What Is an Electronic Parking Brake and How Does It Work?

Modern times introduce modern gadgets. When it comes to the automotive industry, a lot of things have changed. For example, the brake system in vehicles.

The manual brake system is slowly being replaced by electronic parking brake because the latter offers ease of use, reliability, and better functionality.

All you need to do is push a toggle and instruction is fed to the vehicle’s computer to apply the brakes.

What is an electronic parking brake?

The electronic parking brake is an upgraded version of a handbrake. The button handbrake makes the driver seat cabin look sleek. Just like the handbrake, electronic handbrake also helps restrict your vehicle from moving when parked. It’s not only confined to preventing forward but reverse motion as well.

In short, the vehicle will remain stationary when it is in electric parking brake mode.

The benefit of automatic handbrake is that it offers more options than a conventional handbrake.

You can choose from hill-hold or auto-hold option. The hills option in the EPB makes sure that your car doesn’t roll away accidentally and the auto-hold option is used to keep the pressure applied on all the four wheels.

How Does The Electronic Parking Brake Work?

Hand on Electronic Hand brake Switch with brake hold switch on Luxury car.
Electronic Hand Brake is a new technology used to replace the original hand brake

There are three main components of the EPB system: the actuator/electric motor, electronic brake module and the electric switch in the cabin.

When the EPB feature is enabled, the electric brake module receives the instructions and the brakes are applied.

There are separate electric motors on each brake and they activate at the same time, forcing the motor in the brakes to squeeze into the disc and halt the car’s movement.

Since the system is completely electronic and automatic, it is quick, efficient and reliable. The brake is released automatically when you press your foot on the accelerator. That’s how easy it is because there’s no mechanical action involved.

Advantages Of Electronic Parking Brake


Electromechanical parking brake is a complete electrical system and quite different from a manual brake system. There’s an integrated system installed which is responsible for making your vehicle come to a halt by pressing a single button.

Thanks to the automated system, the accuracy, and efficiency of this feature are more reliable than a conventional brake system. It helps stop both front and reverse movements.

Moreover, modern electric brake systems offer the Hill Start Assist feature as well. This feature applies brakes on the back wheels and is used on slope roads to prevent rollback.

Better Control:

If we compare a cable operated brake along with electronic handbrake system, electronic brake wins the game. This is because it offers instantaneous results since there’s no cable operation involved.

Cars with electronic handbrake system are smooth and more reliable.

Emergency Brakes:

The main benefit of the electronic parking brake with auto hold is its ability to apply the brakes in an emergency situation. There’s a safe braking mechanism even when you accelerate the vehicle and enable the electric park brake.

In this mechanism, the rear axle is blocked by closing and opening the brakes several times until the vehicle finally comes to a halt.

This system is said to be more reliable than manual brakes, especially when the car is at a high speed.

A lot can go wrong when you apply manual brakes when in speed. The strong friction may disrupt the contact between the tires and the road and you can lose control of the vehicle.

However, this is not the case with the electronic brake system. It’s quick to take action and halts the car immediately in a safe manner by opening and closing the brakes several times to maintain control.

A Simple System That Occupies Less Space: This system occupies very less space in your car since there are no electric wires involved. This feature too makes it more preferable over a manual brake system.

Child Safety Lock:

It offers a child safety lock to prevent accidents. With this system in place, no one will be able to deactivate the brakes if the ignition is off.

Disadvantages Of Electric Park Brake System


Like any other electric system, this one too is not perfect. Faults can occur due to various problems and affect the functionality of the parking system. For example, low voltage or high resistance can cause problems.

Moreover, poor maintenance can cause a short circuit between the wires that connect the whole system including the actuators, circuits, motors, and wires.


Since this system is relatively new and has gained much popularity these days, it’s costly. Even a replacement part can become a bit of a problem because when a component fails, the mechanic has to switch out the component from a different electric braking system and do repairs.

What To Do If The Electronic Hand Brake Light Is On?

It indicates that there’s a problem with the EPB system. There could have been a short circuit or other such issues. This is dangerous because the system may fail and result in accidents.

Take Your Car To a Mechanic

Under such a situation, you need to take your car to a mechanic and have it diagnosed and repair. However, that’s a costly process.

Use an OBD2 Scanner

Another option is to use an OBD2 scanner that is compatible with your car and has the option of checking, reading and resetting EPB light error. There are many OBD tools on the market that can help you do the job.

Pick one that’s reliable and easy to use so that you don’t have to face any issues. With a little bit of knowledge, you can know what is causing the EPB light to turn on so that you can fix it on your own. Plus, some scanners may also offer fixes.


The EPB is an important system in vehicles. It offers peace of mind and gives better control over the brake system, especially when parking.

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