You'd think they could do that with petrol cars, or maybe it costs more. I know of somebody who only uses his petrol car about 2 to 3 times a year, and even though he bought it from new, after only a couple of years, the brakes have to be freed off regularly. The garage was doing it every year at the service, but now he's driving round the block a few times every month. That really shouldn't be necessary, this is the 21st century. It's also odd that the brakes get locked ON, when it's sat in the garage with them OFF.
Depends whether the car is parked in the garage with the handbrake on. If I
was parking for a long period of time, I'd probably leave the car in first
gear (or in Park for automatic) with the handbrake off, to avoid the rear
brake pads (used by the handbrake) sticking on.
What lockdown? Do you live in communist China? Everywhere else you could go for a drive....
Mine goes flat in 30 minutes, but it's French. I'd not expect a decent car to ever run the battery flat, nothing should be using power.
You should have disconnected the battery if you were planning on not using it for 3 months. Discharging a lead acid battery is very bad for it. You now have a smaller capacity battery.
I've never driven a car with one (I would avoid them like the plague) but
I've heard that it takes a second or so to apply and release the handbrake.
This makes it very difficult to hold the car on the handbrake briefly while
"changing feet" to do a hill start on an uphill gradient. I am used to
coordinating hand and feet movements: 1) apply handbrake, 2) move foot from
footbrake to accelerator, 3) bring clutch up to bite point and apply power,
4) release handbrake, increase power and let clutch up. It sounds a right
performance but it's one of those skills that you learn on the test,
practice until you've got it right, and forever after can do in an instant
without having to think about it. OK, so doing it on a 1:3 hill when the car
in front has stalled takes a *little* more thinking about, but I can still
do it without rolling back. (*)
But if I had to wait for the handbrake to apply and release, it would be
painful. I know a lot of cars have "hill start assist" which prevents the
car rolling back but still allows it to be driven forwards, but I've never
had the courage to rely on in for real.
(*) Rosedale Chimney, 1:3 hill in North Yorkshire a few miles from
Hutton-le-Hole. Car in front seemed to be dawdling a bit on the foothill, so
I dropped back a bit in case he happened to run into difficulties. Sure
enough he stalled on one of the hairpin bends. Even in first gear with no
throttle, I realised I was going to catch up with him soon, before he'd got
going. So I stopped short (to allow for him to roll back) and sure enough he
did roll - three times. I flashed my reversing lights and the cars behind
got the message and rolled back to give me even more room than I'd already
left. Eventually I had to get out and offer to drive his car to the top -
which he gratefully accepted. Luckily the people behind realised what had
happened and waited patiently. The guy was a bit gobsmacked when I got into
an unfamiliar (to me) car, did a quick "is it petrol or diesel?" check to
see how much throttle I'd need, and set off smoothly without rolling back. I
then had to run back down the hill to my car and we all set off. Earned a
few brownie points that day!
I don't think I've used a handbrake more than once or twice in 40-50 years,
so it wouldn't matter much to me. The last time that I remember was in 1980
when I was living in Germany. The road to my village ended with a 1.6km
fairly steep downhill section so one winter day I decided to use the
handbrake to lock the rear wheels and descend the hill in a mile-long skid.
Fun, but pointless, and the damaged house at the bottom of the hill was
testament to the risk involved. A delivery truck had embedded itself into
the house, up to its windshield, the summer before.
Too many steps to that procedure, IMHO. As a kid, I learned to do it
without the handbrake steps. Like you said, after a bit it becomes second
nature and you do it without having the car roll back.
I've had quite a few similar experiences, but mine mostly involved snow or
ice covered roads, with a few muddy roads, as well. People who didn't grow
up under those conditions seem to think that spinning the wheels at ever
higher speeds will somehow result in moving the car forward or backward,
when just the opposite is true. When they declare "I'm stuck!", I offer to
get in and drive their car out. I enjoy their looks of amazement as I hand
the vehicle back to them.
