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How Do Electronic Parking Brakes Work?

How Do Electronic Parking Brakes Work?

Basics of the Braking System

To understand how manual and electronic parking brakes work, let’s consider the brakes on a bicycle. When a manual brake is engaged, it pulls on cables that run to the rear brakes. The tension on these cables causes the brake pads to squeeze and stop the wheel.

You can easily see this by squeezing the handbrake on your bike.

On cars, manual parking brakes do the same thing as the brakes on a bicycle. The braking cables on the car run to the brake pads, or shoes, which squeeze against discs or drums. The wheel is then held firm.

The manual brake lever is held in place, keeping the tension on the cables until released.

Electronic parking brakes work the same way except an electronic system replaces the mechanical system. When you want to engage the parking brake, you press a switch. The switch sends an electrical signal to motors on each brake caliper. Those motors then squeeze the pads into the disc.

The electronic parking brake stays engaged until another signal tells the motors to release the pressure. In modern cars, this happens automatically when you start the car and drive off.

Which Cars Have Electronic Parking Brakes?

Mercedes-Benz W221 Start Button - Interior of Vehicle - Wikimedia Commons - EuroDrift
Mercedes-Benz W221 Start Button – Interior of Vehicle – Wikimedia Commons – EuroDrift

One of the first manufacturers to use electronic parking brakes was BMW. The BMW 7-Series and other models have moved to the more modern technology. Other European models have also made the switch from manual. Jaguar, Renault, Volkswagen, and Audi are just a few examples.

The Bad with the Good

What Happens If You Pull An Electronic Parking Brake While Driving? – Cleetus McFarland – YouTube

Electronic parking brakes do have their drawbacks. Without a diagnostic laptop, you cannot remove and change the pads. This means DIY home mechanics are probably out of luck. Instead of a quick trip to the local auto store, the cars with electronic parking brakes will need to visit a professional for replacement.

I’m also reminded of a time when my brakes failed, and I was able to navigate safely using my manual parking brake. Electronic brakes won’t allow for partial braking. It’s all or nothing. So there is that. (Note: It is best to avoid using the parking brake for full stopping, just for reference.)

Yet, as cars rely more and more on computers and electronics, it looks like the electronic parking brake is what we can expect on future models.

Red Bull Formula One: Aston Martin Caravan Race

Red Bull Formula One: Aston Martin Caravan Race

An Aston Towing a Caravan? Yes.

In a Top Gear style stunt, Red Bull Formula One drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen pull the ultimate race. Each driving an Aston Martin Vanquish variant, the two F1 drivers pull caravans around the ring. This Aston Martin caravan race takes place at the F1 Austrian Grand Prix track. At 1,760 lbs., the caravans didn’t stop the Aston Martins from a track day. Fortunately, the cars and drivers survived… unfortunately, the caravans did not.

Aston Martin & Red Bull Racing

Aston Martin Caravan Race - Towing Caravans - Red Bull Photograph - EuroDrift

Aston Martin Caravan Race – Towing Caravans – Red Bull Photograph – EuroDrift

The Aston Martin caravan race may make one ponder, what is the connection between Aston and Red Bull? Well, first off, Aston Martin is a Red Bull sponsor. This leads to a tendency of working together. Secondly, Red Bull’s involvement in the F1 racing scene has led to an interest in hypercars. Not surprisingly, Aston Martin is working with Red Bull on the stunning Valkyrie. The Aston Martin Valkyrie is a beastly machine that will shake up the hypercar realm. Unfortunately, for Aston, Red Bull vehicles are built with Renault engines.

Daniel Ricciardo & Max Verstappen

Aston Martin Caravan Race - Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen - Red Bull Photograph - EuroDrift

Aston Martin Caravan Race – Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen – Red Bull Photograph – EuroDrift

The drivers for the Aston Martin caravan race were Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen. Ricciardo made his F1 debut in 2011 with Toro Rosso, Red Bull’s entry driver team. With 4 victories and 3rd place last year, this driver can race. During the caravan race, Ricciardo drives an Aston Martin Vanquish Volante with 576 horsepower. Now, everyone knows the Vanquish Volante is ready for the caravan road trip.

On the other hand, Max Verstappen made his start in F1 racing in 2015. Surprisingly, Verstappen was only 17 years old! This makes him the youngest F1 driver in history. This stunt wasn’t completely new as Verstappen. He once took the Red Bull F1 car up an Austrian Alps ski slope… yes, really. Lastly, Verstappen drove an Aston Martin Vanquish S Volante with 603 horsepower in the race.

Ready to See the Race? Hell Yes!

A Caravan Race with an F1 twist! Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen take to the Red Bull Ring – Aston Martin Red Bull Racing – YouTube

The Red Bull Racing Aston Martin caravan race is quite the spectacle. Who would’ve thought Aston Martin’s can tug a caravan along the track? Well, if you don’t know, now you know. If you did know, then… good for you. Unfortunately, in recent years, Red Bull is struggling with the hybrid powertrain rules from 2014. Regardless, Red Bull can still put on quite the show, on and off the F1 track. In conclusion, the Aston Martin Vanquish is a powerhouse waiting to show the world what it is capable of… or not?

Aston Martin Caravan Race - View of Caravans, Drivers, & Vehicles - Red Bull Photograph - EuroDrift

Aston Martin Caravan Race – View of Caravans, Drivers, & Vehicles – Red Bull Photograph – EuroDrift

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