Don’t be surprised to see the “Volvo Parking Brake Temporarily Unavailable” sign while parking your Volvo car. Trust me, you’re not alone, as other Volvo car owners also face this problem.
The parking brake might not be available for several reasons, such as battery or wiring issues, problems with the parking brake actuator, software issues, etc. To fix this, check that the battery is charged, look for faults in the wiring, or update the software.
Well, that’s not all. Other factors are behind this issue, too. I’ll uncover all the possible reasons and pave the way to fix this. So, keep reading.
What is the Volvo Parking Brake Temporarily Unavailable Message?
The “Parking Brake Temporarily Unavailable” message in a Volvo vehicle typically indicates that there is a temporary issue or fault with the electronic parking brake system (EPB).
The EPB is a feature in many modern vehicles, including Volvos, that replaces the traditional handbrake or foot-operated brake pedal.
When you see this message, it means that the electronic parking brake system has detected a problem and is temporarily disabled to prevent potential safety issues.
Can You Drive a Volvo with a Temporarily Unavailable Parking Brake Message- Is It Safe?
Without a working parking brake, you can drive your car. As long as your primary braking system is working, no worries. But ensure not to park your car on a slope; it may roll down the slope and cause an accident.
The emergency brake usually has a separate braking system than the hydraulic brake. It’s an independent braking method and uses an isolated cable system.
So, if your main brakes work, you can still drive the car, but carefully. However, there are certain things to remember when EPB is not working.
The car will Roll Over
You can’t park your Volvo car on steep inclines without the parking brake. It may result in serious accidents or damage to the vehicle. Your car might roll if you park it on an incline. So, keep that in mind.
In some areas, parking your Volvo without a parking brake is illegal. So, parking your car without engaging the EPB might result in fines or citations.
The transmission will also wear soon and might suffer potential damage. Keeping the transmission in “park” without enabling the hand or EPB brake surely stresses the transmission’s parking pawl.
Due to that, transmissions can get premature wear and damage.
What Causes Parking Brakes to Be Temporarily Unavailable on Volvo?
If your Volvo car displays an EPB brake that is temporarily not working, several causes exist. The voltage issue is the one to blame. For this reason, the motor on the brake system can’t push the brake pad to the brake disk.
Well, there are others. Let’s explore them one by one.
- Low Battery Voltage
- Loose Electrical Connections
- Faulty EPB Switch
- Brake Pad Wear
- Parking Brake Actuator Issue
- Faulty EPB Relay
- Software Glitch
How to Fix a Temporarily Malfunctioning Volvo Parking Brake
If your Volvo EPB or emergency braking system shows it’s unavailable, that’s a safety issue. You must fix it right away to get out of trouble. So, follow the quick troubleshooting methods to bring back the parking brake.
Check Battery Voltage
EPB won’t work if there is a battery voltage issue. An old battery might be the main culprit. If the car battery is low, it can’t provide enough power to the EPB system.
As a result, the parking brake motor can’t function well and shows an error message.
So, if your Volvo battery is over 3-4 years old, check and replace it. A weak battery reduces voltage and amps, which leads to EPB malfunction.
Using a multimeter, check the battery voltage. It should be around 12.4-12.6 volts when fully charged. If it’s low, charge the battery fully or replace it if it’s very old.
Also, connect a donor battery to fix this problem if the installed battery voltage is low.
If any electrical connectors related to the EPB system are loose or disconnected, it hampers the voltage supply. Because of this, EPB can’t work properly.
Open the hood and inspect the entire EPB wiring harness and connectors. Look for any loose, damaged, or disconnected connectors. Plug in any loose connector firmly.
Change Brake Pad
An actuator to push the brake pad to the disk brake when you engage the parking brake. So, these parking brake pads wear off due to long usage.
In that case, you will see a parking brake warning sign when the brake pads fail to lock the disk. So, go to the Volvo authorized dealer or mechanic to change the parking brake pads.
Change Faulty EPB Engaging Switch
If the parking brake switch itself gets damaged due to long-time usage, you won’t be able to park your car with a parking brake.
So, check the parking brake activator switch by taking your car to an authorized Volvo car mechanic.
Replace Bad EPB Actuator
When you press the parking brake switch, the actuators push the brake pad toward the disks to lock it. So, the parking brake won’t work if that actuator gets damaged.
Without a working actuator, you can’t activate the electronic parking brake. So, check if it is working or not. Replace the faulty EPB actuator with a new one.
Update EPB Software
In modern Volvo cars, software controls pretty much everything, including the EPB. Any bug or glitch in the software can show “parking brake temporarily unavailable.”
Connect a car diagnostic computer (VIDA) and update EPB software to the latest version. Software updates often fix bugs that cause parking brake errors.
You can use the Volvo car’s dashboard monitor to update the software manually. So, look for the latest update and install it. While installing the update, don’t use the car.
After a successful update installation, you can check the EPB brakes. The EPB brakes will work again if there is a software glitch.
Replace Faulty Components
If any EPB component, like the control module, switch, relay, or actuator, is faulty, replace it with a new genuine Volvo part. It will permanently solve EPB problems.
Apart from these, you can also reset your car’s electronic parking brake. Check the manual, as resetting the EPB process varies from one model to another.
What Happens When the Volvo Parking Brake Fails?
Several things might happen if your Volvo parking brake fails. Failed emergency brakes can lead to serious consequences, like a severe accident or a fine for parking your car without the brake.
- A car may roll away if parked on an incline, leading to accidents.
- Parking on steep hills becomes risky.
- Transmission wear increases from keeping in ‘Park’.
- Parking fines or citations are possible in some areas.
- Difficulty parking on regular roads safely.
- The resale value of the car decreases.
So, a failed parking brake is a big problem. That’s why you should troubleshoot and fix it promptly before it fails. Driving without a working parking brake is never recommended.
Frequently Asked Question
Now, you know all the reasons and quick fixes when your Volvo car EPB is not working. However, there are other factors to consider. Here are some questions and answers about EPB:
How long does it take to fix a parking brake malfunction?
A mechanic usually takes 1-2 hours to diagnose and fix a simple EPB malfunction in Volvos. For complex issues like replacing modules or actuators, it can take 3-4 hours.
Can a parking brake cause damage?
Yes, parking brakes can cause damage if they fail or get stuck. In extreme cases, it can lead to transmission wear, brake overheating, or electrical fires. Catch issues early before they get worse.
How do I turn off park brake maintenance mode?
To turn off the park brake maintenance mode, turn on the ignition. Press and hold the EPB switch for 30 seconds until the light flashes. Then, let go of the switch and press it again briefly. Turn the ignition off and back on.
Will disconnecting the battery reset the parking brake?
Sometimes, disconnecting and reconnecting the battery will do a hard reset on the EPB system and resolve software-related issues. So it’s worth trying in some parking brake malfunction cases.
The “parking brake temporarily unavailable” message in Volvo cars can be annoying and concerning. Consult your owner’s manual and a trusted Volvo mechanic if DIY fixes don’t work.
But don’t ignore the problem, as a failed parking brake can lead to safety issues and expensive damage down the road. Maintaining your EPB system properly will ensure your Volvo’s parking brake works reliably for years.