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Electric handbrakes

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Why?!

I am currently running about in a 12 plate Vauxhall Meriva hire car while I wait for a company car to arrive. (Promoted - get me!)

When it arrived in the car park, one of the guys in the office and asked me "is that your new car, it's 'Orrible! What's going on between the seats?"

At this point I hadn't really looked at it, so I went outside and between the seats are two big aluminium arch shape runners that apparently house a moveable arm rest / storage combo or some such pointless accessory. Weird.

Hang on a minute, where's the handbrake?

 

*Looks to the right of the seat, nothing.

*Looks down in the footwell, nothing.

 

*spots a little toggle switch below the gear lever with a p symbol on it.

 

Oh FFS!

 

No manual in the car, so I take a guess how it works. First junction I arrive at, pull up, car moving at less then 2 mph, pull the little button.

CLANG! Fookin ell! As the car jolts to a halt.

 

Lights change, pull the button again. Nothing. Handbrake warning still on.

Hmm, push the little button, Nothing.

Foot on the brake and push the button.

Cars behind start beeping!

 

Swearing, notice the warning light has gone out, pull away.

Don't touch the button again!

 

Talking to others at work who have Anteras or insignias, you just drive off and the brake releases when the clutch is up and there are enough revs.

 

What was the point in that? What was wrong with a handbrake?

I bet in 6 years / 100,000 miles this miserable gutless little car will need a rear caliper and will be written off by the £1000 price tag and trip to the dealer to reprogram the caliper.

 

Don't you love progress?

 

(All moderns / vauxhalls are shit etc etc.)

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I hate them. Every time I visit my local Land Rover specialist, there's a Disco 3 in with some sort of handbrake fault. "We may have to replace the handbrake ECU." A handbrake does not need a bloody computer! Apparently they're good for ripping out caliper mounts too, because the electric motor can't release the handbrake quickly enough when you pull away. Fitted purely so there's something else to go wrong. No other reason.

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I was in my brothers insignia the other day and the bloody thing nearly rolled into my car as the electronic handbrake thingy decided to pack up again.

 

Also its a horrible pot hole induced ride on its elastic band tyres plus it sounds like a tractor with its Fiat diesel engine

 

Its been back time and time again and the RAC have also had a look.

 

Vauxhall keep telling us its sorted but it normally lasts a week or two before it gives up the ghost again.

 

Give me a mk3 cavalier Isuzu engined diesel over this modern shite anyday.

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I too have had hideous hidden handbrake horrors.

 

When we picked up the DAF from Scooters in Edinburgh a few years back my mate and I swapped cars half way back. We were in a service station just south of Carlisle (I had stopped in to see some family on the way so took a long route). 

 

Having driven the DAF for some time I gave Eor a few pointers on how it works what to do etc and watched him drive off whilst I got into his 04 plate Mercedes CLK. About 10 seconds after getting in I noticed that as well as his crash course in how to drive the DAF, I needed one on the CLK. Where da fook was the handbrake? 

 

I thought about asking someone but that would probably beg the question how did I get it on in the first place? Its in a car park on the M6? I would probably get lifted for knicking some keys and trying to steal the bloody thing. Thankfully my eagle eyes spotted it was an automatic with 3 pedals and after a couple of attempts I managed to get the sodding thing free and caught up with the DAF a little way down the road. 

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I was very happy to see my Volvo has a good old fashioned handbrake when I first drove it. Then when I tried to pull away later, it felt like the handbrake was on. I RFM and it has a "hill holder" thing where it holds the rear brakes on until you let the clutch up. Uh-oh.

 

Renault Scenic handbrakes are hilarious. The emergency release is in the boot. Pull the lever to release the handbrake. Sounds good.....until *someone releases it on a hill

 

 

 

 

*Not me :)

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I still get cold sweats and put on the Autoshite look thats been perfected over the years when you just know that everyone's thinking "tosser" when you cause a massive traffic jam 'cos that dicky coil lead has picked the worst moment possible to be dicky. Then I remember it's supposed to do that. One day it won't and I'll be fucked cos the hill holder will have engaged and the car weighs about 9 tons,so I'll not be able to shove it on to the kerb.

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My C'eed thankfully has a proper handbrake but it also came with the 'hill start assist' feature - I do not need assistance from a computer to do a bloody hill start!  I didn't know it had it until I parked on a steep hill on the first day of ownership and thought the brakes had jammed on as it wouldn't let the car roll back while it was in 1st gear.  

 

Electric handbrakes are, to contribute to the Autoshite hive-mind, the work of the devil.  So is stop-start.

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I know it's a bit of a cliche "OMGALLNEWCARSIZSHIT" and all, but it really is getting a bit ridiculous when a massively complex box of elec-trickery replaces a mechanical ratchet and £20 bit of steel cable for no advantage whatsoever.

These electronic throttles are the same, what's wrong with a bit of cable than can be bodged back together again with random bits of shit from your toolbox if it breaks in the middle of nowhere?

