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  #21  
Old 17 May 2007, 02:07 PM
Duckie Queen
 
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I learned to drive in CA and there were signs that said it was illegal to put the car in neutral when going down hill. (there are some long hilly roads near my parents house). But when my dad ran out of gas at the top of the hill (ok, mountain) he was able to make it to the gas station that was over a mile away from where the road flattened out.

As for stopping at red lights in IL my SO always puts it in neutral. (I drive an automatic )
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  #22  
Old 17 May 2007, 11:40 PM
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There are actually many places where "engine braking" is illegal. Engine braking gives you much less control in a skid than simply pumping your brakes (or jamming the brakes, if you have anti-lock). Yes, you may be in the wrong gear for that speed, but you still have better control of the vehicle.

And, on a practical note... your brakes are designed to stop your car. Your clutch and transmission are not. Replacing your brakes is much cheaper than replacing your clutch and transmission.
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  #23  
Old 17 May 2007, 11:47 PM
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I was taught to keep the car in gear as I slowed down, with only maybe one downshift, and then go into neutral if sitting at a light for any amount of time. The reason for this was to keep the throwout bearings on the clutch from having to hold the clutch open for a long time while waiting. This was coming from my father, who was a mechanic, although he got out of that gig back when I was very young. However, they have only ever owned one automatic, and have yet to replace a clutch.

Now, on the motorcycle it's a different story. The risk is completely different - being able to speed away from a stop if someone is going to hit me is not a matter of keeping my vehicle looking nice, it can be life or death. Bikes are also (mostly) constructed differently - the clutch and throwout bearings are in the oil bath, not dry, so wear (when loaded) is minimal.

Henry
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  #24  
Old 18 May 2007, 12:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by niner View Post
However, they have only ever owned one automatic, and have yet to replace a clutch.
I replaced one clutch in my life but learned later that I probably got scammed and didn't need a new one. And that car was over a decade old when it was done. I never put the car in neutral unless I'm waiting in a situation where the choice is to turn off the engine or let it run -- train passing, stopped traffic, etc. I always use the breaks to stop and almost never downshift while stopping. I've replaced breaks a number of times.
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  #25  
Old 18 May 2007, 02:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wolf333 View Post
There are actually many places where "engine braking" is illegal. Engine braking gives you much less control in a skid than simply pumping your brakes (or jamming the brakes, if you have anti-lock). Yes, you may be in the wrong gear for that speed, but you still have better control of the vehicle.
I had a SUV with RWD and I found that engine braking (very carefully) was far better than braking when I needed to slow down in slippery conditions. The rear wheels might lose traction, but since I'm not using brakes, the front wheels keep good traction (also aided by the weight shift) so I can keep control of direction. If the back wheels start to slide (which is very unlikely unless I'm trying to turn) I can steer into it to keep the car straight.

I have a FWD now and I assume this particular benefit is negated, but since we had such a mild winter I haven't had a chance to try it out.

Since a clutch replacement goes for about 5 times more than a brake job, I found it best to use the brakes except in extreme situations.
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  #26  
Old 18 May 2007, 04:21 PM
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Not_Done_Living Not_Done_Living is offline
 
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Originally Posted by bjohn13 View Post
Having to take a moment to check speed and RPM might be the moment that is the difference between life and death.
I shift by ear... not by rpm or speed.. probably because i have driven standard for 15 years, in only two vehicles.
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  #27  
Old 18 May 2007, 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Hans Off View Post
Wow that's naughty!

Hans "on the wheel unles you are changing gear" Off
I've had three defensive driving courses, one specifically for driving a manual, and all three courses taught us to put our hands in a different place. One taught us to put our hands at the 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock positions on the wheel, and one taught us to put our hands at the 12 o'clock and 3 o'clock position. The manual transmission course taught us to keep one hand at the 11 o'clock position and the other on the shifter unless we were using both hands to steer.
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  #28  
Old 18 May 2007, 06:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Not_Done_Living View Post
I shift by ear... not by rpm or speed.. probably because i have driven standard for 15 years, in only two vehicles.
Right. I've driven exclusively manuals my entire life, and I also shift by ear. I've also driven enough to know that it is extremely easy to misjudge speed when changing speeds extremely quickly. Finally, I've encountered enough situations where I've had to accelerate quickly after braking quickly to know how important proper downshifting is.
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  #29  
Old 18 May 2007, 07:06 PM
Meka Meka is offline
 
