, had one on my Scenic and I miss it. Thought it was great.
Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - the swiss tony
Electric handbrake can be released manually if required certainly in the Scenic there was a
way of going into the boot and releasing it.

Thats clever!
Cant get parking brake off.. go into boot, manually release it.
Whoops! forgot to put it into gear, now rolling off down the hill!
Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - drbe
>> Whoops! forgot to put it into gear now rolling off down the hill!

>>

With me in the boot!
Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - DP
The manual release was invaluable when SWMBO put 10 litres of Unleaded in it by accident one day. I didn't even want to turn the ignition on in case it pulled the petrol through the fuel system, so we used this to enable the car to be recovered on a truck.

As with BobbyG, no complaints about Renault's system at all. It works superbly.
Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - Bagpuss
I like gadgets and technology. I'm just not sure which problem the manufacturers are solving with electrically controlled handbrakes. If it's to free up space in the centre console, then the Mercedes footbrake/ handbrake combination is simpler and works just as well (at least in automatics). The freed up space only seems to get used for cupholders anyway.
Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - Alanovich
In my (otherwise rather wonderful) Citroen GSA, the handbrake lever came out of the dash, where the radio would usually be. The radio was where the handbrake lever would normally be, mounted sideways. This was an apalling arrangement.
Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - dieselfitter
Hmm. MB's foot-operated parking brake doesn't have too many fans and has (so it is said) cost them sales. Hill starts are quite a performance in a manual. OK, most are autos, so you can simply keep your foot on the brake at junctions....and dazzle the person behind you.
Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - 659FBE
A hill start with a manual Mercedes with a trailer hitched on (to around max weight) is an interesting manoevre - I've tried it.

It astonishes me that a maker who prides itself on developments in vehicle safety comes up with a system which basically makes the vehicle uncontrollable under these conditions. The same people are still producing RHD cars with wipers set up for LHD - the "clap hands" variety have the passenger wiper on top which leaves a streak in front of the driver's eyes on the last wipe - especially when the blades are a bit old.

I wish our vehicle certification Authorities would be a lot less spineless with these arrogant makers. I suppose the EEC...

A manual handbrake between the front seats is a "problem" which doesn't need fixing.

659.
Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - Bill Payer
I wish our vehicle certification Authorities would be a lot less spineless with these arrogant
makers. I suppose the EEC...

I'm surprised the EEC hasn't mandated that we switch to driving on the right.
Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - Bagpuss
A hill start with a manual Mercedes with a trailer hitched on (to around max weight) is an interesting manoevre - I've tried it.


I can understand why applying the parking brake could be awkard on a manual Mercedes as you have to keep your right foot on the brake pedal, put the gearbox in neutral and then move your left foot from the clutch to the parking brake. I don't understand why releasing it is a problem.

On my Mercedes automatic, I slip the gearbox into neutral at traffic lights and apply the parking brake. Before moving away, I put the lever into Drive and then release the brake. I like the reassuring mechanical clonk of the brake releasing, it has that old fashioned well engineered Mercedes feel about it. By the way on this old Merc I can engage Drive without having to press the brake pedal.
Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - Alanovich
By the way on this old Merc
I can engage Drive without having to press the brake pedal.


I can do that in my 2006 Mazda 6 auto. Was quite surprised when I found out. I was already used to my wife's DSG VW, which requires the brake pedal to be depressed to change from neutral to drive.
Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - Andrew-T
A manual handbrake between the front seats is a "problem" which doesn't need fixing


Agreed. There used to be cars with an umbrella-style pull-on handbrake somewhere beside the accelerator, as I recall - you twisted it to release?

But I also suspect that the 'problem' the makers are trying to solve is the tiny income from repairs caused by manual-handbrake failures. We should concentrate more on technological advances that bring real and useful advantages, such as replacing trafficators with 'flashers' - tho come to think of it, the income from repairing trafficators must have been pretty good ...

Edited by Andrew-T on 17/11/2009 at 17:46

Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - Pondlife
There used to be cars with an umbrella-style pull-on handbrake somewhere beside the
accelerator as I recall - you twisted it to release?


I had one of these on a 1979 Mercedes W116 (280S). This was an auto, so it was OK, but I wouldn't have wanted it on a manual.
Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - Bill Payer
Hill starts are quite a performance in a manual. (Mercedes).


They've had hill-hold on the manuals for a while now.
Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - Number_Cruncher
>>A hill start with a manual Mercedes with a trailer hitched on (to around max weight) is an interesting manoevre

Is it?

