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I was just reading an old copy of a UK classic car mag and the article was about Lotus Cortina --- one of the signs to look for to determine if fake or not was the presence of an "umbrella-handle handbrake" which I thought might be the traditional console style as opposed to a pedalbox button but being totally clueless I had to check with BaT which offers a great reference source for seeing stuff and it turns out that it was a dash mount thingy:



But it made me curious about the humble handbrake.

I know many were that floor button style, but when did the console mount lever style start happening?

Old veteran brass-era cars probably had the lever style but at some point the floor button took over?

Can I get a history here?

Doesn't anyone care about the humble handbrake?

Tell me more!

Contemporary parking brakes are mostly electro and the mechanical variety are going the way of the dodo bird dinosaur...



“It’s official, the death of the handbrake is coming as manufacturers switch to electronic parking brakes in huge numbers,” stated CarGurus editor Chris Knapman. “Within the next few years we expect the number of cars on sale with traditional handbrakes to decline further, likely only to be found on a select number of niche models. Of course, the benefits can’t be ignored, but as the latest technology trickles through manufacturer line-ups, many new drivers might never experience one of the most familiar of automotive features.”


:

Any commentary about the new fangled electro parking brakes?

Space savings worth it to incorporate more whistle bells whatever?

I'm a grumpy curmudgeon with little experience involving contemporary cars so I ain't even ever experienced this new trend --- have you? And if so, care to comment on pros/cons?

Any other little thing much welcomed too, like pointing out some oddball application used by the Swedes or whomever did weirdly --- just anything handbrake related really is what I'd like to be reading about here in this thread.

Such minutia is endlessly fascinating.
 

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Here's my thoughts on each:
  • Console handbrake--pretty much the standard, is fully automated in my brain. No compalints.
  • Electronic parking brake--originally I was skeptical of needless complexity, but the few cars we've had them in have been fine. Pushing a button is a lot more in the background than a yanking noise which is nice, and it definitely frees up console space.
  • Foot pedal parking brake--like in minivans and trucks. I hate these. If it's not your car and you aren't used to it, it can be unclear which setting it is in and how to get it out of said setting. Kinda like a USB port where you get it right, then wrong because you're unsure, then finally right.
  • Umbrella brake--never actually used one. I like the idea in theory, I imagine the pull force is high though unless there's a linkage in there somewhere.
 

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Space savings worth it to incorporate more whistle bells whatever?
The only downside I ever saw to the ordinary mechanical brake between the seats was that it allowed emissions apes to use it as a strength tester. I rarely ever used that brake on any car, so I was displeased to get into a car a couple of decades ago to find the lever nearly vertical.

The mechanical brake between the seats can be useful for retaining a bit of control when training a new driver. Snow also, of course.

The electric brake adds another button to my to-do list before I can start moving. I don't love it, but it does save space in little cars.
 

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I know many were that floor button style
What is this? I recall having a truck that had the high beams operated with a floor button. My current car has a foot actuated pedal for the e-brake.

I like the old Japanese truck style with the pull-out lever in the dash
Isn't this the same thing as the 'umbrella' lever in the OP? I know I had a car that used this once upon a time, and it was probably Japanese (my memory fails me here).
 

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The electric brake adds another button to my to-do list before I can start moving. I don't love it, but it does save space in little cars.
What is the difference in operation of different e-e-brakes? I'm guessing some of them come on automatically when you exit the car? I've only used them in 5ish year old Fords, and those ones don't automatically apply themselves. If you activate the brake it will automatically disengage itself as soon as you touch the throttle pedal and the car is in Drive, so pressing the button again isn't actually nessesary.
 

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Isn't this the same thing as the 'umbrella' lever in the OP? I know I had a car that used this once upon a time, and it was probably Japanese (my memory fails me here).
It looked ever so slightly different to me..., in the Cortina it looks T-shaped while the Japanese trucks use an L-shaped handle (for more leverage?).
 

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ooo ooo i thought of another style! 60's Chevy trucks (and probably others) used this lever under the steering column with a big gear that looked like it would eat fingers
61975
 

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What is the difference in operation of different e-e-brakes? I'm guessing some of them come on automatically when you exit the car?
Exactly.

If you activate the brake it will automatically disengage itself as soon as you touch the throttle pedal and the car is in Drive, so pressing the button again isn't actually nessesary.
Toyota's design with a manual transmission lets you drive away after overcoming brake resistance, but it doesn't seem right to me to do it that way. Seems to add a bit to both clutch and brake wear, so my OCD has me pressing the button.
 

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The only down side I see to the electrical hand brake is the cost replacement of a caliper if they ever fail will be significantly more than the old cable style. I work at a VW dealer and the price of some these calipers are crazy, oddly enough the motor itself cost more than if you were to buy the complete caliper assembly
 

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Toyota's design with a manual transmission lets you drive away after overcoming brake resistance, but it doesn't seem right to me to do it that way. Seems to add a bit to both clutch and brake wear, so my OCD has me pressing the button.
Kind of nice to be able to use it as a Hill Holder, though. I can do it with my manual handbrake on a steep incline but am not coordinated enough to do it smoothly (usually just dump the clutch and give it a lot of gas).
 

