The hill descent assistant is also called Hill Descent Control (HDC) and is a driving stability aid mostly used in SUVs and pickups. With a hill descent aid, the driver is able to safely and safely descend steep slopes in rough terrain. He can concentrate fully on steering and the route, while the downhill assistant independently regulates the speed.
How does the Hill Descent Assistant work?
When driving downhill, the downhill force also acts in addition to the acceleration force, which results from the weight of the vehicle. These forces add up, which means that a car going downhill automatically gets faster and faster if you don't brake. In this situation, the hill descent assistant intervenes if it has been switched on beforehand. The hill descent assistant can only be activated when the speed is already low, at a maximum of 30 km / h, the gradient is at least 10% and neither the accelerator pedal nor the brake pedal are actuated at the moment. At least that's the common variant from most vehicles. The assistant ensures that the downhill section is driven at a constant walking pace. The hill descent assistant uses the engine speed lock and automatically performs a brake intervention on all 4 wheels if necessary. The ABS remains active, thus preventing the wheels from locking.
The brake is protected against overheating
The driver can accelerate or brake at any time, take control of the speed again and thus switch off the downhill aid. A hill descent assistant is worthwhile for people who regularly have to drive down steep slopes and steeply graded roads, for example for professional reasons or because they live in the country. The hill descent assistant protects the brakes from excessive wear. Many drivers brake constantly when driving downhill. This often leads to overheating of the brake system, which can permanently damage it or even cause problems while driving. Even if the hill descent aid is switched on, it should be borne in mind that this safety technology cannot replace the driver's attention. The driving style should always be adapted to the weather and road conditions. The hill descent assistant also reaches its limits on slippery or very smooth surfaces.
Can the hill descent assistant be retrofitted?
Depending on the model, a hill descent assistant can be retrofitted. Anyone who has initially foregone the assistant when buying their SUV or pickup can subsequently purchase it from the manufacturer and often install it themselves or at least have it installed. In the case of older models, the manufacturer or a specialist workshop should be able to provide information as to whether the downhill assistant can be retrofitted. For example, an inclination sensor must be attached to the car, which transmits to the ESP control unit that the inclination of the car requires intervention by the downhill assistant. The control unit must be compatible for this. In addition, the button to activate the hill descent assistant must be installed in the shift gate. The system must then be activated in the on-board electronics.
so far no universal system available
There is no universal set for retrofitting a third party. Since such a system has to be specially adapted to the respective vehicle, the on-board electronics used, the engine and the transmission, there is no plug-and-play variant from the accessories for easy installation. If the downhill assistant does not have the option in the vehicle surcharge list, retrofitting is almost impossible. As an alternative, the conventional engine brake can also be used off-road, which at least reduces the speed downhill without stressing the car's braking system. In addition, many vehicles have a so-called Range gearing which significantly extends the effect of the engine brake. If the terrain reduction is active and the first gear is engaged, slow downhill driving is possible even without braking.
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