Bring clutch to biting point, pull the release lever on the dashboard, and you're away.



Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - dieselfitter
>>They've had hill-hold on the manuals for a while now.

Is that the same as the EPB - just drive off and it releases by itself - or something else? With some systems, you have to be careful to make a clean getaway on a hill start - no dithering or the brakes fully release and you roll back. I had a feeling that hill hold was an option last time I looked at MB, but happy to be corrected on that.
Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - datostar
Another good one on the A6 - it won't start unless you have the clutch
pedal all the way to the floor.


Those of us who learned to drive 40 odd years ago tend to do that anyway! Saved the starter motor having to turn the weight of a heavy transmission with thick oil and broke the 'seal' that sometimes happened between clutch plate and flywheel
Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - dieselfitter
>>Those of us who learned to drive 40 odd years ago tend to do that anyway!

Agreed on that, not a problem for me. Usually park in 1st too. But I bet it's caught out a few people trying to start an Audi for the first time :-)
Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - dieseldogg
Being a curmudgingly 50 year old
we lived on a hill, quite steep,
In the days before MOT's
Handbrakes???
On older cars,( which ours were) front wheel turned towards the kerb when parking
anyway anyway what is the mystery about holding the car stationary on the clutch
in either first or reverse ( and we not never required replacment clutches either)
before taking ones foot off the brake
scheesh indeed
A handbrake
Thats pure luxury lad
PS
Mercedes are MEANT to be automatic
Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - TeeCee
Those of us who learned to drive 40 odd years ago tend to do that anyway! Saved the starter motor having to turn the weight of a heavy transmission with thick oil and broke the 'seal' that sometimes happened between clutch plate and flywheel

Depends what you used to drive! Those of us who drove BMC cars with those graphite release bearings learned very quickly that the clutch pedal was only ever to be touched when changing gear and then only for as little time as possible. Both starting with the clutch out and sitting in gear at junctions were to be avoided at all cost.

The alternative was chewing through a release bearing and needing a clutch job every 10,000 miles.

Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - yardhawk

as a pensioner myself, have noticed how many people with years of experience just get worse & can't drive anymore - electric h/b doddle - can't beat it!!!!!

tj

Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - Chris79
I ve got an electronic handbrake on an a4. It works fine and releases once the clutch is at biting point, as long as you have your seatbelt on.

Mrs chris loves it,especially on hills.

I dread the day that it goes wrong, I believe the mechanism that releases the brakes is incredibly expensive to repair if it goes wrong.

Manufacturers claim that replacing the traditional handbrake with a button free s up room in the car (and no doubt gives them scope to make money once these things go wrong)

Personally I think it works really well, however given the choice I d have a traditional handbrake..... If it aint broken......
Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - galileo

Can't see these ever being popular on WRC cars (or any other rally cars)

Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - Happy Blue!

As the OP of this thread (changed my name I know), I have driven an automatic Ford S-Max with an electric handbrake for over 30 months now. I take it all back! I love my electric handbrake. It works so well, you don't need to think. You can stop blinding the driver behind you at traffic lights, by simply keeping the car in Drive and popping the handbrake on. When the lights go green, just tickle the throttle and away you go.

Having said that, the versions on Saabs and Renaults I have driven are not as nice as the Ford. They take too long to disengage and are noisy. The Ford's is silent and quick.

However I can understand that some people don't like then and I am not sure how useful they are with a manual gearbox. You need to have your seatbelt on for them to work automatically and if you are simply moving the car in a car park (as I was four years ago), it could be a pain requiring three legs.

Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - gordonbennet

Oh dear HB, a surprising and disappointing post to read from you, please don't encourage them to fit more unreliable expensive to fix answers into cars for questions that were never asked in the first place.

What way does your parking work if applied manually?

I ask because Toyota saw fit, and i shall never understand why, to make their own contribution to this shambles work opposite to every parking brake i've used all my life, push for on and pull for off, accident waiting to happen IMO, though in practice its automatic and most people will never find this out, until the auto function fails.

Talking of accident, my son who still drives car transporters tells me of a recent incident involving someone he knows, this chap loaded a Volvo car with EPB and pulled the brake on, he then went down the ramp and slid the deck in to tilt the car (not in gear as front wheels have to rotate to slide the deck down and along), low and behold this Volvo apparently (i'm only going by this report haven't driven one myself so don't quote me) works the same as Avensis, backwards and he should have pushed it on to apply it, unbeknown to him hence serious damage ensued when this car rolled down the lorry bed and away...it could easily have follwed him and crushed him.

