Before EPB (Electric Park Brakes) came into being, cars used manual brakes that drivers had to activate by engaging the brake lever when parking. With the electrical brake system, the car user just presses a button, and the car comes to a halt instantly.
An EPB is operated by a switch in the cabin that automatically applies brakes stopping the car. Motor manufacturers are continually inventing ways to make driving safer and less labor intensive.
How EPB Works
EPB can be found anywhere in the cabin, but most commonly located in the center console, near the gear shift. Some car makes like the Benz have it on the dashboard, on the right of the steering wheel. Whenever it placed, it’s within easy reach for the driver.
The electronic park brake requires the car driver to press a switch to activate them. They routinely come on when the car is parked or switched off.
When the switch is pressed on, motors on each brake squeeze into the disc to make the vehicle stop. You are likely to hear the car whirr which is reassuring to know the brakes have been activated and the car is safely held in place. The braking system uses cable puller systems or caliper integrated systems, depending on the vehicle make.
A video about How EPB Works:
In caliper integrated systems, the caliper works using electrical hydraulics. The actuator which is a transmission unit is fixed on caliper housing operates the brakes. To activate the system, the driver pulls or pushes down a button which sends a signal to trigger the electric motor on the rear brake which applies the brake making the car come to a halt
To release the brakes, the reverse process is performed. Depending on the car make, it can be a pull or push switch. You can try to drive off; this generally disengages them.
Advantages of Electric Parking Brake
One of the advantages of Electric Parking Brake is applying emergency brakes. If the switch is pressed when driving, it ensures safe braking to a standstill. The system works by blocking rear axle making the brakes open and close multiple times till the car stops.
This is very helpful when at full speed and you need to stop. Unlike with manual brakes which can fail when at high speed, the Electric Parking Brake works to halt the car immediately but safely. Chances of it failing are very slim.
Electronic park brakes have a better grip than cable operated brakes. You are likely to find that you get more braking control from a car with this system. The braking is instant and smooth compared to manual brakes which can be challenging to maintain.
Since no cables are connecting the brakes, they will last longer. However, the brake pads will need replacement periodically to give maximum hold every time.
There is no chance of forgetting to put your car in park mode; the system activates itself once the vehicle is turned off. In some car models, the driver will have to switch on the system when parked.
Child Safety Lock
This is very vital when you have small kids who can go touching buttons in the car. When the vehicle is switched off the parking brake cannot be activated making sure your kid is safe in the car and won’t touch anything that could unlock them.
Being an electrical system, this means the braking system is controlled by an integrated system that is more accurate and efficient than manual park braking. Some functions like autorelease are automated. The system has Hill Start Assist which applies rear brakes when the car is on a slope. This holds the car in place until the driver moves his foot to the accelerator thus averting rollback.
Better Interior Design
The EPB works with an electric cable and a switch and takes up very little space. This is beneficial in freeing up space in the car. Unlike the manual brake systems which have many parts and take up space, EPBs are an excellent choice for car makers to make use of the inside space for other purposes.
Disadvantages of Electric Parking Brake
While this innovative feature is a game changer, not everyone loves electronic park brakes. Some drivers prefer having full control of their cars especially when parking.
This is not a system you can work in your garage. If you love repairing and tinkering with your car, the EPB is not for you. Since its electrical aspect, it needs a qualified technician for repairs and part replacements. A sophisticated and expensive diagnostic tool is used which puts it beyond the reach of a DIYer.
Electrical problems in the car may mess up the park braking system. If the switch jams or a component gets burned, it can cause the whole system to fail which can lead to serious accidents if the car starts moving on its own.
Do You Need an EPB In Your Car?
This boils down to preference. Some drivers prefer having full control of the electric parking brake while others may find the automated system easier to park with.
There are many arguments for having an electronic parking brake. It’s an efficient system that is likely not to fail when taken care of. It comes with added feature like auto release and hill assist which are very helpful. Since its fully automated, your car will always be safe.
Unlike manual park brake, if you forget to activate the brake when parked, the electric park brakes come on when the vehicle is parked or switched off.
Read more: How To Bleed Brakes
The Bottom Line
Many manufacturers are starting to use this tech in their cars. The first car to use EPB was the BMW 7 series in 2002. This tech is found mainly BMWs, Renaults, Jaguars, Audi, and Volkswagens. Many other car makers are following suit by automating many car systems.
Overall, EPBs are an essential feature of cars. They are functional in many ways are will making parking easier and safer.
We highly recommend this braking system in your car. It can come already installed or as an aftermarket product that your car mechanic can fix for you.[/cta_box_4]