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Matt, Engineer
Category: Subaru
Satisfied Customers: 21982
Experience:  Mechanical Engineer with 20 years experience in the auto industry, 8 yrs in formula 1 engine testing
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My daughter has a 2011 Subaru outback. She has had

Customer Question

Hi my daughter has a 2011 Subaru outback. She has had intermittent problems with the electronic parking brake. In the past she has turned off the car waited and restarted later and the lights went out and the brake released. Tonight the brake will not release. I have been reading online about the electronic parking brake controller. The part is about $400. My question is where is this part located and are there tests to confirm this is the part I need before plunking down $400?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Subaru
Expert:  Matt replied 1 year ago.
Hello 1st thing to note is that there's a manual release the details are in the handbookyou can manually disengage it by getting the long thin tool (looks like a long allen wrench with no angle on the end) out from its holder under the rear cargo floor. You have to crawl under the car and insert it into the receptacle and manually turn the system to release the brake. the module contains a motor and is located where the handbrake used to be in the central tunnel under the carand often just greasing the cables helps the system a lot
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have read online that using the wrench can cause damage. Do you agree?
Insert the electronic parking brake release tool into the parking brake release cap and remove it by turning counter-clockwise.
Note: it is recommended that you do NOT do this. You should call roadside assistance and get the battery jumped, or get the car towed instead.if you are stranded or stuck with a dead battery or for some reason the brake won't release, it is best to contact your local dealer for roadside assistance or an emergency towing service.
Note: following these instructions and breaking the white film could require replacing the brake release device to minimize possible moisture and dirt contamination.
This will be expensive. Call roadside assisatance for a battery jump instead- its easier and will cost less.With the cap now off, break the white film and insert the electronic parking brake release tool into the parking brake release device and turn it clockwise app 200-250 rotations.warning: do not turn the electronic parking brake release tool counterclockwise or turn it around more than 300 times. Doing so may result in a malfunction of the electronic parking brake.
Do not use electric power tools to turn the electronic parking brake release tool. Doing so may result in a malfunction of the electronic parking brake.
Expert:  Matt replied 1 year ago.
Hello the drive for the wrench isn't very big and if the motor is seized then you can add to your woes by stripping the wrench out providing you don't force it then you can try it but if its really stiff to turn then its better to get the car towed
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
So the motor is turned by the wrench? If I go under the car and locate this motor how would I lube it? Isn't the whole unit sealed?
Expert:  Matt replied 1 year ago.
helloyes the wrench turns the back of the motor ( providing its not seized up)the motor pulls on the handbrake cables so you apply grease to the cables and then work the motor on an doff to drag grease inside obviously this doesn't help much when the motor isn't working - as its a sealed unit as you sayyou can try using some penetrating oil like WD40 squirted into the motor where the cable exit it
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok I will check it out tomorrow. Thanks!
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I took the unit apart and lubed it. It was pretty clean. After reassembly I can hear the motor engage and disengage however the brake light still blinks. Are there sensors in the system? It seams like the motor disengages but it is not recognized.
Expert:  Matt replied 1 year ago.
Hello there's a couple of limit switches in the mechanism so if the system can't travel far enough to 'learn' the limits then you get the fault light I'd try resetting the unit by doing a general resetby disconnecting the battery cables and clamping them together for 10 mins. Remove both battery leads from the battery then use a nut and bolt or G-clamp to hold both battery lead terminals together. This discharges any capacitors / memory within the ECU and around the car so ensures all memory settings are wiped clear - back to the factory default. This will reset all the systems on the car , and ensure that the keys are in your hand when you re-connect the battery as the car may lock and turn on the alarm