I've not driven *much* on snow and ice - I'm sure it was a lot more snowy
when I was growing up - but I know enough to use the minimum road-wheel
speed possible when setting off. In my diesel car, which will set off in
first with no throttle pressure, if I think there's going to be a problem, I
keep my foot off the throttle and let the clutch in very gently, feeling for
wheelspin (easy to see because the speedo and rev counter needles suddenly
I have still occasionally been stuck. I parked on a slightly icy road to go
for a walk, and when I got back some of the slush had frozen to ice. Even
with the wheels turning exceptionally slowly, they would not grip. One wheel
had grip but the differential would not supply power to it because the other
was spinning. I keep a couple of old pieces of carpet in the boot, so I slid
one under the wheel that had no grip, stood on it to anchor it to the ground
and got my wife to drive off - which worked a treat. When there is very thin
ice, I suppose that spinning the wheels might generate enough heat to melt
the ice until the wheel descends to tarmac, allow the car to *start* moving,
even if it then encounters ice as it moves off the hot spot. But on anything
else - eg thick snow - you'd be digging a grave for your car! I have fond
memories of staying at my parents' holiday cottage in the dales. Both
approaches to the village involve steep hills - either uphill or else
downhill. I have memories of inching down the downhill gradient, hoping that
I'd be able to negotiate the 90-degree bend at the bottom and wouldn't have
to chicken out onto the straight-on farm track. Once the car started to
slide - it took a lot of will power to *release* the brakes to let the
wheels regain a grip and then *gently* apply the brakes again - that car was
before the days of ABS which would have done the job for me.
Pointing the front wheels at an angle when setting off can sometimes help,
as can repeatedly applying and releasing power (though I've never made the
latter work for me).
My most embarrassing experience was when I parked on a muddy verge (no
snow/ice) and when I came back, the front wheel slithered sideways towards a
ditch, even with very slow wheel speed as soon as I detected spinning. It
took several guys to help me push the car sideways away from the ditch as my
wife set off very slowly, and the carpet mats came in useful there, though
it was difficult to find anywhere to "anchor" them to the ground to stop
them flying backwards.
The funniest was when I went to see a customer (on a side road near the
bottom of Rosedale Chimney which I mentioned earlier) and he's had some
building work done which had left a bit of soft ground that one wheel got
stuck in. Luckily a neighbour saw and tried to tow me out with his 4x4, but
his tow-rope broke. So the guy who I'd gone to see went to find a
substitute - and came back with... a hosepipe! ;-) I'd visions of the
plastic pipe stretching like an elastic band. How I and the towing guy kept
our faces straight is a miracle. Luckily the towing chap had a strong chain
back home, and that did the job. We agreed that I wouldn't apply any power,
and I'd let his 4x4 do all the work, for fear of my wheels suddenly hitting
solid ground and my car flying into his.
I learned to drive on my mum's little Renault and that had such a small
petrol engine that if you brought the clutch up to the bite point so the car
didn't roll back, the engine would stall with no accelerator (ie until I'd
moved my foot from the footbrake to the accelerator). So I got into the
habit of always using the handbrake to hold the car during that time, as I
was taught for the driving test, and I still do it even in modern diesel
cars which have enough torque to allow the clutch to slip and hold the car
stationary, with no throttle.
I soon dropped some of the other pedantic things that the driving test
teaches you, like applying the handbrake after every forward and backward
cycle of a three-point turn, and changing down through every gear when
braking to a halt. When I took my advanced test about 10 years after the
normal test, *not* changing down gear-by-gear was normal IAM practice - and
that's what I do nowadays: brake almost to a halt in 6th gear and then go
straight into whatever gear I need to accelerate out of the hazard once I
see whether or not I need to stop completely at the give-way line. I gather
that the normal test has now abandoned the change-down-through-every-gear
advice. My nephews were saying that they were told not to change down at all
when going down a steep hill, but to rely *only* on the brakes, without the
assistance of engine braking. I'm talking about a long 1:3 hill, not every
puny 1:100 slight slope.
