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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Did a 120+ mile freeway round trip drive yesterday. I had the cruise control set to 72mph and the traffic came to a stop and started rolling at crawl speed. I decided to put it in SPORT mode, so I didn't have to brake as much; using the engine compression to slow me down while keeping a safe distance. I was moving about 8-10mph and accidentally hit the electric parking brake switch instead of the driving mode switch. 😨

The car locked up the brakes for a second with a load chirp, then released them and beeped a warning. Initially I had no idea what happened. The cruise control information somehow looked different at the top of my dash panel (something was listed in red). I thought to myself, oh I can't change driving modes while in cruise control. I shut off the cruise and hit the electric parking brake again (thinking I'm hitting SPORT mode, because I was watching the traffic in front of me and didn't want to look down at the switch) and the brakes chirped again, but not as bad at 3-5mph... 😬

Then I finally realized what I was doing wrong. I've never had a car with an electric emergency/parking brake and really didn't want one this time either, but I had no choice. I've always specified a manual E-Brake when the option existed.

The fact that the E-Brake engaged at all while I was moving is CRAZY! IMO the computer should have the drivers back in this situation. Did the brake lights even come on? What about the driver behind me as my car suddenly slowed without warning?

OMG! This just isn't right. What do you think?
 

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It seems like the "Emergency Brake" has finally, and completely, morphed into a "Parking Brake."
What if the regular brakes go out? Then, how do you stop?
 

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.

The fact that the E-Brake engaged at all while I was moving is CRAZY! IMO the computer should have the drivers back in this situation. Did the brake lights even come on? What about the driver behind me as my car suddenly slowed without warning?

OMG! This just isn't right. What do you think?
It’s an emergency brake and functioned as it should have, like pulling on the manual emergency brake. Like the manual, it’s brake lines are separate from your normal brakes. It’s there for emergencies and parking.n
It suppose to only operate, as long as you’re holding on to it. If it didn’t release, immediately after you let go, you should have it checked out… if you pulled it up accidentally, it will release soon as you stop pulling up…
The selector for drive mode is a toggle, where as the EBS you have to get your fingers under and lift and hold.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
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^ THIS ^

Good to know it functions as an emergency brake when needed.

I only "tapped" it like I would the driving mode switch. It locked up the brakes for a second. I did not hold it on for any length of time. At first, I thought I got rear ended. But after checking my rear view mirror the car behind me was a good 6 car lengths back.

Not sure this electric E-Brake switch is in the best location right behind the driving mode switch. IMHO it might be better to put it on the left side of the dash out of the way of accidentally touching it while driving and make its' operation tied to a depressed brake pedal switch. Controls directly in front of you, in your view while driving are much safer. ;)

There is no doubt that touching it was my fault/error, but just be warned not to accidentally do it. It will scare the **** out of you when you are not expecting it!

Give me a manual cable E-Brake over an electric one any day of the week.
 

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As it says in the manual, in order to use the EPB in an emergency, the switch must be pulled up and held, not simply pushed down. Did you push the button down or lift it up?

"Emergency braking
If there is a problem with the brake
pedal while driving, emergency braking
is possible by pulling up and holding
the EPB switch. Braking is possible only
while you are holding the EPB switch.
However, braking distance will be longer
than normal."


I agree that the Mode and EPB switches are poorly located, but there's nothing we can do about that for our vehicles. It'll have to be addressed in future models. We just have to train ourselves to use them as they are.

I use a pillow on top of the center console to rest my arm on and it frequently falls down when I exit the vehicle. There have been a number of times when I'll start up, grab the pillow to put it back in place and begin rolling only to feel that the SC was sluggish. Turns out that the Mode switch got bumped and I was in Snow mode. Popping it back into Smart mode made a noticeable improvement in performance! :D
 

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Good to know it functions as an emergency brake when needed.

Not sure this electric E-Brake switch is in the best location right behind the driving mode switch. IMHO it might be better to put it on the left side of the dash out of the way of accidentally touching it while driving and make its' operation tied to a depressed brake pedal switch. Controls directly in front of you, in your view while driving are much safer. ;)

Give me a manual cable E-Brake over an electric one any day of the week.
Agree, the location could be better, but you’ll find it’s usually found behind the shifter in most cars, some have them on the lower dash, left side (around your knee). I can see having it close to the mode selector can be a little troublesome, if like me, you don’t look down when switching between modes.

I'm good with the electronic brake, without it, auto hold and I believe hill assist wouldn’t be available.
The only thing is for me is, with the EPB, it’s either on or off, with the manual hand-brake, you can gradually apply the brake force… which was fun to play with in my earlier years 😈😎
 

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Ford and GM have both operated the same way for years. Hold for emergency. Pull to set parking brake. When you hit the gas it automatically turn off the parking brake. On GM and Ford you can also set autohold on. Every time you stop at a red light or whatever it will hold you so you don't have to hold the brake. Works well on vehicles with auto stop/start. Make a pickup drive like a golf cart though. I leave both functions off usually.
 

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Parking brake = Emergency brake
The misunderstanding people have with this system is because emergency doesn't mean "OMG I have to stop now!!!" it means "normal brakes aren't working and I need to bring the car to a controlled stop". The reason it doesn't stop quickly is because the parking brake on almost all vehicles is actually a completely separate set of much small rear brakes and not the massive front brakes that normally apply like 70% of the stopping power. The parking brake is activated by a physical cable (yes even the "electronic" ones) and not part of the standard hydraulic foot brake system. This is because a failure in the hydraulic system will render at least two (or more) of your four brakes as useless so the emergency brake makes up the difference and can still stop the car.

