Electronic parking brakes become the norm, but cost £682 more to fix

The parking brake is quickly becoming a thing of the automotive past as manufacturers ban them from their latest cars in favor of electronic parking brakes.

Now 83 percent of all new regular models on the market are sold with an electronic parking brake, compared to 76 percent in 2020 and 70 percent in 2019.

But car manufacturers’ switch from the manual parking brake can be expensive for drivers, with the average repair cost for a failed electronic parking brake at £831, according to Used car warranty provider MotorEasy.

Meanwhile, a manual handbrake repair costs an average of €149 – a difference of €682.

Bye-bye manual handbrake: Only 17% of new cars in UK showrooms today have the pull-lever manual handbrake as manufacturers have ditched it in favor of electronic parking brakes

The breakdown of the number of new models now sold with electronic parking brakes has been revealed as part of the annual Manual Handbrake Report from online sales platform CarGurus, which is now in its third installment.

It looked at the 642 models offered by 38 mainstream brands, with 550 cars featuring the electronic alternative to hand brakes. It means that only 92 new cars have a pull-lever handbrake.

Popular models including the Seat Leon, BMW 4 Series and Vauxhall Corsa – which will become Britain’s most bought new car in 2021 – have all dropped traditional handbrakes in the past year, the report confirms.

And some manufacturers have already braked on the handbrake for all models in their showrooms.

Well-known names such as Volvo, Alfa Romeo, Jaguar, Porsche and Mercedes-Benz now no longer sell any passenger car with a handbrake in the UK, so that 100 percent is switched to the electronic alternative.

Other major brands are also on the verge of doing away with the handbrake altogether.

For example, only one percent of new Audis have the option of a manual handbrake – the Audi A1 Sportback – while only six percent of the Peugeot range offers the more common braking system.

CAR MANUFACTURERS AND THE NUMBER OF MODELS IN THEIR 2021 PROGRAM WITH HANDBRAKES
Manufacturer Number of cars by manufacturer Number of cars with handbrake by manufacturer Percentage of models with manual parking brake
Abarth 2 2 100%
Alfa Romeo 5 0 0%
Audi 75 1 1%
BMW 54 3 6%
Lemon 13 4 31%
cupra 5 0 0%
dacia 3 2 67%
DS 7 0 0%
Fiat 14 7 50%
Ford 18 9 50%
Genesis 5 0 0%
Honda 5 0 0%
Hyundai 20 9 45%
unending 6 0 0%
Jaguar 6 0 0%
Jeep 5 1 20%
KIA 17 3 18%
land rover 7 0 0%
Lexus 10 0 0%
Mazda 7 3 43%
Mercedes-Benz 34 0 0%
MG 6 1 17%
mini 8 1 13%
Nissan 10 3 30%
Peugeot 16 1 6%
North Star 2 0 0%
Porsche 60 0 0%
Renault 12 6 50%
Chair 8 3 38%
skoda 16 6 38%
SsangYong 9 3 33%
Subaru 6 1 17%
Suzuki 7 5 71%
Tesla 4 0 0%
Toyota 20 7 35%
Opel 11 6 55%
Volvo 11 0 0%
VW 26 5 19%
TOTAL 550 92 17%
Source: CarGurus

While electronic parking brakes are easier for motorists to operate — they activate with the push of a button and release automatically when the driver presses the accelerator pedal — they are much more expensive to repair.

The most expensive electronic parking brake repair cost on MotorEasy records is a £2,005 bill to repair the system in a 10-year-old Range Rover.

And problems with electronic parking brake are not what you would call rare.

In 2017, Volkswagen had to recall 766,000 cars worldwide – 134,000 of which were British models – due to a recurring problem with electronic parking brakes.

This affected the hugely popular Golf hatchback, Touran MPV, Tiguan SUV and Passat family saloon and estate.

In the same year, Tesla also issued a voluntary recall of 53,000 Model S and Model X vehicles worldwide due to a parking brake malfunction, while Audi, Renault and Toyota also all had to recall models due to similar issues with their electronic parking systems in the past.

One brand that will not be forced to go through such recalls is Abarth.

Fiat’s performance arm is the only mass-market manufacturer to offer manual handbrakes on all models in its range – although that includes only souped-up versions of the previous generation 500 superminis.

Electronic parking brakes are more convenient for motorists and require just the push of a button to activate them.  They also switch off automatically when a driver presses the accelerator pedal

Electronic parking brakes are more convenient for motorists and require just the push of a button to activate them.  They also switch off automatically when a driver presses the accelerator pedal

Electronic parking brakes are more convenient for motorists and require just the push of a button to activate them. They also switch off automatically when a driver presses the accelerator pedal

While the electronic parking brake was once the preserve of expensive models, most cars today have them - including the budget-friendly Dacia Sandero, Britain's cheapest new model

While the electronic parking brake was once the preserve of expensive models, most cars today have them - including the budget-friendly Dacia Sandero, Britain's cheapest new model

While the electronic parking brake was once the preserve of expensive models, most cars today have them – including the budget-friendly Dacia Sandero, Britain’s cheapest new model

Even Dacia, famous for its budget-friendly engines, has started installing electronic parking brakes on its latest models, including the new Sandero supermini.

CarGurus says the drop from 24 percent in new cars with handbrakes in 2020 to just 17 percent this year is due to two factors.

The first is the emergence of electric and hybrid models, which in most cases use electronic parking brakes.

The second is Mitsubishi’s departure from the UK market this year, with a number of models featured in the 2020 data with manual hand brakes.

Chris Knapman, editor at CarGurus UK, said: ‘Last year we predicted the existence of the manual handbrake on new cars will only be a few more years, and our latest data gives us no reason to believe otherwise as there are is an even greater drop in 2021 than there was between 2020 and 2019.

“The rapid shift to electric vehicles will only hasten the demise of the manual parking brake, leaving many traditionalists seeking the tactile feel and mechanical simplicity of a manual parking brake scratching their heads.

“Nevertheless, for drivers who want to enjoy this feature, there are still certain models of new cars available with manual hand brakes in different classes.”

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