You slide into the driver’s seat of your Honda Civic, ready to head out for the day. As you buckle your seatbelt, you notice a button on the console labeled “Brake Hold” next to the parking brake. What exactly does this feature do? And more importantly – can you actually drive with brake hold activated in your Civic? Let’s take a closer look.
Here’s a quick answer:
Yes, you can drive with the brake hold feature activated in a Honda Civic. Brake hold keeps brake pressure applied even when your foot is off the pedal, preventing rollback until you hit the gas. It’s useful in stop-and-go traffic to reduce fatigue. But brake hold has limits, so don’t rely on it fully when parked on steep hills. Check the manual and maintain good braking habits overall.
Understanding Brake Hold
Brake hold is a useful feature in many modern vehicles that takes some of the strain out of stop-and-go driving. Here’s a quick rundown of how it works:
When you come to a complete stop in your Civic and hit the brake pedal, brake hold will hold the brake pressure even after you lift your foot off the pedal. This prevents that unnerving rollback you may experience on hills or inclines when transitioning from brake to gas. The car will remain stationary, with the brakes firmly applied by the system, until you touch the gas to accelerate again.
So in essence, brake hold mimics holding your foot on the brake pedal even when you physically lift off. This means you don’t have to contort your leg to keep pressure on the pedal at long stoplights. It also avoids tapping back and forth from brake to gas on steep driveways or congested roads.
Activating Brake Hold
Using brake hold properly starts with buckling your seatbelt. Honda built in this requirement as a safety precaution before enabling the feature.
Once you’re buckled up, press the brake hold button on the console. It will illuminate, indicating the system is ready to activate. Now just come to a complete stop using your brakes like normal. You’ll feel the pedal tension release, but brake hold will maintain the pressure. The brake lights will stay illuminated to signal to other drivers behind you.
You can then lift your foot off the brake pedal entirely if you want – brake hold has your back, keeping your Civic locked in position. It will hold this brake pressure for over 10 minutes if needed, proving useful when stuck at extremely long stoplights or railroad crossings.
The only way to release brake hold is by pressing the accelerator, just like if you were manually holding the brake yourself the whole time. Give the gas pedal a press and brake hold disengages, transitioning seamlessly back to engine power.
The Driving Experience With Brake Hold
Driving with brake hold active takes a bit of acclimation if you’re used to just using your foot brake. Here’s what you can expect with this automated brake pressure feature activated:
- Smooth stops – Brake hold engages progressively when you initially press the brake pedal. You won’t experience harsh or sudden stops unless you slam the pedal aggressively.
- No roll on hills – Say goodbye to that unnerving slip backwards when starting from an incline. Brake hold keeps your Civic firmly in place until you hit the gas.
- Reduced fatigue – You’ll appreciate brake hold most in bumper to bumper traffic. Holding the pedal for 5+ minutes hurts! Brake hold alleviates leg cramps and fatigue.
- Seamless weight transfer – Lifting off the brake causes weight to transfer to the rear, affecting handling. Brake hold minimizes this, emulating your foot still pressing the pedal.
Now let’s be clear – you absolutely should not rely solely on brake hold to keep your car in place. Think of it as more of a helper rather than a foolproof parking brake. There are some key limitations:
Limitations of Brake Hold
- Steep grade start assist duration: 2 seconds
- Maximum hold on flat roads: 10+ minutes
- Ineffective on severe inclines: Anything over a 30% grade
You’ll notice from this list that brake hold works best on relatively flat roads and low to moderate inclines. Extended super steep hills are still risky. Be prepared to press the actual brake pedal if brake hold starts to let up.
Brake hold also won’t bring your Civic to a complete stop – that’s still on your brakes initially. And due to reliance on the ABS system, brake hold function can be impacted by faults in wheel speed sensors or modulator issues.
Proper Braking Technique Still Matters!
While brake hold seems like an appealing way to give your brakes a break (no pun intended!), it doesn’t eliminate the need for smart braking habits:
✅ Smooth braking – Slamming the pedal aggressively engages ABS unnecessarily and wears brake components faster. Be smooth with initial braking instead.
✅ Look ahead – Maintain awareness of traffic patterns, slowdowns, and stops ahead rather than emergency brake checking.
✅ Safe distance – Keep ample cushion between you and the next vehicle to allow for smooth braking while avoiding collisions.
Remember – brake hold just retains brake pressure once you’ve come to a complete stop. Repeated hard stops will still wear pads and rotors faster. Pay attention to warning signs like squeaks, chatter, pulling, or fading.
Using Brake Hold Properly
Hopefully by now you’ve realized brake hold on your Honda Civic has some strong benefits but isn’t an outright replacement for good braking habits. When used properly and acknowledging its limitations, brake hold can enhance the overall driving experience. Here are some final tips on usage:
🔘 Only activate once buckled – no seatbelt = disabled brake hold due to safety protocol
🔘 Illuminated dash light = good to go for activation
🔘 Press gas pedal to release – don’t wait for automatic turnover
🔘 Rely more heavily in low speed areas – parking lots, traffic jams, etc. ,
🔘 Check brakes regularly – brake hold isn’t reducing wear per se
🔘 Report irregular brake functionality – may indicate issues needing repair
While initially feeling like magic at long stoplights, brake hold is not a license to drive recklessly or ignore smart braking technique. Look at it as a situational helper, not a crutch. Used wisely under the right conditions, brake hold makes driving your Civic much more pleasant in annoying stop-and-go scenarios.
No, once you activate brake hold it will remain on until you manually switch it off. The feature activates automatically when you make a complete stop. You only need to press the button again if you turned it off on your previous drive.
2. Will brake hold work even if my foot is pressing the brake pedal?
Yes. Brake hold is designed to seamlessly support your braking whether your foot is on the pedal or not. Feel free to continue braking manually even with brake hold on.
3. Can I use brake hold while parking my Honda Civic?
No. Brake hold is only intended for brief stops in traffic or at lights. The parking brake is separate and should be used when parking your Civic in place for extended periods.
4. Is it bad to drive with brake hold activated all the time?
Not necessarily, but using brake hold properly means recognizing its limitations. Don’t rely on it completely to hold your car in place or to reduce brake wear. Check your manual brakes regularly and maintain good braking habits overall.
5. Will brake hold work even if there are issues with my Civic’s ABS or stability control systems?
Unfortunately, no. Since brake hold relies on ABS and vehicle stability systems, any faults with those systems can impact brake hold operation. Make sure to address any ABS, brake, or stability control warning lights promptly.