How To Disengage Electronic Parking Brake With Dead Battery Audi(9 steps)

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An increasing number of luxury cars now come with installed electronic parking brakes. Yes, it may be true that one-flick operation beats the hassle of a mechanical parking/emergency brake as they offer more efficiency and ease of usage. However, they are still complicated to deal with when it comes to emergencies involving a dead battery.

Audi cars suffer from a weak battery, and you won’t be able to disengage the electronic parking brake like you would by pushing the tab downward. Electronic Parking Brake (EPB) works via an electric motor which helps in tightening the brake calipers on the wheels. Note that electrical power is needed only to tighten or loosen the grip of these calipers. This means that when there’s battery failure while the vehicle is parked on a steep slope with the EPB engaged, your vehicle will remain in its position despite having no power onboard.

electronic parking
How To Disengage Electronic Parking Brake With Dead Battery Audi(9 steps) 3

What Is An Electronic Parking Brake?

An electronic parking brake (EPB) is an electronically controlled emergency brake found in modern vehicles. This brake can be activated by depressing the brake pedal and pulling up the EPB button, then deactivating by having a button pressed with a fingertip.

The electronic braking system works in connection with an actuator mechanism and the electronic control unit (ECU). Note that two EPB mechanisms are found in the production: caliper integrated systems and cable puller systems. The electronic parking brake system can be seen as a subset of brake-by-wire technology.

Disengage Electronic Parking Brake With Dead Battery Audi

One of the biggest issues with electronic parking brake systems is when they malfunction. Sometimes a failed module or dead battery will cause the emergency/parking brake to stay on. But in most vehicles, there’s a place in the owner’s manual that addresses how a driver or tow truck driver can disengage the EPB.

So if you find yourself working on a car where the electronic parking brake refuses to disengage, then the first thing to do is look at the basics. Sometimes some systems would need the doors to be shut and the brake pedal depressed. At the same time, some models may want the seat belt to be buckled. However, simple items such as a door switch or defective brake pedal may hinder the operation. Though in some cars, you can verify the operation of the switch with a scanning tool.

But the last option is to release the caliper manually. Although in some Audi and VW models, it is possible to take off the motor from the caliper and then wind back the piston. But on cable-pull systems, there might be a shaft in the actuator that can be turned to release cable tension. The next option is to disconnect the cables if you can access them and have some slack.

But in case the system is manually disengaged, then the system must be adjusted for piston position or slack before the car is returned to the owner. 

Related Article: How Do Put an Electronic Parking Brake in Service Mode

How To Reset Electronic Parking Brake Audi

The Audi electronic parking brake is made to engage once you switch off the ignition. But if you want to reset it, here’s how to get it done:

  • Put your car ignition to the ON position and then shift the gear lever in the PARK position. But do not depress the brake pedal.
  • Now pull and release the EPB button, which should activate the electronic parking brake.
  • Then pull and hold the EPB button until you hear a mechanical sound, and then release the button once you hear that.
  • Next step is to pull up and hold the EPB button for about 3 seconds and then release it once you hear two mechanical beeps.

Once you follow these steps, the electronic parking brake will be fully reset to activate whenever you turn off the ignition.

However, to deactivate this feature, you should repeat the above process; once you do, the system will make a single click showing you that it has successfully deactivated the feature.

How To Release Electronic Parking Brake With Dead Battery Audi

Note that there are two types of electronic brakes: single motor/cable systems and caliper-mounted motor systems.

The single motor/cable system

Pressing the switch on whenever the vehicle isn’t moving will run the motor to tighten the parking brake cable. There will be an increased tension to a value that will depend on the tilt of the car (hills) based on input from the acceleration sensor and yaw rate. So when it reaches the desired clamping force, then the motor will stop and maintain the tension.

But whenever you pull up the switch for release, the motor will turn in the opposite direction till the slack reaches a predetermined value. Note that the control module orchestrates all the values.

If the switch is pressed when the vehicle is still moving, the brakes will apply for as long as you hold the switch, then will release as soon as you release the switch. But if the battery is dead, then the parking brake system won’t operate. 

However, to manually release the parking brakes, you will need a special tool included along with the jack tools. To install the correct bit on the tool, remove the plug from the spare tire well, insert the tool, and turn it counterclockwise to release. But if you lost your power or replaced the control module or motor, you have to re-initialize the electronic parking brake system. However, you need a scan tool. 

The caliper mounted motor-systems. 

One good example of a car with caliper-mounted motors is the Volkswagen Passat which actuates the caliper pistons for moving the brake pads to create clamping force. These components hold the vehicle securely, even if the onboard electronic power supply fails.

Audi A3 Electronic Parking Brake Problems

Like every other electronic system and component in a car, problems can happen on the EPB if wires or switches between the module and actuator are opened, broken, shortened, or high resistance. Low system voltage or open fuse can be the common problems that can cause the electronic parking brake system to malfunction. 

