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Manual Parking Brakes Will Soon Come To A Complete Stop

Transmission / 13 Comments

That means no more handbrake turns, not that we condone such behavior.

We've known for some time that the manual parking brake is being pushed aside in favor of electronic systems. And a recent study by CarGurus has put this into perspective.

While the slow disappearance of the manual gearbox has been followed with much interest, the manual parking brake has received far less attention. Now it appears that while we weren't looking, a mere 37 percent of new cars sold in the UK are now fitted with one.

In truth, the benefits of going electronic are rather overwhelming, aside from the childish fun of performing handbrake turns in abandoned car parks, the electronic parking brake frees up valuable cabin space, doesn't need adjusting, will engage every time you leave the car and cannot be accidentally engaged while on the move.

There is no parking brake cable to worry about either although the additional complexity of electronic systems may cause issues as the cars get older. There also isn't consensus yet on how they should operate, some engage by pulling up on the lever while others don't.

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In the US, the situation is much the same, aside from a few diehards like the aging Nissan 370Z and some newer models like the BMW M2 Competition, Ford Mustang and Mazda Miata, we are staring down the barrel of a future without handbrake turns.

All may not be lost though, these are all enthusiasts cars and another thing they have in common is that they can also still be had with a manual transmission option. Perhaps the future of the manual parking brake is in the niche sports car market where it and the manual gearbox can live on for a while longer.