What is Regenerative Braking and How Does it Work?

These days, there’s an awful lot of fancy terminology used in modern cars. After all, they implement a lot of fancy technology too! Regenerative braking is one such phrase that’s actually been around for a long time, but how many motorists actually know what it is and how it works? We’re here to educate a few more.

Problems with brakes can be dangerous to deal with and expensive to fix, that’s if one hasn’t already resulted in an accident that’s written off your vehicle altogether. Cash in instead of paying out with Scrap Car Comparison, where we’ll scour the market for the highest offers for your car from scrap and salvage buyers in your local area. With a network of Authorised Treatment Facilities positioned all over the UK, we’re able to get you a great deal wherever you are with the free collection of your car included as standard. Give us a call on 03333 44 99 50 or use our scrap car price calculator to get a quote today!

What Is Regenerative Braking?

Used on trains for decades, regenerative braking is a clever technique used by electric vehicles (EVs) to harness the kinetic energy that comes from the vehicle’s motion. It does this by converting this kinetic energy to be used immediately in order to slow the car down, utilising the energy that would usually be lost, or alternatively it allows for this power to be stored for use later on. It can be an effective way of adding a few more miles onto your journey before needing to charge, somewhat easing your range anxiety.

Which Types Of Cars Have Regenerative Brakes?

Regenerative braking is used almost exclusively by EVs, since the power that’s salvaged can be added directly back into the car’s battery to be used at another time. However, hybrid cars also utilise regenerative braking and while they may not rely solely on electricity to keep them going like a fully-electric car does, regenerative braking can still give them a boost to keep you away from the petrol pumps for a little while longer.

Strangely, some petrol cars also use regenerative braking, although you’re unlikely to notice the impact. In these ICE (internal combustion engine) cars, the technique is mostly used to power the electric components that are present, like power steering. Of course, there’s no way for these cars to add miles to a journey using the power of electricity.

What Causes Faulty Regenerative Brakes?

Regenerative brakes can become faulty in a number of ways. One such way actually impacts the traditional brakes on your car directly; as you use the brakes less than you would with a traditional car, they become more susceptible to rusting and suffering corrosion. This is because they’re not moving as much, so the parts are sitting dormant, which allows rust to set in.

Of course, there’s also the possibility that some of the many electrical systems inside the car could have failed. If you suspect this to be the case, you should take the vehicle to be assessed by a trained vehicle technician, bearing in mind that not every single mechanic will know their way around an EV yet.

How To Tell If Your Regenerative Brakes Need To Be Replaced

If you begin to notice that your brakes are making unusual noises, like grinding or squeaking, they might be suffering from corrosion and in need of a replacement. You might also notice that the usual performance of your car when the regenerative braking is in action isn’t up to scratch. If the braking system doesn’t seem to be stopping your car with the same level of force that you’re used to, it might be on the way out.

How Long Do Regenerative Brakes Last?

It’s not uncommon for a regenerative braking system to last for the entire lifespan of a car – especially when you consider that an EV’s battery is likely to have to be replaced after 100,000 miles and most owners simply scrap the car instead.

That being said, to put a figure to it, 100,000 miles is about the average you can expect your regenerative brakes to last. Once you hit that milestone on your odometer, you might start to see a reduction in performance but, of course, it could happen sooner, or never at all.

Can You Drive With Faulty Regenerative Brakes?

In some electric vehicles, regenerative braking can simply be turned on or off based on your own preference. In this case, it would be perfectly fine to drive with faulty regenerative brakes as you could deactivate them. Other EVs, like Teslas, don’t allow for regenerative braking to be deactivated, so these cars probably should not be driven until the problem is repaired. However, you should remember that your car does still have regular brakes, too. These should still work as normal, but if you have any doubts, don’t risk it. Get the vehicle looked at.

Can Faulty Regenerative Brakes Cause An MOT Failure?

Regenerative braking itself can’t result in an MOT failure, but your brakes will be checked for their safety standards. Brake fluid will be checked, which can be used with your regenerative braking systems.
If faulty brakes have written off your car or are simply too expensive to replace, get a quote today from Scrap Car Comparison and we’ll find you the highest offers from scrap and salvage buyers positioned in your local area. We’ve partnered with Authorised Treatment Facilities (ATFs) all around the UK, meaning we can locate the best deals for your car wherever you are, and we even offer free collection as standard! Give us a call on 03333 44 99 50 or use our scrap car price calculator to get a valuation for your vehicle now!

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