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Newbie Alert - Driving in Neutral


Ostrak's Avatar
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10-01-03, 06:43 AM   #1  
Ostrak
Newbie Alert - Driving in Neutral

Ok folks...I am a newbie at this so please bear with my stupid questions.

I have a manual shift transmission for a 2002 Mazda Protege, and have been putting it in neutral when approaching all stops, then coasting out of gear until the car comes to a stop. I am wondering if this is harmful or helpful to the transmission or car. I started doing it, and it has become sort of a habit, but I would like to know if I could be casuing any damage to the vehicle. The car has about 70,000 on it. Please advise....thanks.

 
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10-01-03, 06:48 AM   #2  
don't see a problem with this. It will cause u to use your brakes more, but personally, i'd rather buy brakes than transmission,or clutch.

 
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10-01-03, 06:48 AM   #3  
darrell McCoy
Loss of traction and increased wear on brakes.

 
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10-01-03, 06:54 AM   #4  
Ostrak
So I thought by depressing the clutch when approaching a stop is considered "Riding the clutch" and was definitely to be avoided....or are my friends just yanking my chain......thanks for responding so quickly as well folks.

Ostrak

 
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10-01-03, 07:00 AM   #5  
darrell McCoy
Myself, I would not do that, a bad habit, but it is your car. Clutch is for changing gears not "free wheeling".

 
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10-01-03, 07:06 AM   #6  
IT IS NOT SLIPPING THE CLUTCH....

 
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10-01-03, 07:17 AM   #7  
Ostrak
Thanks guys.....there really never is a reliable source for this kind of basic info - until now.

 
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10-01-03, 07:21 AM   #8  
Joe_F
I drive a 1979 4 speed Trans Am. I can tell you I use the brakes to stop the vehicle, not the clutch.

Downshifting is one thing, riding the clutch to slow/stop the vehicle is another.

Silly point but true: Look in the owner's manual and see what they recommend .

 
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10-01-03, 07:43 AM   #9  
Ostrak
My thinking was that in an Automatic, you use the brakes when approaching a stop, so how does it differ from putting it in neutral and doing that in a standard. This of course may be wrong, but I thought I would throw that out there.

 
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10-01-03, 07:51 AM   #10  
Joe_F
Read the owner's manual and see what they recommend. I know they give a "procedure" in the Pontiac manual (or at least what they recommend to prolong component life).

 
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10-01-03, 08:49 AM   #11  
THERE IS SOME ENGINE BRAKING PROVIDED BY AN AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION,WHEN DECELERATING TO A STOP IN GEAR, MAYBE NOT AS NOTICEABLE AS A STANDARD.
SO THER E IS A LITTLE BIT OF A DIFFERENCE.

 
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10-01-03, 09:11 AM   #12  
my 2 cents

I have been driving manuel trans cars for over 30 years I really dont think about it but I stay in gear till I have to down shift.I match my speed to the gear.I never use a lower gear to slow down.
I dont see any problem with it the way I see it it is lots cheaper and lots more easy to replace brake pads then a clutch.do not ride the clutch whatever you do keep your foot off of it unless you are shifting.

 
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10-01-03, 11:33 AM   #13  
just curious. is holding the clutch in at a stop light considered riding the clutch? i have always thought riding was when you take too long to let it out, or if you keep from rolling back by letting out on clutch.

 
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10-01-03, 12:14 PM   #14  
Joe_F
Kerry:

Anytime you engage the clutch and hold it there and spool the engine up, you are wearing the clutch down.

The clutch is there to help transfer power, not to hold the vehicle. That's what the e-brake is for .

 
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10-01-03, 12:51 PM   #15  
thats what i thought, but was curious about hoding the clutch pedal in. does that cause any wear to bearings or anything. ex.; sitting in traffic and leaving car in gear and using the clutch to neutral the transmission instead of taking the car out of gear.

 
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10-01-03, 12:58 PM   #16  
dont do that

Not only do you cause wear on clutch parts holding it in such as the throwout bearing you have a unsafe condition because if you were to get hit from the rear your foot would come off the clutch and you would be proppelled forward into what ever was in front of you.

 
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10-01-03, 01:10 PM   #17  
Joe_F
Quite true. That's why it says so in the owner's manual,

"Use the regular brake, not the clutch or transmission to hold the vehicle".

Time to read the owner's manual .

 
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10-01-03, 01:50 PM   #18  
i have been driving standard shifts since i was about12 years old and dont do the things i asked about, but know people who do. i just was curiouse about the problems related. my first lesson was in a 66 ford pick-up with a three on the tree. i think my dad had whiplash for about 6 months.

 
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10-01-03, 06:46 PM   #19  
mike from nj
sitting at a stop light with the clutch pedal pushed down is putting hundreds of pounds of pressure on the thrust bearing inside the engine, it can handle it, but why take a chance?

push down pedal, grab first, go.

'riding the clutch' is when you're driving 60mph on the highway in 5th gear and you're left foot is resting on the pedal---this will burn up a clutch in a heartbeat. when not shifting, get in the habit of resting your left foot on the floor, also the less you rev it to get going in 1st, the more you're clutch will like you, i just replaced mine this summer(170,000ish)

my front brakes went to about 160-165,000 miles on the original pads and rotors, and i don't excessively downshift, i only do it when the next gear puts me around 2500-3000rpm, ready to accelerate again if i catch the light. i do wish it was an automatic, but i'll gladly take the gas mileage right about now(30ish mpg)

 
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10-02-03, 12:25 PM   #20  
***my front brakes went to about 160-165,000 miles on the original pads and rotors, and i don't excessively downshift, i only do it when the next gear puts me around 2500-3000rpm, ready to accelerate again if i catch the light. i do wish it was an automatic, but i'll gladly take the gas mileage right about now(30ish mpg)***

You must be driving very cautios and not have a lot of stop and go traffic for the breaks to last that long. Mine last a little over 1 year (about 15K miles), and I use the Bosch "performance" pads. But I do brake fairly hard, and have a lot of stop and go.