In Audi A3, these faults will register an error code on the onboard computer, which will indicate a fault with the EPB. This can also display a service parking brake message once there’s a reported fault. However, a scanning tool will help track down the failure’s cause.

But in any case, if the problem is a result of a failed actuator or module, you’ll have to get a new one from your dealer. So in case Audi A3 electronic parking brake fails to release automatically or manually, then one of the following reasons could have caused it:

  • A miscommunication between either of the switches and the EPB module 
  • The gear stick selector switch or brake pedal switch is bad
  • The actuator or EPB module has an electrical fault
  • The electronic parking brake motor has failed or jammed
  • Your parking brake cables are corroded. This is one of the common brake system problems with the Audi A3.

So if you have an Audi A3 and notice a service parking brake warning message via your dash, this could be a false alarm or a genuine system malfunction.

Note that in the electrical system of the Audi A3, there is a vulnerable EPB module. Sometimes these alerts can pop up by a bad ignition coil or an electronic coolant flow valve. When there are faults in the electrical harness systems, it might also cause similar problems.

How To Fix Audi Parking Brake Malfunction Problem

Sometimes Audi parking brake malfunction problems may catch you by surprise. But if you notice one of the following signs, it’s time to inspect your vehicle.

Warning Light

When your Audi parking brake malfunctions, the brake warning light will be turned on, which will be accompanied by a warning in the vehicle’s message center; whenever the system detects the parking brake malfunctioning while in operation, a red parking brake warning light will flash, and an alert will appear via the message center. Please do not ignore these lights once they are illuminated.

Vehicle Not Fully Held in Place

A faulty parking brake won’t be able to function well fully. This means that you may observe your car will still roll or lean slightly, despite engaging the parking brake.

Brake Won’t Turn Off.

Another problem that may affect your Audi car is the inability to disengage the parking brake whenever you want to drive. Note that this type of parking brake problem may be caused by many problems.

A parking brake that has failed can be dangerous, so once you observe these issues, ensure to take action immediately.

Fixing the Audi parking brake malfunction Problem

Fix the parking brake in your Audi car is not something you have to do more than once in your car. However, when you find out that your parking brake is no longer working, remember that the failure is likely because of a faulty parking brake cable.

In the long run, the steel cable that runs to the back wheels may be stretched. The cable needs replacement which will require taking off the back wheels to access the brake assembly. But if your Audi utilizes an EPB, you require a factory tool to put the system in service mode before removing the cable and doing any repair work. However, this can be a daunting task for you, especially considering that Audi cars use an Electronic Parking Brake. 

So the best you should do is consult a professional mechanic specializing in Audi cars.

How To Fix Electric Parking Brake Problem Audi A3 Model

The electric parking brake is a subtle yet important part of your car’s mechanics. Whenever a driver needs to park on a hill with extra stability, tugging on the electric parking brake is what he needs to park securely.

People who drive manual vehicles may always use their parking brakes, even whilst driving. The usage and frequency of parking brakes may vary from person to vehicle. But despite the variances, once a parking brake is broken, it’s not something to take lightly. This is because driving with a faulty electric parking brake for an extended period can cause undue damage to your transmission. 

How to fix it:

  • First, the EPB system should be put into a service mode before you remove the calipers from the car so the pistons can be adequately pushed into the caliper housing. Note that the specific Basic Setting groups may vary depending on the repair procedure.
  • If you’re using VCDS, you will click on select, elect parking brake, then basic settings, and input the specific Group Number. 
  • You must wait for 30 seconds after the brake calipers, and live readings stop moving before you click on Done, Go Back, and Close Controller. Remove the key from Ignition Switch.
  • Note that the caliper pistons don’t move back into the caliper; they are put in an internally released position which allows your technician to push in the pistons just like what you do with a conventional front brake.
  • Now perform the brake repairs and reassemble the system before moving on to the next step.

Audi Parking Brake Not Releasing

The biggest problem with parking brakes is corrosion. Most times, water and dirt can cause cables to erode. This can cause your Audi parking brake to fail, brake pads to stick to the wheels, and the cables to snap. So to prevent stuck brakes, make sure to use your emergency brake regularly to prevent corrosion.  

The Audi parking brake can also freeze in place. In case the weather is wet and cold, likely, your Audi parking brake has simply frozen. You can resolve this by turning on your car and letting it warm up. 

One other reason your Audi parking brake will get stuck is when you pull it too hard. You shouldn’t treat your brake lever like a strength tester from a carnival game. The brake lever will work just as well without all the effort. Whenever you pull the lever too hard, there’s the possibility to make your brakes stuck against the wall of your wheel drums. 

