How to: Disengage electric parking brake during emergency


An increasing number of luxury cars now come with an electric parking brake installed. While the efficiency and ease offered by their one-flick operation beats the hassle of a mechanical parking/emergency brake, they are complicated to deal with in case of emergencies that involve a dead battery.

Also Read: China Introduces Women Only Parking Spots That Are Wider And Pink

If your 2016 or newer Honda Civic suffers from a weak battery you wouldn’t be able to disengage the electric parking brake like you normally would by pushing the tab downward. Electric Parking Brake (EPB) systems work through an electric motor that tightens the brake calipers on the wheels. Electrical power is required only to tighten or loosen the grip of these calipers. This means that in the case of battery failure while parked on a steep slope with the EPB engaged, the car will thankfully stay in its position despite having no power on board.Electronic Parking Brake Diagram

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However if you find yourself having to deal with a dead battery and need to tow the car at the same time, this would be an issue. Most passenger cars that are front wheel drive have the EPB set up on the real wheels which wouldn’t let the car move efficiently. If you tow the car by lifting up the rear, you would risk the transmission of the car being wound up on the front wheels. Thus choosing a towing option that is well suited to the drivetrain configuration of your car is essential. If all else fails the best option would be to use a flatbed tow truck to pull the car into its carriage.

In most situations where the car is otherwise able to function apart from its faultly battery, using a jump starter is the simplest solution. In this case simply jump start the engine, keep it running and disengage the EPB using the tab/button in the cockpit. In certain other situations where the car has enough battery power to keep the ignition on, there may be enough juice available to disengage the electric parking brake using the conventional method. This should be your first attempt at finding a solution to the issue. If you’re looking for a compact jump starter, then PakWheels store has a reliable model that can hold charge for a long time and lets you jump start the car with minimal hassle. Anker Jump Starter from the PW Store.

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Moreover, in some models the EPB can be disengaged manually. Asking a service center is the best way to find out if this option is available for your vehicle. Even if this option is available for your car, chances are that it wouldn’t be listed on the owner’s manual. Citing security concerns most automakers who do offer this option detail it only in the service manuals available to authorized service centers. If manual EPB disengaging became common knowledge, breaking into a car and towing it away would become a common practice. For the models that do offer this option, the pull-cables are either located in the bottom of the center console or in the trunk.

A great place to start looking for additional help for your particular model is the PakWheels Technical Discussion Forum which is part of our self-run community of car owners offering friendly advice to their peers.


Notable Replies

  1. the manual override is made clear in the owner manual of every car with electric parking brake. Its a safety critical item.

    Its usually a cable that requires a lever to pull as its very tight and its not easily accessible either, e.g. my BMW X5 has it in the cargo area behind a panel and requires a pretty stiff and long lever to disengage

  2. Pakwheels should hire you for technical blogging. Your technical knowledge is far superior to anyone else around here :stuck_out_tongue:

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