Electric Parking Brake Problem (Meaning, Causes & Solutions)

Did you notice the electric parking brake problem message on your dash and are wondering what it means, what caused it, and how you can fix it? If so, you are on the right page because we have the answers you need.

As there are technological advancements, automobile manufacturers are also advancing in introducing new components in vehicles. One of these is an electric parking brake which can also be called EPB (electric parking brake). As a result, many cars now have been advanced to electric Parking brakes.

An electric parking brake is a safer, better, and improved braking system integrated into the onboard electric computer for a better experience and convenient means to apply emergency brakes under different situations.

This article explains why you have the electric parking brake problem message on your dash, what faults triggered it and how to fix this problem.

Problems can come up in the electric parking brake system just like any other electric system; if the circuits or wires between the electric parking brake button, actuator, and module are shortened, they develop higher resistance or open. Common problems such as low system voltage or an open fuse could prevent your system from functioning properly.

The majority of the system can diagnose gross fault by themselves, and it would set code and then display the “electric parking brake problem” message or flash the brake warning light if there’s a problem. To read the set codes, use a scan tool to do that.

When a major system component fails, like the actuator or control module, you will have to look for these components from the car dealer since the system is still few and relatively new. However, from time to time, some of these components will be available in the automotive parts store.

In a situation whereby the parking brake fails to release manually or automatically, it can be a result of :

  • Fault with the communication between the EPB module and the switches.
  • When the brake pedal button or gear selector button is faulty.
  • A fault with the electric parking brake control module
  • When both or one of the parking brake cables are sticking and corroded.
  • Jammed or failed parking brake electric actuator motor.

When driving your car and the electric parking brake problem message comes on the dash, this could signify a false fault or an actual fault in the system. The electric parking brake module is sensitive to electric noise in the electrical system of the vehicle.

In some situations, this could result from an electric coolant flow control valve or a failed ignition coil pack. Grounds and bad wiring harness connections can lead to the same problem.

On a car with EPB, if you need to change the rear brake pad, press the parking brake button DOWN as you switch off the key to prevent your brake from setting automatically.

These parking brakes can be applied automatically if you don’t do this, and you won’t be able to get your Caliper from the rotor.

Also Read: Bad Brake Rotors (Symptoms and Solution)

What Is an Electric Parking Brake?

Electric Parking Brake Problem

The North American accent for EPB is the electrically controlled Emergency brake. This is activated when you press the pedal of your brake and pull up the electric parking brake button, and to deactivate it, you press the button just by using your fingertip.

The braking system operates hand in hand with an ECU ( electric control unit) and actuator mechanism. Two electric parking brake mechanisms are in production presently, which are the cable puller system and integrated caliper system. EPB, as said by wire technology, is a subset of the brake.

The EPB was produced first in the 2001 BMW 7 series (E65); ever since then, a lot of vehicles now have it.

Symptoms of Electric Parking Brake Problem

There are two methods of Knowing if the vehicle has an EPB fault. Firstly, the light of the parking brake flashes. Secondly, a message would display on your dashboard. This will signal you that the vehicle parking brake needs to be serviced as soon as possible.

How to Fix Electric Parking Brake Problem

These are the procedures to troubleshoot the EPB problem:

  • Park your Vehicle
  • Lose the Nut of the affected Wheel Lug
  • Take out the wheel
  • Look for Electricals connected to the Caliper
  • Examine the power supply that your Electric Actuator Motor receives.
  • Examine the reading of the Voltage
  • Try out the actuator
  • Place Everything back to its original position.

Let’s discuss each of them briefly:

1. Park Your Vehicle

Before beginning troubleshooting, ensure to park the vehicle safely on leveled ground. For clarity, put some wheel shocks or holders on the wheels.

2. Loose the Nut of the Affected Wheel Lug 

Loose the nut of the wheel lug affected using a tire wrench. The wrench should be turned anticlockwise.

