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Is it bad to shift an automatic tranny to neutral at the stop light?

Discussion in 'Technical Chat' started by BenWA, May 4, 2009.

  1. May 4, 2009 at 11:05 PM
    #1
    BenWA

    BenWA [OP] Well-Known Member

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    My truck requires a lot of brake pressure to keep it from creeping forward at stop lights, so I usually shift it into neutral to relieve the pressure. Is this harmful to an automatic transmission if done over and over throughout the life of the vehicle?? Or for that matter, is it beneficial to the tranny to do this? Or neither here nor there?
     
  2. May 4, 2009 at 11:07 PM
    #2
    MsTRD

    MsTRD hell yes i love my truck

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    i would also like to know this...my bf does it whenever he drives my truck
     
  3. May 4, 2009 at 11:14 PM
    #3
    MiikeyD

    MiikeyD The Green Machine

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    i heard its bad .. but then again.. thats what i have heard
     
  4. May 4, 2009 at 11:17 PM
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    rab89

    rab89 Well-Known Member

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    no experience on this, i feel it's probably not great, as an automatic tranny shifts how it does for a reason. but I could be completely wrong
     
  5. May 5, 2009 at 4:17 AM
    #5
    Janster

    Janster Old & Forgetful

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    I would highly recommend leaving it in DRIVE and leaving your foot on the brake. This doesn't hurt anything.

    Why? Because...if some idiot hits you in the rear while you're sitting there, you won't coast forward and hit the person in front of you.
     
  6. May 5, 2009 at 1:24 PM
    #6
    Pyro-Rob

    Pyro-Rob Active Member

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    I would see why it's idling so fast that it's hard to hold at a light while in gear.


    No, it shouldn't hurt the tranny, it's designed to slip a little for exactly that reason.

    --->Rob
     
  7. Jan 27, 2011 at 6:39 PM
    #7
    Tacozoid

    Tacozoid Well-Known Member

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    I do this all the time. There are times when my engine lunges forward without warning and as long as my foot is on the brake they can hit me. I'll just call the Texas Hammer. I think it's the A/C kicking in but it really jumps so I pop it in neutral.
     
  8. Mar 11, 2011 at 8:50 PM
    #8
    mattygabe

    mattygabe Well-Known Member

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    Actually, this is somewhat of a common misconception. If you know someone will hit you, it's actually MUCH better for all cars involved that you let your foot off the brake, allow the car to hit yours, and then once your car/truck is in motion from that collision, then use your brake to slow the vehicle down. This way, the energy transferred isn't dissipated in your rear bumper and or frame, and is instead dissipated as heat in your brakes. Inevitably there will always be energy lost through your exterior, and your truck won't be left scratchless, but overall better.
     
  9. Mar 11, 2011 at 8:57 PM
    #9
    steve o 77

    steve o 77 braaap

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    what if there is another car 10' in front of you?
     
  10. Mar 11, 2011 at 9:05 PM
    #10
    KenLyns

    KenLyns Lord of War

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    According to Aamco, if you are stopped for a while, shifting into neutral is actually beneficial in reducing heat buildup in the tranny.
     
  11. Mar 12, 2011 at 8:17 AM
    #11
    mattygabe

    mattygabe Well-Known Member

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    Hope to God that they too use the same method.

    While I understand the ramifications in terms of insurance, there are some points to remember:


    1. You shouldn't be so close that you won't be able to pull the manuever I detailed. You should be leaving enough room between you and the car in front of you. If you slam into the back of that car, I'm sure your insurance company will be asking that question or inquiring about the distance between the vehicles before impact.
    2. When you make the choice to either brake and brace for impact, or allow them to hit you first and then apply the brakes, you're either saying, "I will guarantee all damage will be in my vehicle and it will be the worst of both scenarios", or "I am taking a chance that I can still keep the damage in my vehicle, and also lessen the damage done, or I might hit the vehicle in front of me". If you leave yourself enough room #2 should be an option
    3. While I know you're thinking, "Yeah, but the dumbass behind me hit me! Insurance will pay for it!" Quite possibly, but just know that the force transferred into your vehicle will be guaranteed to be as big as or larger the other method, and you also risk transferring that force into your body, possible whiplash, etc..
    Hopefully it's a situation no one finds themselves in, but regardless, biggest point is make sure you have enough distance between vehicles while at a stop.

    If you start coming up with scenarios where the dude behind you hits you really hard, that's a mixed bag because you're pretty screwed regardless of when you decide to brake.
     
  12. Mar 12, 2011 at 8:23 AM
    #12
    steve o 77

    steve o 77 braaap

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    Makes sense.

    Also leaving it in drive allows you to to get out of the way if you see someone is going to hit you in your mirror, assuming you aren't boxed in on the sides.
     
  13. Mar 12, 2011 at 8:26 AM
    #13
    chris4x4

    chris4x4 With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine. Moderator

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    The only problem I have with tis, is that the energy trasfered to the vehicle, is now transfered to you more so. An example.....tape an egg to a empty milk jug, and kick it (to simulate a vehicle with brake off), then tape an egg to a brick and give it a kick (to simulate a vehicle with brakes applied). Which egg will show signs of damage?
     
  14. Mar 12, 2011 at 8:37 AM
    #14
    tecate12

    tecate12 Fuuaaaaaaa!!

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    what size egg should i use? I'm 6'3 but not fat... XL or large should be fine?
     
  15. Mar 12, 2011 at 8:38 AM
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    chris4x4

    chris4x4 With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine. Moderator

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    LOL!
     
  16. Mar 12, 2011 at 9:21 AM
    #16
    mattygabe

    mattygabe Well-Known Member

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    Sure, an even better option. Why wait if you can safely get the hell out of the way.

    Is that due to the friction that both have, or the amount of mass that each object respectively has (legitimate question)?

    Instead, take two bricks OR two empty jugs, and put one on a sandpaper surface, and the other on ice, and I think that may be a better analogy.

    I'd be interested to see someone carry this experiment out, haha
     
  17. Mar 12, 2011 at 9:34 AM
    #17
    Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Well-Known Member

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    FWIW I have been doing the neutral at stoplights forever. I just feel in my own mind that taking the load off the drivetrain when not moving feels better to me.
     
  18. Mar 12, 2011 at 9:37 AM
    #18
    Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Well-Known Member

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    This is all good in theory but in the real world even the best driver could never pull this off when rearended by thousands of pounds:)
     
  19. Mar 12, 2011 at 11:25 AM
    #19
    Tacoyota

    Tacoyota senile member

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    Consider this, if you are hit from the rear, you will not be able to hold the brake down at some point, ESPECIALLY if you werent braced for impact.They studied that in the 80s,even had test crash video. After all the variables, a rear end accident makes them a lot of points moot , if they hit at 15+ your foot isnt likely to hold completely if at all.

    As far as being in N for a light , it will wear out the components involved sooner. We do a LOT of stop and go, P to D shifting, in our work vehicles, by 50-75k miles they are a bit sloppy and often show in D when they are in N. I doubt if you do it sparingly there will be a problem.
     
  20. Mar 12, 2011 at 11:33 AM
    #20
    KenLyns

    KenLyns Lord of War

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    All the manual transmission vehicles need it in Neutral when stopped for a while. If you want to leave it in Drive for safety reasons, then you might as well start scanning for carjackers and RPGs on rooftops. LOL treat every intersection as a potential kill zone.
     
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