But to release a stuck brake, there are several things you can do. You can try rocking the car back and forth if it is safe, or you can manually get under the car to pull the cables. Another way is to try setting and releasing the brake several times hoping it will knock the brakes free. But in case all of these methods fail, then you can use a tow truck. 

However, the best way of dealing with the parking brake not releasing is to avoid having one. Ensure you maintain the system with regular service and use your parking brake regularly. Doing this will help prevent corrosion. You should also remember to take it easy whenever you’re engaging and disengaging the lever. 

How To Fix Parking Brake Malfunction Audi A4 Model

  • Prepare your car for the brake repairs
  • Remember that the EPB module is very sensitive to low voltage conditions! So it is vital that a battery charger is properly connected and must be there for the duration of the rear brake.
  • Cars with a battery mounted in the rear normally use a battery management module, and it is important to connect the charger very well at the charging posts.
  • Check that the EPB system is properly working before the repair. 
  • Ensure the system is fully assembled before you commence the repairs. Systems like the calipers should be properly installed on the rotors with pads and all other electrical components are also connected.
  • Make sure to of the Parking Brake before the repairs or the Basic Settings will not be possible.

Open Rear Parking Brake

  • First, the EPB system should be put into a service mode before you remove the calipers from the car so the pistons can be pushed properly into the caliper housing. Note that the specific Basic Setting groups may vary depending on the repair procedure.
  • If you’re using VCDS, you will click on select, elect parking brake, then basic settings, and input the specific Group Number. 
  • You must wait for 30 seconds after the brake calipers and live readings stop moving before you click on Done, Go Back, and Close Controller. Remove the key from Ignition Switch.
  • Note that the caliper pistons don’t move back into the caliper, they are put in an internally released position which allows your technician to push in the pistons just like what you do with a conventional front brake.
  • Now perform the brake repairs and then reassemble the system before you move on to the next step.

Close Rear Parking Brake

  • Make sure the EPB system service mode is deactivated after the repairs.
  • If you’re using VCDS, you will click on select, elect parking brake, then basic settings, and input the specific Group Number. 
  • You must wait for 30 seconds after the brake calipers and live readings stop moving before you click on Done, Go Back before you move on to the next step.

Function Test

  • The EPB should be cycled On and Off whenever this is applicable before going to the Function Test. You can do so by using the button inside the car while applying the normal hydraulic brake pedal.
  • If you’re using VCDS, you will click on select, elect parking brake, then basic settings, and input the specific Group Number. Now click on [Go!], and then the brake calipers will be opened and closed 3 times, taking up the excess gap between the backing plate of the new pads and the piston.
  • You must wait for 30 seconds after the brake calipers, and live readings stop moving before you click on Done, Go Back, before checking [Fault Codes – 02].
  • Once done, the Brake repairs should be completed, and the system should have no fault codes stored again.

Audi Electronic Parking Brake Manual Release

Indeed, it’s almost impossible to release an electronic parking brake without turning on the ignition. The production of electronic parking brakes comes with lots of challenges, from diagnostics to servicing the system. This also means that whenever there is a failure in another system like the electrical system, the parking brakes might not come up and may not release.

Below, I’ll show you the steps that might allow you to release your Audi electronic parking brake manually. This requires you to get at the back of the wheel and access the back of the caliper. Please follow the steps below:

  • Pull up your back wheels and support them with jack stands.
  • Now go under your car and locate the rear brake caliper.
  • Check how the EPB motor is mounted. Note that some are serviceable, while some are not. But if they are serviceable, then they will have bolts that hold them together on the caliper housing. And if they are not serviceable, you’ll be unable to perform this.
  • Search and remove the bolts that hold the EPB motor, but you shouldn’t unplug the electric brake motor. If you do, it will cause the system to lose base settings. Sometimes, you may need to replace the brake caliper and the electric parking brake motor.
  • Once you remove the bolts, carefully remove the EPB motor from the way.
  • You can use the correct socket that should fit in the back of the caliper piston, then turn the caliper piston adjustment to release the caliper piston.
  • Once you do this, you can take the EPB motor out from the suspension systems while lowering the car.
  • While on the ground, you’re ready to fix the client’s concern.
  • After it is fixed, you’ll need the reverse process on the electromechanical parking brake to fix things together.

Conclusion

As you can see, the electronic parking brake in Audi cars is a welcome invention even in other modern cars for an improved and better braking over other conventional brakes, especially when at high speeds and when parking.

But you’ll experience common electronic parking brake problems, especially when the system starts to wear out. Knowing how to fix these problems will help you save time and energy.   

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Autobody Technician & Radiographer | Website

Gift is a Radiographer and Autobody parts mechanic who recently got his automotive diploma as an autobody repair technician. Gift loves everything about cars and fitness. He also loves researching and sharing his expertise and experiences with those who wants to learn more.

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