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My wife and I bought our second Passat last month. It's a '06 Passat and we absolutely love it. However, last week my wife was driving it to work on a busy road and the parking brake engaged on it's own and wouldn't let her move the car out of traffic. She tried repeatedly to disengage the brake and it didn't work. She saw the malfunctioning parking brake warning light on the dash (green P with a slash through it) but couldn't do anything to release the brake. She had to leave the car in traffic and go to use someone else's cell phone (she forgot hers at home). Eventually she went back to the car and finally got the brake to release. Making a long story a little longer, she made it to work but didn't want to drive the car any further. I had the car towed to the dealer where we bought the car and they "scan tested to find code for defective parking brake switch". They replaced it and hopefully it's all fixed. We shall see.

We also have a 98 Passat V6 with a 100k on it (bought new) and it has extensive electrical problems (cruise control doesn't work, radio barely has any reception, interior lights have recently stopped working, remote entry rarely works, fuel door switch stopped working, etc.). I am beginning to wonder what the 06 is going to be like in 8 years.... Hopefully better then the 98.
 

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I'm considering a new Passat, and this story is exactly what I am afraid of with this electric parking brake. Just a simple short in the electrical system somewhere, and the brakes can engage at the worst possible time.

Is there any sort of override? Can a fuse be pulled to disable the parking brake if this happens?
 

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Like with the '98 discussed 1st (and sometimes 2nd) year release cars are notoriously bad with VW, going back to my dad's '75 rabbit. If I decide to buy another passat, it wont be until (at least) '07 to give them time to work out the bugs.
 

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My parking brake switch failed within a day from taking delivery of my 2006. Luckily, it didn't leave me stranded anywhere. It just had a problem with a switch where it would not engage (rather than having engaged and not being able to disengage it).

RR
 

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Same thing happened to me, the car was towed, the switch was replaced and had no problems since. But it does suck cause theres nothing you can do.
 

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Same problem. It happened before I started it though. It was stuck in limp mode & wouldn't go up or down in gear. At the end of the day it was fine & has been ever since.

After I brought it in to VW, they said there is nothing wrong with it. Sometimes the computer will notice a fault & go into limp mode. But this shouldn't happen again. Ever since there has been this real light metal on metal sound, but everything else seems to be the exact same.

She claims there are bugs for the first 3000 miles. After this, every thing is fine.

I don't know if it's any help to you, but overall, she assured me it was a part of breaking it in!
 

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I'm considering a new Passat, and this story is exactly what I am afraid of with this electric parking brake. Just a simple short in the electrical system somewhere, and the brakes can engage at the worst possible time.
When I first read about the electric parking brake, my first thought was, "Why?" Why take a simple mechanical system that has been engineered to maturity with a overly complicated system? Incredible.
 

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When I first read about the electric parking brake, my first thought was, "Why?" Why take a simple mechanical system that has been engineered to maturity with a overly complicated system? Incredible.
It's a good design, IMO. The handbrake gives you almost no emergency stopping power. With the electronic brake, you can get full breaking on all four corners in an emergency. Of course, I'm not sure if the system uses the same hydraulic system as the brake pedal uses. If so, if the brakes fail, so will the parking brake. Anyone know if this is the case?

The real WTF is that they didn't include an emergency override in case of system fault. A fuse or switch should have been put somewhere that would release the brakes and disable the system until you could reach a VW dealer to fix it. Why they didn't include that is beyond me. So much for German engineering.
 

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It's a good design, IMO. The handbrake gives you almost no emergency stopping power. With the electronic brake, you can get full breaking on all four corners in an emergency. Of course, I'm not sure if the system uses the same hydraulic system as the brake pedal uses.
But when is the last time you've had or heard of a complete hydraulic brake system failure? It's not exactly an everyday event.
 

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I've never had a complete failure, but I have had a brake line pop on the front half of the system. Pretty scary when all you have left is rear drums in a 4000 lb car. The Passat system can stop a car a lot faster than I could with just the rear drums in that car.

You could also have a brake booster failure and lose all power assist, which is substantial. Ever tried to use the brakes on a car without the engine running? That's what it would feel like.

Plus, this system uses the main brake discs. Normally, the parking brake on a car with rear discs is a little, tiny drum brake inside the brake discs. Very little stopping power in those things.

I may need to correct my earlier post...It appears the B6 only uses the rear brakes when you push the parking brake button, but it does so using a system independent of the hydraulics. Not quite as good as I hoped, but still pretty good. The reason I thought it was all 4 was conflicting reports and reviews on the Internet, but it sure feels like mine is only using the rears when I push the button (car "squats" under braking instead of diving like it would if most of the stopping power was coming from the front).
 

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You have gotta love it. They put a costly and completeley unecessary feature in the car, then they probably use the cheapest switch they can find :)

With VW, it is not just the first year that needs to be avoided. it is at least the first two.
 
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