3. Take Out the Wheel

Detaching the wheel from the side affected is next. Firstly, you need to hoist the vehicle with a jack. After which, you ensure that the jack-stand supports the jack well.

4. Look for Electricals Connected to the Caliper

Find the area the electrical is connected to the Caliper. After finding it, you disable it so you can continue with the testing. You disconnect this by pushing the lock tabs before you pull the connections off.

5. Examine the Power Supply That Is Received by Your Electric Actuator

It would help if you used a millimeter tester to examine the power supply received by your Electric actuator motor. The millimeter is set to measure DC ( direct current).

Choose the direct current icon, which has three short horizontal lines and one straight line. Then, find the connector that leads to the wiring body or main harness. Connect the black and red leads appropriately to both connectors.

6. Examine the Reading of the Voltage

The voltage reading is next. At first, the voltage reading would be really low. Doing this step will require you to have another person start your engine or to switch on the ignition and put on the parking brake.

You are sure the actuator has enough power when the voltage reading is between -10 and -12volts or between 10 and 12 volts. Check the wiring or fuse conditions if the voltage reading is zero or less than 10 volts.

Noting the fact that an old millimeter tester has a different range of Voltage is important. So setting the Voltage to 20 volts or more than that is advisable.

Ensure that it is not set to just any voltage settings, especially those that end with MV (millivolts). When you use this for a 12-volt system, the multimeter could be damaged.

7. Try the Actuator

This step includes testing actuator winding for damage and continuity. To carry out this, first, find where the connector is connected to the Caliper.

Then set the multimeter to ohms or continuity, represented by a symbol like an Omega symbol. After which, you conduct the multimeter self-test by setting the beep on and connecting the leads. You are expected to get zero for this self-test.

If you get a result higher than that, this means there’s a problem with the test leads or multimeter. Whatever the case, replace the multimeter or leads with a new one.

After the self-test goes well, you can now connect the leads to the connector’s end. To know if the actuator is functioning properly, you’ll hear a beep.

Sometimes the problem Can come from a different source, like the switch. If you didn’t hear any beep, it’s probably a result of a bad actuator solenoid that needs to be replaced.

8. Place Everything Back to Its Original Position

Immediately after you finish with the checking, ensure to place Everything back in its place. This means that you need to remove the jack stand, fix the tire back, and tighten the lug nuts.

To tighten these lug nuts, use the tire wrench to turn the lug clockwise. After which, you put the jack down, remove it and fasten the lug nut.

If you need to examine the other actuator, repeat these steps.

Check out this video for more tips on how to fix the electric parking brake problem

Electric Parking Brake Problem Honda Civic

A lot of Honda owners report issues related to the EPB. They report that the error of the EPB would appear without notice on their dashboard. This is due to different reason, which includes:

  • The caliper parking brake servo motor
  • Bad wiring
  • Faulty console parking brake button or switch.

Let’s discuss briefly each of the reasons, including how you repair them:

1. The Caliper Parking Brake Servo Motor

The Honda’s EPB has a servo motor on the rotor. These servo motors are behind the locking of wheels whenever you activate the brake. It is mechanical and uses a cable for old parking brakes. The servo motor controls the new system.

When the servo motor is faulty, there’s a need for replacement, which is not difficult to do. For some owners, they replace it by themselves. But if you have doubt about how you should do it, it would be better to call a professional mechanic for help or visit the Honda service center with your car.

Once more, what is the reason for EPB issues? Some problems result from broken, high resistance, opened switches or wires placed between the module and the actuator. Others include open fuse and low Voltage.

2. Bad Wiring

Bad wiring can be the reason for the malfunctioning of the parking brake. It will be better to examine the worn-out or loose wiring connections. Examine Everything; this includes the clips that join the parts and the wiring at the center console.

Though bad wiring of the EPB is not common, still it’s possible.

3. Bad Console Parking Brake Switch or Button

A dirty or bad console parking brake button or switch is a common problem for an electric parking brake for Honda. The switch is located at the center console, the same place the traditional handbrake is in the vehicle.