One useful trick that my IAM "observer" (instructor) taught me was to get
into the habit of always waggling the gear lever from side to side just
before starting the engine or turning it off. If the car is in gear, the
lever won't move and I'll know that I have to put it in neutral (or press
the clutch) before starting, and I'll know I can't just let the clutch up
blindly after stopping and as I'm about to turn off. Saves the embarrassing
(and maybe costly) mistake of the car unexpectedly lurching forward.
Around 1966 I almost backed the grocery store managers car throught the
store door. I did not think it was a 3 speed on the colume. He had
backed it near the door after the store closed for the night. He told
me to load his groceries and then move his car to a parking space. I
got behind the wheel and without even thinking or looking turned the
swithch. The car jumped back about 3 feet before I could let go.
It was not as If I did not know how to drive a stick as that is what I
took my drivers ed in. Dad had a truck with a 3 on the colume that I
A few years later I bought a car with a 4 speed. drove it about 3 years
and then got an automatic. Had it about 2 years and someone ran a stop
sign and I ran into them. Was not going but about 30 mph but it hit the
front of my car, then I went sideways and then the rear end hit. There
was not that bad of a wreck however almost all the sheet metel was
damaged so it was totaled by the insurance company.
I bought another 4 speed and had driven it for several days. Needed to
fill it up for the first time. Tried to start it and it would not
start. Service station man told me to push in the clutch. It started.
Up to that time I guess that I had been doing it, but I always wiggled
the 4 speeds to make sure they were in neutral. That 1972 was the first
I ran into that had the safety switch on the clutch.
Well I guess modern braking systems are better than they were but I
wonder how much is down to the fact that changing down to slow down
doesn't put your brake lights on so the half asleep person behind you
doesn't notice... Same with holding the car on the foot brake when
stopped in traffic.
Modern brakes still fade and you don't get much warning. BTDTGTTS. OK
it was a "sprited" decent of Hartside to Melmerby (approx 1200'
decent in under 4 miles) which is a great driving road when you know
it. After that experience I use the gears to limit decent speed with
the brakes as a fine trim.
Just have to relearn the relative timings of the actions.
Takes a bit of getting used to but works resonably well. The system
on my car doesn't use the (electric) parking brake, it releases the
foot brake pressure gradually.
Two niggles I have with the system on mine is that it's easier to
stall because you have to guess the amount of "go" to give the engine
rather than balance "go" and clutch slip as you release the parking
brake. Also I haven't quite worked out under what conditions it is
going to "assist" me. I think it has an angle sensor so any obvious
slope it will but at shallow angles, but still enough to roll back,
it sometimes doesn't. I think it's associated with clutch and gear,
ie you need to brake to halt, hold the car on the foot brake, select
neutral and let the clutch up.
A few years back I had a rental Renault in Tenerife with one. I may have
been doing it wrong... but... I think what you were supposed to do was
just drive off. The car would then release the handbrake, and away you
went. (No handbook of course, and I couldn't really ask the rental
people, I speak almost no Spanish and they spoke almost no English)
All was well until we stopped on a steep uphill.
The car slipped back a little, then wound the handbrake on harder all by
When the lights changed I drove off. Or tried to - the handbrake was on
so hard that I stalled the engine. I dipped the clutch of course... and
then it let the handbrake off.
I hit the footbrake rather quickly!
(Incidentally it had a wheel sensor fault. Once or twice the ABS light
came one, and then once the speedo suddenly dropped to zero. Aha, I
thought, there's a problem with the wheel sensor that feeds the ABS and
speedo. Could I explain that when I returned the car? Could I ****.)
Does an electric car "virtually never" use a frictional brake? They can use
regenerative braking for reducing speed, so they will use a frictional brake
*less*, but I think friction is needed to bring the car to a complete rest
in a hurry, or in addition to regenerative for going down a hill.
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