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Danny, VW Mechanic
Category: VW
Satisfied Customers: 4004
Experience:  ASE Master Certified with L1 Certification, Volkswagen Certified, VW and Audi repair shop owner
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2006 vw passat: parking brake..wont release..handbrake..a garage

Resolved Question:

hi, i have a 2006 vw passat estate and today it has started showing a parking brake fault and won't release the handbrake. obviously since i can't get it going i may have some trouble getting to a garage for assistance! any suggestions?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: VW
Expert:  Danny replied 5 years ago.
I am unfortunately the messanger of bad news. VW had issues with the early Passats and their parking brake module. Some of them could be cleared by doing a capacitive discharge. That means disconnecting the battery cables from the battery and holding them together for a couple minutes to clear the control modules. It won't clear faults from memory, but sometimes it will reset the module so it begins properly working and communicating. So try that, and if that doesn't work you'll need to get it towed to a VW dealer, they may need to replace the parking brake module or recode it.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Ok, thanks. I read on another forum that some others have had success by disconnecting the battery for 10 mins then reconnecting it and pressing the breaks for 35 seconds. After that, while still pressing the breaks press the parking brake for 10 seconds. this apparently resets the computer? is this worth trying as well?

Expert:  Danny replied 5 years ago.
Anything is worth trying. The disconnecting the battery thing does nothing, it's no better than doing what I said. If it makes you feel better doing what they state above then that's cool but I doubt it does anything. Here's the reason. VW/Audi/BMW/all German car companies have a habbit of encrypting everything in an effort to get you to go to the dealer. The dealer has their factory scan tool that does everything. So what sense would it make to build in some crazy elaborate reset procedure? None. The only thing I can think of that you can do is reset the throttle body by holding the gas pedal on the floor for like 10 seconds with the engine not running. Defintely try the capacitive discharge. Try anything else you can find on the net too. But prepare to buy a parking brake control module or get the software level updated.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Ok, thanks again.

Can i just clarify the capacitive discharge (my car's at home at the moment and I'm at work so can't go and look) - I believe there's a black cable and red cable so i've to disconnect these and hold them together for a while?

I don't know very much about the workings of a car and just want to make sure i don't fry myself or the car!

Expert:  Danny replied 5 years ago.
You have it right yes just disconnect the cables and touch them together you actually can just disconnect the negative and touch it to the positive battery poster and cable. You can't fry anything because the battery is disconnected, so the circuit is broken.

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