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I noticed that one of my friends and some taxi drivers put their automatic tranny in neutral when stopped at a red light for a long period of time. What do you think of this habit? Is it better for the tranny or not?

A TV show I was watching last week brought another question to my mind. In this show, the animator demonstrated that, on an automatic car, you could achieve a shorter braking distance when putting your car in neutral while braking. The demonstration was pretty convincing. I was wondering if doing this on a regular basis would put undue stress on the transmission?
 

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good question, I have ABSOLUTELY NO CLUE, I sometimes use this behavior and I sometimes use engine braking (autostick) which I'm not sure is good either. I'd like to know too.
 

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One of my friends does that too.

I argue with him that while this does save some brake "skins" during NORMAL stops, in EMERGENCY stops this would create imbalanced braking power in the front/real or left/right of the car.

I remember reading the news where a huge truck was over speeding before a corner, so he decide to skip a gear shift down twice 4 -> 2. The engine redlined after he shift to 2, so he shift back to 3, then the truck fish tailed and crash. Some acident analysis say that it is bad to shift up while braking or soemthing ?! while in high speed ?!

So I always keep mine in D.. or autostick. *shrug*
 

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Actually putting in neutral shortens your braking distance especially in slippery conditions. Because then the brakes are just stopping wheel intertia instead of intertia and the power to the wheels.
 

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silvertrep said:
Is it better for the tranny or not?I was wondering if doing this on a regular basis would put undue stress on the transmission?
Hence the above questions: Will this do harm to the tranny?
 

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Not sure about the tranny issue but I always drove stick shift of course and was rear ended and sent flying...I am sure with automatic It would be wiser to leave alone (no neutral) just for the fact that you never know what idiot on the street may hit you and this way your travel distance like into the train will be minimalized...if you know what I mean...just my 2 cents on your saftey...besides brake pads are only $50 every so many years...your life??? Priceless!...Later,
STBEAR007
 

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engine braking isn't really bad for the engine or tranny. it is just use, like any other. you do save brake pads and rotors, and in some situations, that is good. (going down a long, steep hill, where you can warp rotors pretty easily....)
taxi drivers put the cars into neutral at stops to keep the car from shaking... when your engine is engauged, it allows more vibration to come through the engine mounts (it is under load and working a little bit). If your car has alot of miles, it may not idle so well, and neutral might be the thing to do.
 

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neutral while rolling is not the greatest for an automatic, better to leave in drive. This is from reputable tow truck driver and mechanic. More wear on tranny than leaving in gear. It is cheaper/easier to replace brakes than tranny.
 

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I've had this conversation with my father in the past and as an ASE Certified Master Mechanic, specializing in transmissions for 30+ years I take his work pretty seriously. In his professional opinion placing the car in neutral while braking won't cause any harm or abnormal wear and tear on the transmission. After all it is part of normal operation for the transmission. You shift in and out of drive every time you start/park your car, every time you back up etc. What it will do, as mentioned earlier is decrease your braking distance and help tremendously in slick conditions. Again, this is because you are simply stopping the inertia of the car rather than also fighting against the engine. This is assuming that you always wait for the transmission to fully engage into gear (this goes for D, 3, L, R, whatever) before stepping on the gas pedal.

However, during towing, you don't want any drive wheels turning. This is becuase you're forcing things inside the transmission to spin, but not supplying any lubrication. Under these circumstances it doesn't take long to do serious damage to the transmission. Therefore, if you're towing a front wheel drive, tow it by the front wheels. If you're towing a rear wheel drive, either tow by the rear wheels or remove the drive shaft to prevent the transmission from spinning. If you have a 4x4 you can place the transfer case in neutral (if possible) or it needs to be flatbeaded...
 

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This is interesting
My Mom used to do this in her stratus. But now she has a Maxima and doesnt have to worry about an automatic trans.

--Gorm
 

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Down shifting with autostick is a little different than doing it with a true manual tranny. Since the computer won't allow you to over rev the engine with autostick, there is really not much harm that can be done. With a true manual you can over rev the engine and as stated in a previous thread you can apply too much braking power. With a rear wheel drive you can actually cause fish tailing or other undesirable results. It can be just like kicking on the parking break for a few seconds...
 

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both my father and i use the neutral brakin. i was driving my father's '93 lumina until i got my trep, and the trany was one of the few things that has held up the best after 166, 000+ miles on it. i've found that so long as you let the trany get into the proper gear for what ever speed you are going before you hit the gas you are good. oh and to remeber to put it back into drive before you hit the gas is a good thing too.
 

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The only reason that most people put the cars in neutral while waiting for a light is this.
1) your car idles so bad in drive, so netrual keeps it running.

2) you drive a honda, and your trying to make the guy in the intrepid beside you thing you have a standard.

Personnally I leave it in OD, generally in OD when your coming to a stop the torque converter loses pressure anyway putting it tranny into a neutral state. Just watch your RPM when stopping, it will drop to 900 RPM while stopping and then idle. In 3, the tranny will down shift by itself until you stop.
 

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Hmmm. Yeah I have a funny idle, like it's a wee bit lumpy/low idling at lights, but it accelerates like a bat outta hell. I think I may need a new tps, because I know it iidles much better in Neutral than when in D. :D
 

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I hear the advice that people should put their trannies on neutral when trying to stop in slippery conditions and that's all fine and dandy and it does make a vehicle stop faster. BUT, in doing so, you change the amount of pressure needed to stop the vehicle impending brake lockup, therefore people will tend to lock up their wheels, which is bad when it comes to trying to control the car. Plus, if someone is doing this for the first time when it's already slippery out, it would not be a good time to find out that the braking nature is different when you put the car in neutral.

You guys should try it on good road conditions (preferably a parking lot). It really is different when you have the tranny in neutral, and then imagine being suprised like that when the conditions are bad. Basically, it's a stupid idea to tell people to do this when the weather is bad simply cause people aren't used to it. It'll only save you just a few feet anyways at normal speeds. It's better and safer to tell people to just slow down and keep a good distance.
 
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