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Car trouble: Keyless and lockless is no match for brainless

Lee D Silver badge

Electronic handbrakes still need a button that lets you put them on / take them off.

I have a new Ford, and it just has a switch that you pull/push when the handbrake used to be. I was very skeptical at first, but try as I might I can't activate it "accidentally", when I do forcibly activate it while driving (on a non-public road, to test what the hell it does and whether I even want that) it brings the car to a halt better than any emergency stop.

And yet it still works fine for the "pull-away" auto-release functionality and I can't fool it no matter what I do with the throttle and clutch - unless I actually apply power that would move the car even with a handbrake on, it won't auto-release the handbrake.

The one thing I can find "wrong", is that if I double-lock the car, without the parking brake on, it doesn't activate it for me. I would expect that. I suppose it's so that you can still tow, but I was hoping it would do it for me should I ever forget.

And every hill I park on reminds me that actually it's very useful, even if I've never been afraid of a hill-start even on the worst atrocities of road-design.

Now, if I could permanently turn off the auto-stop-start engine, I would be a happy man. But the switch that does so only works for that journey. And I basically keep the clutch down all the time anyway when at lights just to stop the thing turning off. Whenever I do forget (e.g. put it in neutral so I can tap the satnav, take a drink, etc.), the autostop always scares the life out of me because I think I've stalled it. And though the "oops, you didn't mean to stop" start-up is DAMN quick if you catch it happening, it worries me just how quick it is - the strain on the engine of off-then-immediately-back-on can't be good for it. I swear the pistons can't even have stopped on some occasions.

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