My last car, a Volkswagen Golf, had an electronic handbrake and stop-start technology. Being old-school, I hated this, as I could imagine the starter and starter ring engaging so frequently that sooner or later something would break. Am I missing something? Have manufacturers come up with a way to avoid this happening? I asked the VW and SEAT service departments and they just shrugged and said the manufacturers knew what they were doing! Mike Nurse
One would hope that vehicle manufacturers knew what they were doing, but one can’t help but wonder if stop-start systems were simply introduced to lower emissions to meet targets!
There are a few variations of starter motor used in stop-start systems. These vary from the standard type which has been strengthened to cope to permanently-engaged systems which also act as an alternator. The battery also needs to be improved to handle stop-start driving and has to prevent the system operating if the battery voltage drops too low. Most of these systems can be – and often are – disabled.
I have yet to see any extensive wear on the ring gear from such systems and so far have not come across any starter motor failures. But as vehicles age, it will be interesting to see how they fare. As far as handbrake operation goes, there is no substitute for a proper hand-operated parking brake which you can release mechanically when you wish. Driving a manual vehicle with an electrically-operated handbrake does take quite a bit of practice.