My own take on this EPB garbage is as follows.

I don't want one, i never needed one and i'm damned well am not having one ever, it's my line in the sand and Toyota lost me as an Avensis buyer for this very reason, and i'd trust them beyond all others to make it properly....i have a gut feeling it'll vanish when Avensis is replaced i really hope so, interior pics of new Auris show a real handbrake lever in place again, if so good riddance to the idiotic idea.

In all my years and the hundreds of thousands of cars i've driven and delivered not once did i wish for an electric device to operate this most necessarily infintely variable piece of standard safety equipment.

Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - Happy Blue!

GB - I can understand your feelings. It is yet another thing to go wrong, but as cars become more reliable and have more stuff thrown at them for the standard specification, its just one more item in the list and I suspect most people will not give them a second thought.

I suspect that there are many features on cars which a very small number of people find irritating, either because they dont like the idea in itself or the execution is poor (i.e. your Toyota experience with the EPB which work opposite to mine and all the others I have used).

Maybe I would have a different view to the EPB if mine simply didn't work so well.

Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - MikeTorque

The Vauxhall Astra's EPB was a complete dog's dinner of a mess, they lost my trade after that shambles. They have since removed the EPB from some specifications which is a partial admission of failure.

Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - Hamsafar

We have EPB on the D3 model Audi A8L, I really like it but the later version on the new D4 A8L I had for a week is even better, releases and applies pretty instantly rather than over 1/3 of a second with the first incarnation. It is also silent rather than having a little whirr noise. Like everything the first version of something will soon be eclipsed by the better second version but without it we would never progress.

Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - Bilboman

Toyota's set-up in the Avensis is a text book exercise in lack of ergonomic design, lack of safety and gross stupidity. A million curses on the designer responsible. The button itself is a stretch and out of reach, whilst it could be located much nearer the driver (Scénic-style) or simply located on the central console (Passat style). When the key is in the ignition (essential to start the car, amazingly enough) the button is INVISIBLE, which makes a joke of the illuminated switch.
Worst of all, however, is the time taken to actuate, measurable in seconds. I never release the footbrake until the red dashboard light stays on, and I never rely on the auto-brake when switching off the engine, a feature the earlier model Avensis didn't have.
It is a daily niggle, but one I have just about got used to after six months with an otherwise excellent car. I always take the extra trouble to park "San Francisco" style (wheels turned IN to the kerb, always) as well as first or reverse gear engaged just before leaving the car. (I once saw a Clio driver leave her car n the steep road where I live and lock the door, only to see it run 200m downhill before smashing intoa lamp post, bringing the lamp crashing down onto the roof and writing off the car.)

Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - gordonbennet

Worst of all, however, is the time taken to actuate, measurable in seconds. I never release the footbrake until the red dashboard light stays on, and I never rely on the auto-brake when switching off the engine, a feature the earlier model Avensis didn't have.

Bilboman i don't get this bit, previous Avensis didn't have an electric parking brake, and i transported many hundreds of the new shape from '09 when they first appeared, and thousands of the previous model including the run outs and never found a leccy parking brake, from the start of the new shape they all worked automatically even in 'transport' mode (before the main fuse gets fitted).

I wonder if you found a car that had been deliberately deprogrammed for auto function, or possibly the auto function had failed?

Totally agree with you about the ca by the wayr, an excellent vehicle as have all Avensis been, spoiled IMO only by this silly toy parking brake, which i hope will disappear...i take hope from the real handbrake lever in pics i've seen of latest Auris which i fully expected to go the same electric abomination route..

Automatic handbrakes - stupid stupid stupid - Bilboman

The information I have (from reading numerous test drives and reviews (UK and Spain) is that the current model Avensis has always had an electric parking brake, but prior to the early 2012 facelift (my car is post-facelift with DRLs and a larger lower grille) the parking brake did NOT lock automatically when turning off the ignition.Thus the "auto-brake" as I call it is a further evolution of this Devil's contraption, and I can only hope that future revisions include faster actuation and a far more intelligent location for the switch.
The car is beautifully quiet with a very soft ride and a joy to drive. The only other gripe I have is the pathetic horn, beloved of Japanese manufacturers. I hardly use the horn as it is, but when a toot is needed I would much rather go "PARP!" than this comical "pleep?" reminiscent from something in the ring of Gerry Cottle's... I think I'll have a quiet word with the mechanic at next month's service and see if he can do me a transplant with a Lexus.

 

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