Toyota EPB Malfunction (Solved & Explained) 

An EPB malfunction can be caused by corroded parking lines, a burnt-out fuse, a malfunctioning ECU, and a failing parking brake motor.

What causes a Toyota EPB to Malfunction?

Our modern vehicles are supposed to be safer and easier to drive than ever. Safety Regulators around the world place strong restrictions on vehicles. These restrictions protect drivers and passengers inside the vehicle in the event of an accident. But sometimes technology can start glitches or development issues. 

One important feature of a Toyota vehicle is the EPB. The EPB stands for the electronic parking brake. This is the signal that causes the brakes underneath our vehicle to function and slow down our car when the driver presses down on the brake pedal.

In a Toyota, the EPB system is directly connected to the actuator and the ECU. Not only does the EPB system control the brakes that you use during everyday driving, but it also controls the emergency brake.

When your Toyota vehicle has an EPB malfunction, the words EPB malfunction visit your dealer will appear. The warning can appear behind the steering wheel or on the console above the radio and air conditioner.

So what causes a Toyota to have an EPB malfunction and what can you do about it?

Destroyed parking cables

One of the causes of an EPB malfunction is old or corroded parking brake cables. Since the EPB system works through a system of cables, one of the cables could become corrupted or damaged. 

The parking brake fuse burns out

There are several fuses located in different parts of your vehicle. The parking brake fuse is located with the other fuses in the fuse box near the engine battery. 

If the parking brake fuse blows or burns out, then the parking brake will lock. It’ll be much more difficult for the driver to use the regular brake or the parking brake.

Replacing the parking brake fuse is simple. Just use the diagram on the fuse box in your vehicle to locate the fuse and then replace the fuse with the new one. A box of fuses should cost less than $10.

The parking brake motor is failing

The parking brake motor is a simple name for the rear caliper motor, which is also known as the actuator. 

When the actuator breaks or fails to work, then the driver will have to exert much more force on the brakes. They must do this to control the parking brakes to brake their vehicle and slow down.

The main cause of an actuator failure is bad cables, so you may want to ask your mechanic to check on the parking cables if the issue is a failed actuator. Do not try to repair a failed actuator. Ask your mechanic to replace the actuator with a new one. 

The average cost of a parking brake actuator is around $200, but they can be as low as $150 and as high as $300.

Reset the EPB

If you’re having an issue with the EPB and nothing is working, then you can always reset the EPB system.

Here’s how to reset the EPB system:

  • Without touching the brake pedal, switch the ignition to on and then shift the gear level to park.
  • Locate the EPB button and Pull and release the button to activate the electronic parking brake.
  • When you pull on the button, you should hear a mechanical sound. Once you hear the sound, you can release the button.
  • Then, hold down the EPB button for 35 seconds and then release it when you hear two mechanical beeps.
  • Now, turn off your vehicle and wait for a minute. Then turn it back on. This process should fully reset the EPB system.

My Toyota dealer cannot detect an issue and there are no error codes, but the EPB malfunction warning keeps appearing.

You may have to reset your ECU to remove any bad data that is causing EPB malfunction to appear on the screen. Occasionally, the computer in your vehicle will start glitching. So what do you do when your computer glitches? You turn off your computer and turn it back on again. Resetting the ECU is just like that. 

How to reset an ECU system inside a Toyota vehicle

Resetting your ECU is quite easy no matter what type of car you have. 

  • First, turn off your engine and open the hood.
  • Then, locate your vehicle’s battery. 
  • Next, find the fuse box that should be located next to the battery. On the cover of the fuse box, there should be several boxes with colored writing. 
  • Locate the box that says ECU. The box on the fuse box cover is a diagram that shows which fuses are where. 
  • When you find the ECU box, open the cover and pull out the fuse located directly under the ECU box on the cover. You’ll be pulling out the ECU fuse. Remove the fuse with pliers so that your skin does not have to touch the metal of the fuse. You can also wear heavy-duty gloves.
  • Wait 10 to 15 seconds and then place the fuse back in its compartment.
  • Place the cover back on the fuse box. Now go to your vehicle and turn it on. The EPB malfunction warning should no longer be on the dashboard or console.

Cruise control will not work if the EPB is malfunctioning

One thing you should know about an EPB malfunction is that it will prevent the cruise control from working as it should. During an EPB malfunction, a message will appear on your dashboard or screen and it will say cruise control malfunction. You cannot use cruise control.

Conclusion

Replacing a blown-out fuse is easy and you will be able to do it all by yourself. If the actuator is causing the EPB to malfunction, check on the breaking cables as well. But what if there are no issues but the EPB warning keeps appearing? Reset the EPB system. If that doesn’t work, reset the entire ECU system.