However, the area can attract dirt. A spill of drink, food crumbs, or other debris can cause it to malfunction.

So if the EPB switch malfunction due to dirt, dismantle the console. Afterward, replace the button with another one. You can get the replacement switch online or pay a visit to the car dealership for help.

Also Read: Brake Pedal Squeaking (6 Causes & Solutions by Expert)

How To Fix Electric Parking Brake Problem Honda Civic?

How To Fix Electric Parking Brake Problem Honda Civic

You can troubleshoot the Honda if it encounters an electric parking brake fault by resetting the whole system. This can be done by switching on the ignition and shifting your gear to the park.

After that, you activate the electric parking brake switch by pulling and releasing it. Then you pull once more and hold till there’s a mechanical beep. After which, you release it.

Lastly, you pull the switch again. Hold till you hear two mechanical beeps or for about three seconds. Then you release the switch. The system should have reset successfully.

You can examine the parts if, after resetting, it doesn’t work. The console button or switch could have dirt inside, so you just have to dismantle the console and wipe it properly.

You might need to replace the button if this also refuses to work completely. And if you have a broken servo motor or bad wiring, you will also need to change these parts.

How Do You Reset the Electric Parking Brake?

Let’s discuss the step involved in resetting the EPB. Which are:

  • Switch on the ignition
  • Engage the electric parking brake
  • Pull first, then hold before you release the electric parking brake switch

These steps are mainly for Honda vehicles. But the steps are almost the same for other vehicles.

1. Switch on the Ignition

First, you switch on the ignition and adjust your gear to park. Ensure you are not pressing the brake pedal.

2. Engage the Electric Parking Brake

Engage the EPB by pulling and releasing your switch.

3. Pull First, Then Hold Before You Release the Electric Parking Brake Switch

You should note this step because you’ll do it twice.

Firstly, pull and hold the electric parking brake switch until you hear or detect a mechanical beep. Immediately you hear the beep; you can release the switch.

Secondly, once again, pull and hold your switch. As soon as you hear two mechanical beeps release the switch. This normally takes around three seconds before the beep goes off.

Also Read: Brake Lamp Bulb Fault (Meaning, Causes & Solutions)

Frequently Asked Questions – Electric Parking Brake Problem

What does it mean when my car says electric parking brake problem?

Just like every other component and electric system of a vehicle, faults can happen on the electric parking brake if buttons or wires between the module and actuator are broken, shortened, develop high resistance or open. Common problems like an open fuse and low system voltage can bring about the malfunctioning of the EPB.

How do you release the electric parking brake manually?

You can apply the electric parking brake with the AUTO switch OFF by pulling and holding your parking brake button. This normally works with the ignition button OFF or ON and with your vehicle stationary or moving. Pull and hold the manual button, and as you are doing this, press your brake pedal to release the brake.

How do you reset the EPB on a Honda?

Stop your vehicle using the brake pedal and adjust to NEUTRAL. then Switch the ignition off, then push the parking brake button down within two seconds. Automatic activation would be suspended and restored as soon as you start your vehicle.

How do you switch off the EPB For a Honda Civic?

First, the HOLD signal displays, and you apply brake hold. Release your brake pedal. Shift into gear or press its accelerator and then release the clutch pedal for the manual transmission so as to cancel the brake hold and then start moving. Press your brake pedal, and once more, press the BRAKE HOLD switch to switch off-brake hold.

Conclusion – Electric Parking Brake Problem

 It is possible for problems to occur with the electric Parking Brake. If wires or circuits between the EPB switch, module, and actuator are shorted out, open, or develop high resistance, the system won’t operate properly. Common faults such as an open fuse or low system voltage can also prevent the EPB from working, triggering the electric parking brake problem message on your car dashboard.

EPB is an invention welcomed in present-day cars for an improved braking system, especially when parking or at high speed. Nevertheless, you will encounter some electric parking brake issues as your vehicle system starts to wear out. Knowing how to face and repair these issues will save you energy, stress, and time.

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