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Auto handbrake or not - Leon Cupra

Damo H

Carbon Snob
Staff member
Moderator
Oct 3, 2012
3,958
2,339
Car Length In Front
Pretty sure that are. You listed benefits. Here are a few problems:

They are less reliable. That's not a guess. Talk to a mechanic, they don't speak very highly of them. One said to me 'They feck up all the time'.

When they do go wrong, they are harder and more expensive to fix. If you want to fix it yourself you're dealing with a more complex caliper which you can't manually wind back. It's an electro-mechanical system rather than a fairly simple mechanical one.

But the real problems are user interface.

A manual handbrake can be operated without looking at it with tactile conformation. You know if the brake is off, on and even how hard the brake is on by feel. The switch of an electric brake gives no feedback and required an LED tell-tale to let you confirm that the brake is activated, which you have to look down to see. Anything which takes your eyes inside the car unnecessarily is not an upgrade.

Electric brakes are slower in operation. You can drop a manual handbrake off instantly at exactly the time of your choosing. Electric ones are much slower as the motors take time to wind back making it difficult to time the transfer of power, when picking away up hill for example. Less of a problem in an automatic but don't get me started on them!

Also, you never have full control over the brake. What is actually happening is that you ask the computer if it could please let the brake off, and it might disagree with you. Depending on the car, it may not release the brake if a door is open for instance. In practice, this being second guessed by the car leads to confusion and lack of confidence that it will do what you want when you want it done. Or conversely, overconfidence that the car will make the right choice.

You have no control over how hard the brake is applied. To cover all eventualities, an electric brake has to put the brake on very hard every time. Most of the time you don't need the brake on that hard and only really crank the brake on when parked on steep hills. Putting it on really hard all the time puts more strain on the parts and makes the brakes more likely to freeze on it winter.

Less feedback in a fault or misuse situation. If a manual handbrake fails, you feel it. You know the brake is not working correctly. An electric brake leads you to trust the car with control of the brake so if there is a fault you are less likely to pick up on it. With the car directly controlling the brake instead of you there is more chance of a disconnect between what you expect and what has actually happened, which the OP knows all about!

For a real driver certain things lead to satisfaction in a car. The feeling that you are in control of the car, the car is effectively communicating what it is doing and the performance of the car closely matches your desires and expectations. Electric handbrakes are compromised on all three. Which is why electric handbrakes are crap!
There is a light on the dash as well that tells you the hand brake is on, just the same with a manual hand brake ;)

Also as others have said you can feel the handbrake if your foot is on the brake if you need to apply it. But then realistically you should leave it in gear on an incline anyway.

A handbrake should only ever be applied right enough to stop it rolling. Loads of people seem to feel the need to apply it as hard as possible stretching the cable etc.

Anyway I don’t disagree with your points on what can go wrong. However, that doesn’t make it a terrible idea, that assessment is what I disagree with.

There are plenty of things out there that you could call terrible simply based on what happens when they wrong, yet we still enjoy the benefits of them.

If we always focused on what could go wrong with things then life would be pretty dull.
 
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cupra14

Active Member
Aug 31, 2017
252
35
England
Whether that kind of brake is a good idea or not, if the garage changed the setting they ought to be to blame. If it's quite a bit of money as it sounds you can bring a claim - start with a letter detailing the costs and asking the garage to pay. They probably won't so then you get to decide whether to use such as MCOL (moneyclaimonline) or a solicitor (they write a letter "fairly" cheap).
 

queen

~Nassia~
Nov 29, 2010
612
15
Athens, Greece
Personally I like the electronic handbrake. Imho the only problem lies in case of an emergency, as I was taught in driving school, in the extreme case that the brakes fail for whatever reason you have a chance of stopping using the handbrake (pulling intermittently in short bursts) with the electric one it does simply nothing (theres a video on YouTube where somebody tried it).
 