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There's also a human element involved here. Having the car in neutral at a red light (especially with the handbrake on) means you won't have to keep your foot on the brakes - which means no brake lights to warn the cars behind you. Which might be okay if the car behind you is already stopped, but there are plenty of half-witted motorists out there that pay more attention to whether or not your car's rear end is lit up like a Christmas tree than to their closing speed when it comes to hitting the brakes.
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  #30  
Old 18 May 2007, 08:14 PM
Sue Bee Sue Bee is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wolf333 View Post
There are actually many places where "engine braking" is illegal. Engine braking gives you much less control in a skid than simply pumping your brakes (or jamming the brakes, if you have anti-lock). Yes, you may be in the wrong gear for that speed, but you still have better control of the vehicle.

And, on a practical note... your brakes are designed to stop your car. Your clutch and transmission are not. Replacing your brakes is much cheaper than replacing your clutch and transmission.
I thought that engine braking being illegal referred to big rigs, due to the noise factor, not smaller vehicles?

As far as being in neutral at stops, I was taught that holding the clutch down was bad for the. Then I was taught that having the car in neutral was dangerous because if you have to move in an emergency, you might not be able to. The whole UK think about not touching the gearshift is odd to a USer, and believe me, the person who conducted my one- and only- road test ever would not have noticed if I'd had BOTH hands on the thing.
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  #31  
Old 18 May 2007, 09:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Meka View Post
There's also a human element involved here. Having the car in neutral at a red light (especially with the handbrake on) means you won't have to keep your foot on the brakes - which means no brake lights to warn the cars behind you. Which might be okay if the car behind you is already stopped, but there are plenty of half-witted motorists out there that pay more attention to whether or not your car's rear end is lit up like a Christmas tree than to their closing speed when it comes to hitting the brakes.
In the case of the half witted motorist (HWM) approaching the lights, isn't there sort of an argument that they should expand their event horizon, read the road, and look at the actual traffic lights and the layout in advance - if they are red, then slowing down as they approach is a given and that any vehicle behind the stop line but in front of HWM will be stationary. If they are at green, then there is the real possibility that they may change to red before HWM gets to the line, so HWM should prepare for the possibility.
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  #32  
Old 18 May 2007, 10:10 PM
gerg
 
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Originally Posted by Zachary Fizz View Post
My SUV is an auto, with a parking brake. At stop lights I tend to engage the parking brake but leave the column shift in "D", rather than neutral. My other cars have handbrakes, and I use them (again, with "D" engaged) at the lights. I haven't driven a manual for a while now.
Little of topic but you do not need o put an automatic in natural when stopped because unlike a standard there is no direct physical connection between the engine and transmission.

Also using the parking brake with an automatic when stopped at a light is not going to help if you are using the normal peddle brake as well, and it might be dangerous if you are using it alone. I know I have accidentally driving with parking brake on but I have never been able to get the car to move when I have both peddles depressed.
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  #33  
Old 19 May 2007, 01:58 PM
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From my husband: IIRC, the NY DMV drivers book calls for a driver to let off the gas, place transmission in neutral if you begin to skid sideways. Reason is that the engine will continue to rotate the driving tires, maintain the skid. You want to allow the car to straighten itself. Adding engine force actually makes you skid even more.
If you look at the dynamics of an automatic transmission, it won't hold engine speed during break. It lets go of the gear and sets it to neutral. (within itself) Look at the tachometer during braking, it drops RPM's to idle.
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  #34  
Old 19 May 2007, 07:55 PM
Troberg Troberg is offline
 
 
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Quote:
Also using the parking brake with an automatic when stopped at a light is not going to help if you are using the normal peddle brake as well, and it might be dangerous if you are using it alone.
The parking brake doesn't light the brake lights, which might make it a bit more dangerous to use in traffic.
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  #35  
Old 21 May 2007, 11:38 PM
Meka Meka is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eddylizard View Post
In the case of the half witted motorist (HWM) approaching the lights, isn't there sort of an argument that they should expand their event horizon, read the road, and look at the actual traffic lights and the layout in advance - if they are red, then slowing down as they approach is a given and that any vehicle behind the stop line but in front of HWM will be stationary. If they are at green, then there is the real possibility that they may change to red before HWM gets to the line, so HWM should prepare for the possibility.
Granted, drivers SHOULD be doing this when approaching a light. But if they did, then they wouldn't be HWMs, would they?
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  #36  
Old 21 May 2007, 11:59 PM
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There are actually many places where "engine braking" is illegal. Engine braking gives you much less control in a skid than simply pumping your brakes (or jamming the brakes, if you have anti-lock). Yes, you may be in the wrong gear for that speed, but you still have better control of the vehicle.