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The only down side I see to the electrical hand brake is the cost replacement of a caliper if they ever fail will be significantly more than the old cable style. I work at a VW dealer and the price of some these calipers are crazy, oddly enough the motor itself cost more than if you were to buy the complete caliper assembly
I understand the VW ebrake to rely on the car's normal disc brakes. I saw a video of a brake job on a Prius and that had a drum for the ebrake.
 

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My 2021 Mazda3 hatchback (with manual transmission) has the e-brake button. The brake applies automatically each time the ignition button is shut off, meaning that the e-brake is applied needlessly most of the time. The extra wear/tear is bothersome, so I press and hold the e-brake button while depressing the ignition-off button, and the brake remains un-applied. Just another irritating and unnecessary thing to remember at each shutdown, and it takes both hands. No way to permanently disable this auto-on feature as far as I can tell. I would prefer the "old fashioned" handbrake lever on the console but unfortunately, they're going the way of dodo birds.
 

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Don't most electric parking brakes require a computer/diagnostic tool to replace the rear pads? Not a fan of that for DIY purposes. I don't know where i would be on the car enthusiasm spectrum if it weren't for my manual console hand brake, mcdonalds trays and an empty parking lot in my youth.
 

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The way I see it is that this is yet another thing you don't have direct control over. You basically put in a request to the computer to use the backup brakes, which are there to back up the primary brakes which are also controlled by the same computer. Now add an automatic transmission, which is controlled by the computer system and the throttle which is likewise.

Sure, massive computer failure is unlikely, but if/when it does happen you will have only steering control. At least for now. Electronically controlled steering is on its way, too. Even the key switch, if there is one at all, is just a switch to send a request to the computer to shut down. It's one of the reasons I want a stick for my next car. I can punch in the clutch and the computer can't do a damn thing about it.

I'm just about to the point where I think new cars should have those big red buttons like prototypes to act as a kill switch for all of the vehicle's electronics.
 

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Console lever with button is the best, highest degree of control, can be used as a lock brake or for added (ahem, rear-biased) braking performance. Any parking brake that can only lock sucks, if you needed to use it for that extra bit of help it could turn into a wheel lock and make things worse. The electronic ebrake is one of the few things I hate about our Renegade.
 

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My 2021 Mazda3 hatchback (with manual transmission) has the e-brake button. The brake applies automatically each time the ignition button is shut off, meaning that the e-brake is applied needlessly most of the time. The extra wear/tear is bothersome, so I press and hold the e-brake button while depressing the ignition-off button, and the brake remains un-applied. Just another irritating and unnecessary thing to remember at each shutdown, and it takes both hands. No way to permanently disable this auto-on feature as far as I can tell. I would prefer the "old fashioned" handbrake lever on the console but unfortunately, they're going the way of dodo birds.
Wat?
 

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I'll give some detail about the new fandango'd parking brakes and why they have come into existence to dominate application.

In the modern millennium there are 2 major types of parking brakes, parking caliper (typical for passenger car) and parking drum assembly (typical for SUV or Truck).
Some major problems with these types of applications was corrosion, cold weather, and maintenance. A minor concern was holding performance over a drop in pad/disk temperature, and the level of clamp was up to the driver.

When electric parking brakes first came into the market they were electric parking calipers and electric cable pull (which really only got away from the apply mechanism)
At first they were super expensive and besides the cool factor the major benefit in performance was consistent clamp load/holding power and active roll away reclamp.
What occurs at times is when the brake is hot/warm or if you get a drastic change in environmental weather the disk/pad would shrink causing decrease in clamp force, or the friction mu would drop which would reduce the holding torque. Another mechanical advantage was LH vs RH distribution of force, a cable system was never 50/50 in distribution and at times depending on the efficiency of the cable layout you could be very distorted like 70/30. Non mechanical benefit was interior packaging and NVH/insulation by not putting holes in the floor for the parking cables.

Overtime the cable pullers have mostly gone extinct as the parking calipers have increased their capacity to hold light duty trucks. While e-parking drums do exist they typically are not so popular and have a very specific application.
The high volumes of parking calipers have decreased the cost significantly and now its honestly cheaper to apply parking calipers (for most manufactures) than traditional manual brakes due to the number of components involved and manpower to assemble, not to mention lighter. Also along the way have came a barrage of parking logic and safety features to prevent people from running themselves over (it happens, I actually personally know someone who did this) or kids playing in cars knocking the transmission in neutral and going for a ride.

One major negative issue is unlocking the brake upon a dead battery, but a secret, the loosening power draw is typically very low and you can do it with a 9v battery and some leads (usually, or double up those 9v)
I think I touched upon most things.
 
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^ Well said!

Overtime the cable pullers have mostly gone extinct as the parking calipers have increased their capacity to hold light duty trucks. While e-parking drums do exist they typically are not so popular and have a very specific application.
Yup, AFAIK mostly cars with monobloc rears. But those sometimes will use a separate floating caliper for the e-brake, especially 2-piece carbon ceramics with hub flanges too small to be drums.
 
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