Yern

Active Member
Apr 25, 2019
308
165
Dealer did the same to me and switched the auto-hold off on service, so I sympathise with your plight but don't think you can blame the dealer realistically. I tend to use auto hold on journeys but as I have to reverse a narrow road into my drive I tend to knock it off when I get home as it applies every time I brake (a pain) but always ensure the car's left with the handbrake switched on 'manually'...both at home (sloping drive) or at work (flat car park).
 
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RUM4MO

Active Member
Jun 4, 2008
6,160
423
South Scotland
Personally I like the electronic handbrake. Imho the only problem lies in case of an emergency, as I was taught in driving school, in the extreme case that the brakes fail for whatever reason you have a chance of stopping using the handbrake (pulling intermittently in short bursts) with the electric one it does simply nothing (theres a video on YouTube where somebody tried it).
I thought, and it is only a thought, that in an emergency, you hold the handbrake switch up and it will apply the handbrake even if the car is moving at greater than Zmph/kph - I can't see me offering to put that to the test though, I'm just mentioning what I think that I read somewhere and anyway, there MUST be an emergency brake function available in every car, it is a basic legal requirement without that a car is not considered roadworthy, ie fit for use on the public highway.
 

RUM4MO

Active Member
Jun 4, 2008
6,160
423
South Scotland
I'm just checking up, does the Hill Hold on these cars use the ABS block to keep fluid in the brakes to stop the car moving - as opposed to the electric handbrake which uses the motors in the rear callipers , I'd think that it would.
 

Rooster

Active Member
Oct 27, 2018
1,016
278
Yorkshire
The parking brake is just that, a parking brake that’s why it only needs to achieve a minimum 16% efficiency on the MOT. Modern cars are generally fitted with dual circuit diagonally split hydraulic service brakes, so if one circuit fails there is a secondary circuit. Some hybrids and EV’s use even more tech!
 

Mr Pig

Active Member
Jun 17, 2015
1,570
454
There is two stages of automatic handbrake. If you park on a flat surface and flick the switch obviously the car will hold. If you park on an incline then you should hold the brake pedal fully down then engage the switch.
Hang on! this doesn't make any sense. You always have your foot on the brake when you put the handbrake on. Did you just invent this?

I thought, and it is only a thought, that in an emergency, you hold the handbrake switch up and it will apply the handbrake even if the car is moving..
Doubt it. And you really wouldn't want the brake to come on full anyway, which it would. Yet another negative of electric brakes.
 

Damo H

Carbon Snob
Staff member
Moderator
Oct 3, 2012
3,958
2,339
Car Length In Front
There is two stages of automatic handbrake. If you park on a flat surface and flick the switch obviously the car will hold.

If you park on an incline then you should hold the brake pedal fully down then engage the switch.

You should feel the pedal 'sink' to give the braking system maximum hold.

I don't tend to use the full braking feature on a flat surface as it can cause the pads to stick therefore you'll get a nasty clunk when setting off.
I've had two cars with electric brakes and didn't know this. How many other users are the same? Yet another operational quirk that's far from intuitive or obvious? Simply flicking the lever does not give you full brake strength?!
Sorry to sound argumentative, but if you are on a slope, your foot is already on the brake pedal before you apply the handbrake, electronic or otherwise. Otherwise you're rolling down the hill as you apply the brake. So its not so much intuitive, as if you don't do it, your rolling down a hill while applying the handbrake.

You don't need the full brake strength when parked on a flat anyway. That's the same issue with people ramping up the handbrake handle unnecessarily. In fact if someone hits your stationary car, you're better off if it has some give in it.
 
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RUM4MO

Active Member
Jun 4, 2008
6,160
423
South Scotland
The parking brake is just that, a parking brake that’s why it only needs to achieve a minimum 16% efficiency on the MOT. Modern cars are generally fitted with dual circuit diagonally split hydraulic service brakes, so if one circuit fails there is a secondary circuit. Some hybrids and EV’s use even more tech!
I conveniently forgot about that, sorry, I still think that there is an "emergency mode" for the electric handbrake - unless that has been dropped in newer cars.
 
