Manual vs Electric Parking Brake - Which One Should You Choose?

by Jatin Chhibber | 30/01/2021
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Here’s a difference between the manual parking brakes and electronic parking brake. 

In a vehicle, electronics have replaced a lot of things. One of them is the parking brake, which is known by several names like a hand brake, foot brake or emergency brake. Most of the carmakers refer to it as an electronic parking brake, while a few enthusiasts call it a drifting mechanism. Many modern cars are now offered with electronic parking brake instead of the mechanical hand brake. Do you think that the electric parking brake will soon replace the mechanical parking brake? Here are a few pros and cons of both. 


E Parking Brake in Cars - Explained


How emergency brake works

If you know how the drum brake works, that’s quite similar to how the parking brake works. There’s a piston which pushes brake shoes against the wall of the drum locking in place and creating fiction that locks rear wheels of your car. Normally, you will get these types of brakes in affordable cars like Maruti Swift, Hyundai Santro and so on. 

Manual parking brakes- A driver uses these brake via a mechanical level that is linked to the rear brake through a steel cable. The placement of the lever depends on carmaker’s design as it can be a handbrake or footbrake. Commonly handbrakes are seen on the on cars, nevertheless, a footbrake is rarely found mostly in automatic cars because, in manual vehicles, the clutch pedal eats up the left-most part of driver’s footwell, where the pedal of footbrake is positioned. 


Electronic parking brakes- This brake system also works on the same principle, but instead of a mechanical level and cable, it is done through a switch, which activates the electric motor and it allows the rear brake shoes or pads to get in contact with the rear drum or disc brake of the vehicle.


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Manual Parking Brake

Many car enthusiasts around the world believe that manual parking brakes are the best because it can be used to control the in emergency situations. Its mechanical nature along with the feel of the traditional parking brake is something that even non-enthusiasts prefer. Moreover, if something goes wrong, manual brakes are easier to service and repair. The parts of manual parking brakes are pretty effortless to find, and almost anyone can fix a manual brake. 
Furthermore, in emergencies, if your vehicle’s front brakes fail and you need to stop immediately. Then the manual parking brake will be quite easy than looking out for the little switch offered in the electronic parking brake. 
The biggest advantage of a manual parking brake is the one using it. In an emergency, the chances are pretty high that a drive will panic and pull the handbrake, which will lock the rear wheels and the vehicle can get out of control. If a driver is using an emergency brake, he needs to modulate it properly, and this only depends on his driving experience. A person needs slowly increase the pressure on rear brakes to stop it from high speed. There’s also a little issue with the maintenance of manual parking brake. Most of the cars use steel cables, which gets stretched out over time, which means that we need to get your braking brake serviced in regular interval of time. 

Electronic Parking Brake

The electronic parking brakes are more consistent as compared to the manual parking brakes. It gets an electric motor, which performs all the actions and you get a more consistent braking engagement that is connected to the ABS. This simply means that you can keep your vehicle stable if you need to stop the car at high speeds. You can also hear a nice whirring sound when the brake is engaged instead of the screeching sound you hear after pulling the manual parking brake. Moreover, as compared to the manual emergency brake, the maintenance cost of the electronic parking brake is non-existent. In this you get an electronic motor instead of a manual lever and cable, you don’t need to touch the brake system so much, until or unless something starts malfunctioning or breaks. 



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There are a few more advantages of the electronic parking brake. It is connected to your vehicles ECU. One can engage the parking brake, slot gear in your car, and once the vehicle senses that it is moving, it automatically disengages the parking brake. It also offers more style and cleanliness to the cabin.

The biggest drawback of the electronic parking brake is the size of the switch. It’s not that large like the size of a manual level or pedal, which simply means that it will be quite difficult to engage in panic or emergency situations. Moreover, in a panic situation, one can engage some other function in the vehicle’s centre console. Moreover, people, who are used to manual parking brake they will take some time to get used to the electric parking brake. Another big disadvantage of the electric parking brake is that if the motor breaks down then you need to get the right part from the carmaker to repair it. This replacement will involve a lot of money. In a manual brake, cables are not that expensive, but replacing a broken motor will burn a hole in your pocket. 



Coming to our verdict, the electronic parking brake is much more reliable because it offers more safety and consistency, which is required if you need to do emergency braking. Like a traditional handbrake, it the electric parking brake, you don’t always need to adjust your brake cable. It offers more space in the cabin, which allows carmakers to design an interior, which looks a bit more clean-looking. The electronic parking brake is the future because it keeps the vehicle in control under emergency braking, which is also a good safety measure.

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