As a C7 owner I can confirm the emergency brake is a mini drum brake located inside the rear rotors. Same system my 350Z used as well but the Nissan had the classic hand brake and not the little switch. Modern vehicles use the switch simply to save space in the center console plus since its electronic it can be integrated into other automatic features like hill hold.
 

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The misunderstanding people have with this system is because emergency doesn't mean "OMG I have to stop now!!!" it means "normal brakes aren't working and I need to bring the car to a controlled stop". The reason it doesn't stop quickly is because the parking brake on almost all vehicles is actually a completely separate set of much small rear brakes and not the massive front brakes that normally apply like 70% of the stopping power. The parking brake is activated by a physical cable (yes even the "electronic" ones) and not part of the standard hydraulic foot brake system. This is because a failure in the hydraulic system will render at least two (or more) of your four brakes as useless so the emergency brake makes up the difference and can still stop the car.

As a C7 owner I can confirm the emergency brake is a mini drum brake located inside the rear rotors. Same system my 350Z used as well but the Nissan had the classic hand brake and not the little switch. Modern vehicles use the switch simply to save space in the center console plus since its electronic it can be integrated into other automatic features like hill hold.
On the Ford and GM trucks its just motors on the rear hub activated by a module via wires. No cable unless you mean electrical cable. The old ones had 2 wires. But the later GM and Ford both have an added temp sensor on them.

And like you, all I've seen were inside the rotor working like a drum brake. Ive not seen any like the mustang/Lumina/monte Carlo etc that used the screw in caliper for parking and braking that were electronic. There could be though, I don't see why it wouldn't work.

The small drums will do fine for emergency stopping since any real clamping power in the rear is just going to cause a tail slide anyway. If your fronts go out your in for 4 or 5 times the stopping distance id bet. Several hundred feet
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
As it says in the manual, in order to use the EPB in an emergency, the switch must be pulled up and held, not simply pushed down. Did you push the button down or lift it up?
I simply clicked it "up (back)" like I was clicking the driving mode switch back. It clearly "set" the parking brake for a second, then released it; possibly because I had my foot on the gas pedal or was off the pedal, then touched the gas pedal (?). I did not hold it up/back.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Agree, the location could be better, but you’ll find it’s usually found behind the shifter in most cars, some have them on the lower dash, left side (around your knee). I can see having it close to the mode selector can be a little troublesome, if like me, you don’t look down when switching between modes.

I'm good with the electronic brake, without it, auto hold and I believe hill assist wouldn’t be available.
The only thing is for me is, with the EPB, it’s either on or off, with the manual hand-brake, you can gradually apply the brake force… which was fun to play with in my earlier years 😈😎
I consider this event a worthwhile lesson learned. Because of the "scare" my error created, I won't forget it. Normally I would look down at the switch, but on the freeway in heavy traffic I thought it best not to. If I didn't have all these neat technological gadgets (transmission modes in this case), I wouldn't be thinking how I can use them to my advantage while driving. ;)

What I am very thankful about is the car did apply the right and left brake evenly; the SC tracked straight when the brake locked. I come from the sandrail/off-road racing world and am very familiar with walker-brake usage. Back in my early driving days with VW Bugs we learned early on that you could loosen one of the E-Brake cables and have a left turn drifter on command. We'd make left turn tracks at El Mirage dry lake and have a blast. Once we started installing walker-brakes on our Baja Bugs, the grass parking lots at Knott's Berry Farm became a solemn course around the trees. :LOL: I grew up in The OC when orange groves and raw land were still common.

Good point about the other advance features that key off this electric brake.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I didn't even realize the electric E-Brake switch clicked "down." I don't see this mentioned in the manual page posted above. Just to clarify, does that release the E-Brake?

I have been applying the E-Brake when I park and let it release automatically when I put the car in gear.
 

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I didn't even realize the electric E-Brake switch clicked "down." I don't see this mentioned in the manual page posted above. Just to clarify, does that release the E-Brake?

I have been applying the E-Brake when I park and let it release automatically when I put the car in gear.
Yes, pressing on the brake peddle and pressing down will also release brake.
 

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Even without looking, I'm not sure how you would confuse the two switches. The drive mode is a forward/back toggle, the parking brake is a stick your finger under it and pull up switch.

Maybe I'm just used to it, since I don't switch drive modes a lot and use the parking break every time I stop. At least it's smart enough to automatically release while you're driving if you're not holding it up! I'm still a fan of the old school cable pull hand brakes though. Quick to engage, quick to disengage. At least until one day you find the cable has ceased up from never being used. LOL

Glad it didn't cause an accident.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
On my Mini Cooper all you had to do was move the shifter to the left to turn on SPORT mode while continuing with automatic shifting. After that if you wanted manual shifting you just shifted up or down and that automatically put it into MANUAL SPORT mode. That seems like a better way to do it.

I generally only use NORMAL and SPORT while continuing with automatic shifting. The Mini also had a button for SPORT mode in front of the shifter, but easiest to just drive it as an automatic, moving the shifter itself left when you want the automatic transmission to hold the gears longer; then move it back to the right for a return to NORMAL mode.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
Had another strange emergency brake issue. Parked and set the e-brake while out to lunch. After lunch, I started the car and put it in reverse, but the e-brake didn't automatically release. Here is the SC in "R"everse, yet the e-brake light is still on.
Vehicle Motor vehicle Steering wheel Steering part Automotive design

I lifted my foot off the brake and the car didn't start rolling, then I noticed the red e-brake light on the dash was still lit. Put my foot back on the brake and took a picture, then manually released the e-brake and the light went out. Lifted my foot and the SC started rolling backwards as expected. Strange. :unsure:
 
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