The manual handbrake lever is becoming an endangered species. It seems that even performance cars are foregoing this element in the interior. In its place is an electronic switch that engages and disengages the parking brake.
As sad as it may seem, there is a silver lining to this cloud of sadness that is the replacement of the traditional e-brake, and it comes in the form of auto brake hold, or brake hold, or auto hold. Whatever the terminology is, this system may save a few calories of effort at the stoplight while trying to hold the brakes down to prevent your car from rolling back. Let’s get into this feature.
What is Auto Brake Hold?
Packaged with an electronic parking brake (EPB), the Auto Brake Hold button usually is located next to the EPB switch, and accompanies a light on the gauge cluster to let you know when the system is activated.
How does it work?
The feature leverages modern anti-lock-braking system (ABS) in order to automatically hold the brakes when at a stop. When active, the ABS module locks in the pressure from the pedal going to the calipers once the vehicle comes to a stop, holding the car in place with the braking system, and not the electronic hand brake. The feature engages once the speedometer reaches zero, or when the car detects that the brake pedal is being firmly depressed and the car is stopped.
Once the light turns green, or when things get moving again, a simple tap of the accelerator pedal will be all you need in order to disengage the system and be on your merry way. In the case of manual transmissions, releasing the clutch while in gear does the trick.
What are the benefits?
As stated earlier, the feature helps you reduce fatigue from constantly stepping on the brake pedal after coming to a stop. The system also prevents any inching forward if the transmission is still in gear or rolling back if on an incline. While automatic cars have hill-start assist to prevent you from rolling back on an incline, brake hold will keep you held in place definitely.
Automatic cars may get a few benefits, but vehicles with manual transmissions and brake hold are a killer combination simply because the system is like a third foot. While the system is engaged, all you need to do is bring the engine to an appropriate speed, release the clutch and the brake hold system disengages. It’s a very convenient feature especially when on an incline. In the past, you could use the handbrake to hold yourself on an incline, with this feature you won’t need to do that anymore.