Within the braking system of a vehicle, the handbrake is an essential element, as it is used when we want to bring our car to a complete stop.
Among the handbrakes available on the market, there is the mechanical handbrake, with a lever that is lowered or raised; and the electric parking brake or EPB, a system that, by pressing a button, moves a mechanism and automatically locks the car’s brakes. The electric parking brake consists of a series of cables which are protected by a casing. However, depending on the model, year of the vehicle or make, the system may be more or less protected and may sometimes become blocked.
Don’t know how to release your car's electric parking brake? Don't panic! At Frenkit we tell you step by step how to do it.
Why does the electric parking lock up?
There are many reasons why the electric parking brake in your car may lock up. Whether they are drum or disc brakes, the vehicle’s brakes generate friction with an element anchored to the wheels. In the case of drum brakes, when the brake pedal is depressed, friction is produced by the set of brake shoes. With disc brakes, this function is generally performed by a steel disc.
As mentioned above, a malfunction of the EPB can occur due to a number of factor such as:
- Freezing. Frozen electric parking brakes tend to occur in older vehicles, as newer cars have protected brake components and systems. This prevents moisture from entering the system and causing it to freeze. At the same time, depending on the local winter conditions, the handbrake may jam more or less.
- Lack of use. Lack of use of a vehicle can cause the electric handbrake to lock up. To avoid this we must use our car on a recurring basis and also keep the brake fluid reservoir full at all times to ensure maximum lubrication.
- Rust. In addition, another reason why the electric parking brake may lock up is that, over time, the brake system cables can wear down and rust if they are not properly protected.
4 steps to release the electric parking brake
Every day new developments emerge in the automotive industry. Systems are being improved for greater performance, automation and comfort. If the electric parking brake is properly maintained, the life of its components can be extended. It should be noted that each make and model will have different components and disassembly may vary slightly depending on the case.
Here is how to release your electric parking brake or EPB:
Uncoupling the EPB from the clamp
The first thing to do is to loosen and remove the EPB fixing bolts. Undock the EPB from the caliper, leaving the EPB connector still attached to the EPB.
Remove the actuator
After removing the EPB from the brake caliper, the next thing to do is to turn the actuator spindle clockwise at the rear of the caliper using a suitable tool. Male and female actuators are available in different diameters. This will unlock the actuator from the piston.
Open the brake and replace the sealing ring
After removing the actuator, the piston must be levered out of the caliper. If necessary, disassemble the caliper completely to do so.
At the same time, the sealing ring must be removed and the brake system checked for damage. If necessary, the sealing ring must be replaced with a new one. After all parts of the brake system have been properly cleaned, it is important to check the housing in contact with the actuator for scratches. This would free up the brake disc.
Reassemble all components
Once all the elements have been correctly removed and the system has been thoroughly cleaned, the next thing to do is to mount the EPB to the brake caliper, but this time in the reverse direction to how it was removed.
After installation, the system must be calibrated with the aid of diagnostic equipment. For this purpose, it is necessary to follow the instructions of our manufacturer.
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