Go on, ask me how I know....

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I know it's a bit of a cliche "OMGALLNEWCARSIZSHIT" and all, but it really is getting a bit ridiculous when a massively complex box of elec-trickery replaces a mechanical ratchet and £20 bit of steel cable for no advantage whatsoever.

These electronic throttles are the same, what's wrong with a bit of cable than can be bodged back together again with random bits of shit from your toolbox if it breaks in the middle of nowhere?

Go on, ask me how I know....

Because the electronic cable can vary the response to give a sport mode... kinda the same as a choke knob that falls into the dash when the motor warms up, in a 21st century kind of way.

 

*EDIT*

Just read that Volvo V40's are rolling away while parked with the handbrake on... I thought that went away with the xantia.. :?

 

http://www.volvov40club.com/forums/7-volvo-v40-general-discussion/347-handbrake-fault.html

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I'm far from being a fan of all this new fangled rubbish (I end up shifting cars round at work and have had a few issues).  But saying that, releasing the handbrake on our LDV minibus uses a fair bit of my strength after I've yanked it on for a hill start.  I'm not sure how the tiny women who sometimes drive it manage.  I'm vaugely expecting to get called out at some point to help someone complete a hill start.

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This all sounds sinister to me....As if some unseen electronicdickery might one day be used  to  control a vehicle rather than the driver in it.   Maybe I am just paranoid and dollywobbler  has the real  reason - to jack up service/repair costs.    There  was some black 63 reg thing in the car park  today (no idea what - couldnt care less) at work being repaired  by the AA.   There  was a laptop involved.   Probably could have done it from the M4.

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A couple of years ago i had a chap come in to petrol station where I worked in a brand new passat with electronic brake. He misfuelled and came in to inform me and he had rang rac who told him to not turn on ignition as his car was diesel and he put 80 quid of unleaded in it. To move his car his ignition had to be turned on. rac chap said to me that when he had to move it to drain tank it had pretty much knackered engine by just turning ignition on

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A couple of years ago i had a chap come in to petrol station where I worked in a brand new passat with electronic brake. He misfuelled and came in to inform me and he had rang rac who told him to not turn on ignition as his car was diesel and he put 80 quid of unleaded in it. To move his car his ignition had to be turned on. rac chap said to me that when he had to move it to drain tank it had pretty much knackered engine by just turning ignition on

Bollocks.

Fuel filter holds enough to drive short distance. Done loads of misfuels and not one has suffered any ills. VW/Audi included. Only one I can remember which was bolloxed was a Phateon where the guy tried to drive it underwater. They don't run on water.

So if the battery goes flat I assume the car is completely immobilised?

No, you can pull the emergency release and run yourself over (wasn't me)

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The first time I encountered an electric handbrake was on an Audi S6. Bloody fast thing but after parking up I had to put the handbrake on, I couldn't see a lever to pull on or a brake to press (ala: Mercedes, Lexus etc...) but there was this little button that looked like a window switch which was, apparently, a handbrake. It felt strange to pulling a small switch to engage the handbrake.

 

A few weeks later at the same garage we had another A6 there with handbrake problems.......

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I was only saying what the rac chap told me tiff. All I know is he caused chaos at 4.30 in the afternoon

Sorry, wasn't aimed at you!!

 

Just hear so much crap spoken about misfuelling, fair enough it's a pain, but not the end of the world some folks make it out to be.

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You're all missing the point, handbrakes aren't something you should have to trouble yourself with other than when you park up, and you don't want to be the loser with the old obselete car that doesn't have one do you? You know those weirdos who use our cruising lane to overtake and even fail to get the point when we accelerate right up to their rear bumper braking sharply at the last moment. As for the harsh ride, I'm arfaid that's the trade off we must accept in order to mark the sum total of our whole existance on this planet by displaying really, really big shiny alloys, It's a shame that spare has been replaced by a can of tyreweld as It would be nice to hang the great big shiny rim about ones neck when away from the shiny car.

House prices are rising, there'll be equity to release soon so no excuses not to be seen in something with an array of motorised moving bits, they're not pointless, they mark percieved social standing. I demand an automatic sunvisor please GM.

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Steering by wire sounds ace, I suppose it's from aircraft.  Nobody complained when Jaguar nicked the disc brakes idea from planes.  Personally I can't wait for the hostess service and only smoking in the toilets for new cars.

 

The problems with conventional steering are probably crash protection, cost, and tuning the steering feel.  When you hoon your car into a concrete block at ever increasing speeds, it's more and more difficult to deal with a metal spike aimed at the driver.  For cost, I should imagine you can carry over steer by wire hardware and software to every car in your range, steering racks aren't even shared between the Golf and Audi A3 FFS.

 

From engineering a new vehicle I can see where the idea comes from, it perhaps makes less sense once the car gets to 20 years old and hasn't been back to the glass & chrome dealer for 15 years, but that's not really their target audience.

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