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RUM4MO

Active Member
Jun 4, 2008
6,160
423
South Scotland
Hang on! this doesn't make any sense. You always have your foot on the brake when you put the handbrake on. Did you just invent this?



Doubt it. And you really wouldn't want the brake to come on full anyway, which it would. Yet another negative of electric brakes.
The first one was true for the older Hill Asist Lite, the basic version that used the ABS block to trap fluid but only for 2 or 3 seconds, as fitted to for instance my wife's mid 2015 Polo.

I think in a situation with for some reason, like master cylinder failure, all braking was lost, suddenly locking the rear wheels would be preferable to no braking.

Maybe a good reading of the owners handbook is required.
 
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cupra14

Active Member
Aug 31, 2017
252
35
England
Doubt it. And you really wouldn't want the brake to come on full anyway, which it would. Yet another negative of electric brakes.
I don't know what the Seat does but the Jaguar equivalent is:
1. moving slowly (I think below 4mph), it applies the electric handbrake fully if you activate it
2. above that speed, it applies it partially (progressively more) each time you activate it (so, no, it doesn't do what is quoted above)

It is tested on the rollers at every MoT. I've watched and there's no drama.

It is an emergency as well as parking brake and described as both by Jaguar.

Seems likely the Seat/VW system will be much the same...
 

Glosphil

Active Member
Nov 10, 2004
90
21
Gloucestershire
It appears people need to read their car's handbooks. Mine clearly states that the electronic handbrake will operate at any speed if the switch is held up, i. e., as an emergency brake. The book even notes it can be operated by the front passenger. A search will find lots of info on Seat's web-site. There is another thread running on Auto Hold.
 

Peller

2018 Cupra 290 without the copper bits
Mar 29, 2016
489
143
Edinburgh
Sorry to sound argumentative, but if you are on a slope, your foot is already on the brake pedal before you apply the handbrake, electronic or otherwise. Otherwise you're rolling down the hill as you apply the brake. So its not so much intuitive, as if you don't do it, your rolling down a hill while applying the handbrake.

You don't need the full brake strength when parked on a flat anyway. That's the same issue with people ramping up the handbrake handle unnecessarily. In fact if someone hits your stationary car, you're better off if it has some give in it.
Hi Damo, may have worded it wrong What I was meaning was that when you have the foot on the brake (even on flat road) lightly and flick the switch it seems to engage normally, if you hold the pedal a bit harder then flick the switch the pedal sinks deeper which I assumed a stronger hold.

Anyways hope you're doing well, any news of another meet happening anytime?

Sent from my moto g(7) power using Tapatalk
 
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Damo H

Carbon Snob
Staff member
Moderator
Oct 3, 2012
3,958
2,339
Car Length In Front
Hi Damo, may have worded it wrong What I was meaning was that when you have the foot on the brake (even on flat road) lightly and flick the switch it seems to engage normally, if you hold the pedal a bit harder then flick the switch the pedal sinks deeper which I assumed a stronger hold.

Anyways hope you're doing well, any news of another meet happening anytime?

Sent from my moto g(7) power using Tapatalk
I was replying to MrPig :)
 
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BigJase88

Jase
Apr 20, 2008
2,462
435
Dumfries & Galloway
As far as i’m aware....

Have it in auto

Lightly touch brake pedal (hill hold)
Harder application to brake pedal (handbrake on)

There is no need to touch the lever whatsoever. I have never touched the lever in nearly 2 years
 

Mr Pig

Active Member
Jun 17, 2015
1,570
454
What I was meaning was that when you have the foot on the brake (even on flat road) lightly and flick the switch it seems to engage normally, if you hold the pedal a bit harder then flick the switch the pedal sinks deeper which I assumed a stronger hold.
So you just assume this? You didn't read it in the handbook or were told it by a dealer or anything, you invented the idea yourself?

You really haven't thought this through at all. If a driver parked on a hill, engaged the electric handbrake and the car rolled because the brake was not on tightly enough, who would be responsible?

That brake comes on full strength, every time.
 
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