This law refers to big rigs using engine brakes, commonly called Jake Brakes, which is more for noise abatement than anything else. Engine braking in a car is and should be, used for slowing, in a manual downshifting toward a stop. Engine braking in trucks is still used, even in area where it's supposed to be illegal for safety purposes. Better to be a little noisy and stop, than be quiet and nail the idiot that pulled out in front of you using brakes alone.

From my husband: IIRC, the NY DMV drivers book calls for a driver to let off the gas, place transmission in neutral if you begin to skid sideways. Reason is that the engine will continue to rotate the driving tires, maintain the skid. You want to allow the car to straighten itself. Adding engine force actually makes you skid even more.
If you look at the dynamics of an automatic transmission, it won't hold engine speed during break. It lets go of the gear and sets it to neutral. (within itself) Look at the tachometer during braking, it drops RPM's to idle.


I can't see that being in a manual. It's very unsafe. Then again, I have seen some idiotic things in DMV manuals.
Yes, the engine will continue to rotate the tires, to a certain extent, but that's what you want. If the wheels are motionless and sliding, you get no braking, no chance to steer into your skid, and no control over the vehicle. I've never seen a rally racer go into a skid in neutral. Adding engine acceleration can actually HELP you get out of the skid, especially if the weight of the car is toward the back, such as having a lot of luggage, or towing a trailer. An automatic transmission doesn't go into neutral when skidding, that 0 RPM reading you see means the drive wheels are locked up, and you're skidding, nearly uncontrollably.

During braking, the RPMs go to idle, because you are not feeding any fuel into the engine. The RPMs measure engine speed, not road speed or transmission speed. To prove it, put one foot on the brake, and give the car some gas. The RPMs will rise, but the car, if the brakes are firmly applied, will not move.

You don't want the car to straighten itself, it takes too long, and you could run out of road before it does. Rather in a skid, especially on ice, do not use the brakes, but steer in the direction you want the car to go. If driving a front wheel drive, or even 4WD, using a little bit of gas and steering will help you get out of the skid faster. It used to be called steer into the skid, but that can be confusing, especially if you are skidding toward a ditch.

Last edited by JD65; 22 May 2007 at 12:01 AM. Reason: typo
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  #37  
Old 22 May 2007, 12:09 AM
JD65
 
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Just a quick addendum to last post.
If your car is skidding because you have too much power to the drive wheels, ie doing a burnout or something silly, all you need to do is let off the accelerator to stop the power skid, putting it in neutral is still not required. Depending on the type of skid would determine which method is best to counteract a skid, but in no case should a car be left in neutral. If the skid turns into a spin, it's very likely that an auto transmission will stall the engine anyway, so that would be the ONLY time I could see putting a car in neutral, but chances are, if you've already spun, being in neutral won't help much either. If driving a manual, just put the clutch in, and release when starting to straighten out in the direction you want to go. You are always better off having control over the vehicle with the transmission in gear, than wildly spinning out of control.
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  #38  
Old 22 May 2007, 02:10 AM
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I've never heard that you're supposed to put a car in neutral at a red light.

I've also never heard that you should use your parking break unless you're new to a manual transmission and on an incline as someone has already said.
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  #39  
Old 22 May 2007, 12:28 PM
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Hans Off Hans Off is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bjohn13 View Post
I've had three defensive driving courses, one specifically for driving a manual, and all three courses taught us to put our hands in a different place. One taught us to put our hands at the 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock positions on the wheel, and one taught us to put our hands at the 12 o'clock and 3 o'clock position. The manual transmission course taught us to keep one hand at the 11 o'clock position and the other on the shifter unless we were using both hands to steer.
Are you sure the second and third instructors weren't drunk?

I would have asked for my money back!

I think watching what rally drivers do to maintain control of a manual on slippery surfaces would give a pretty damn good idea of what is best practice!

Both hands on wheel? check

Engine braking? check

etc etc
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  #40  
Old 22 May 2007, 07:04 PM
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When I was learning to drive in NY state multiple decades ago, the definition of 'stopped' for a manual transmission car at a stop sign or traffic light was 'out of gear, i.e. in neutral, vehicle not moving, and driver's foot on brake pedal' so being in neutral was required.

I have also been told that keeping the clutch pedal depressed produces more wear than shifting into neutral, and releasing the clutch while you wait.
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