I usually downshift when I slow down because "it's cool" , and I like the way it feels. But I also change gears at 4500 rpm (5000 rpm read line) and usually go 60 mpg in 3rd gear, so I would probably not be considered the "norm".

I would say do as you wish. While I think car manuals are great, they are just guidelines.

Also, you can slow down by using the brakes and the transmission at the same time, you do have 2 feet after all. It all depends on how "skilled" you are driving a manual, and if you have other "distractions in the car. It really does take both arms to drive a manual.

 
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10-03-03, 06:44 AM   #21  
Ostrak
So is it not good for the vehicle to use the downshift to slow the car down when approaching a stop?

 
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10-03-03, 07:04 AM   #22  
Joe_F
You'll get varied opinions on this. Simply do what you feel is correct. Use the owner's manual for a guide.

I personally use the brakes. Brakes are cheaper than a new clutch.

 
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10-03-03, 03:47 PM   #23  
keep this in mind

Using the clutch to slow down will wear it out faster I would much rather replace brakes then clutchs.

 
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10-05-03, 07:02 AM   #24  
My 2 cents worth on this matter is that coasting to a stop is a very dangerous thing to do. You are not engaged in a gear and if you need to accelerate quickly to avoid some danger you are stuck. It need only happen once but as you start a bad habit it becomes easier to do and you become more complacent taking it out of gear sooner and sooner.
The proper way, as taught in the American Motorcycle Association course is to downshift and stay in gear until completly stopped.

 
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10-05-03, 08:54 AM   #25  
Joe_F
I hope those aren't the same people that tell cyclists it's OK to ride between traffic and lanes on the highway. One day, one of those fools doing that on the BQE is going to get swiped by a vehicle!

 
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10-05-03, 07:00 PM   #26  
How does a clutch engaged wear it out slowing down?

Coasting while holding the pedal down will put extra wear on the throwout bearing and wear the brakes more. The idea of slowing down in gear uses the compression of the engine and dosen't wear the clutch.

When standard trans were popular years back it stated in the DMV's drivers manuel it was against the law to coast out of gear.

Larry

 
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10-05-03, 08:53 PM   #27  
mike from nj
joe---that's their choice, and it's also the law(at least in california that i know of) that allows them to do it(riding between lanes)

common sense might say otherwise, but the law is backed up by studies that show it to be safe (safer than sitting in bumper to bumper traffic)

 
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10-06-03, 03:30 AM   #28  
Toyotaman

I dont think its the actual wear when the clutch is engaged but it happens when you shift.The diffrence in speeds of the engine and gearbox when they mesh via the clutch disk.
I always try to match my gearbox speed with engine speed before I shift.

 
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10-06-03, 05:26 AM   #29  
You don't wear a clutch shifting, the wear occurs slipping it taking off from a stop or driving with foot resting and partially depressing the clutch.

Larry

 
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10-06-03, 06:51 AM   #30  
Joe_F
Mike:

My recollection is that riding between the lanes is ILLEGAL everywhere EXCEPT California where it is legal.

Those guys should stop like everyone else. Just because they can "fit" in between everyone else doesn't make 'em special.

Most of these guys dangerously weave between traffic WHEN it's moving. I'm suprised more of them have not gotten swiped.

 
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10-06-03, 08:42 AM   #31  
Joe, it's a hell of a lot of work stopping and balancing a 700* bike. Much much easier just keeping it moving, that's probably the main reason motorcyclists weave between lanes. You're also much safer between cars as someone who's on their cellphone or changing a radio station and not paying attention can rearend them. If you're between cars the cars get hit. A biker rearended is hurt bad or dead a car bumped at 5 mph gets a bent bumper.

 
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10-06-03, 08:57 AM   #32  
Joe_F
Gee, they have no problem sailing by you doing 90+ mph, how will they stop then?

Half of them don't use turnsignals around here, so how will you know what their next move is?

Of course, not all of them are like this, but they should wait in line like everyone else. They are a vehicle and should abide by the same rules.

 
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10-06-03, 07:12 PM   #33  
mike from nj
and then we'd have a perfect world???

 
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10-07-03, 04:16 AM   #34  
Joe_F
We'd have a more courteous one, that's for sure.

How many of us NY'ers have you blown the finger Mike for cutting you off without a signal ?

 
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10-07-03, 11:18 AM   #35  
LMAO...I ALWAYS THOUGHT THAT THE LANE BETWEEN THE TWO SOLID YELLOW STRIPES WAS THE BIKE LANE!

 
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10-07-03, 01:11 PM   #36  
Joe_F
Till a big rig or a fast sports car thinks of the same thing . LOL.

I used to like driving my 84 Delta 88 on the BQE. The size commanded respect and it had that "move it or lose it" type demeanor. LOL.

If you weren't moving, that Oldsmobile rocket and brightwork was smiling at you in your rearview. LOL. Trumpet horns work well too. LOL.

 
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