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Engine braking question

(63 Posts)
Distractotron Fri 27-Oct-17 19:01:43

- sorry, I know there's another car one today but it reminded me of something I wanted to ask!
A colleague told me that she uses engine braking instead of the brake pedal "so the driver behind doesn't panic and suddenly brake".
Is this absolute bollocks (as me and DP think it is)? She's normally a very sensible person, who is more senior than me at work despite being quite a bit younger.
Surely your brake lights are there to warn the person behind that you're braking? I can't think why she would believe this.

Allthebestnamesareused Fri 27-Oct-17 19:08:24

Does she mean she goes down through the gears to slow down before actually braking? If so, that is what I was taught to do by my driving instructor and it means the speed gradually decreases (and therefore so does the car behind you) until you eventually do use your brake to actually come to a standstill.

I was taught this over 30 years ago so not sure what her age has to do with it.

WingsofNylon Fri 27-Oct-17 19:15:23

I don't understand which part you think is bollocks, the engine breaking or her reason for doing it?

I prefer anyone breaking when appropriate but I don't give much thought to the driver impact. I suppose it makes sense as you can I it do it when you don't need to break sharply.

I do notice that a lot of drivers do panic at the first sign of break lights so I'm starting to agree with her.

treeofhearts Fri 27-Oct-17 19:16:23

I think it's to do with how you are taught tbh. That is the way it used to be taught. Now learners are actively discouraged from working down through the gears.

underkerstumbled Fri 27-Oct-17 19:22:54

Aside from other considerations, using the gears to slow the car down buggers up your gearbox - and they aren't cheap to replace.

And the one and only time I have ever had travel sickness in my entire life was when I was given a lift by a work colleague who drove like that.

Collaborate Fri 27-Oct-17 19:39:30

Engine braking is wrong. Fucks up your gears, which aren't designed for braking. Use your brakes instead. They also activate brake lights that warn the cars behind that you're slowing down.

Your colleague is doing it all wrong.

AwfulSomething Fri 27-Oct-17 19:49:22

'Gears to go, brakes to slow' - that's the mantra these days!

GunnyHighway Fri 27-Oct-17 19:53:17

using the gears to slow the car down buggers up your gearbox

As a mechanic and an HGV driver no it doesn't. Poor driving may fuck your clutch though which requires the engine and gearbox to be split.

sharklovers Fri 27-Oct-17 20:01:57

Nothing wrong with engine braking at all where appropriate. In its most simple form you are engine braking whenever you lift off the throttle. Often you are slowing down without using the brakes, for example approaching a set of traffic lights. If you have any idea of ‘acceleration sense’ then you use it all the time. See the big signs on steep hills saying low gear for x miles? That’s engine braking.

Distractotron Fri 27-Oct-17 20:22:39

Wings - her reason for doing it. I haven't noticed drivers panicking when they see the car in front braking - the brake light just alerts you to the potential need to stop accelerating/brake according to distance/speed/effect on proximity betwewn your car and the one in front. If I'm trying to be aware of all possible hazards, brake lights are more noticeable and easier to respond to quickly, than a drop in distance to the car in front.

DanFmDorking Fri 27-Oct-17 21:01:48

Is this absolute bollocks...
The engine is solely designed to make one go.
The brakes are solely designed to stop one.

I don't suppose it will actually fuck up your gears but it's a lot easier and cheaper to replace brake pads rather than an engine.

When I brake I want the drivers behind me to know.

Doomhutch Fri 27-Oct-17 21:06:12

If she's slowing down, why wouldn't she want drivers behind to see that she's slowing down? It makes no sense, OP. I've yet to panic when I see someone's brake lights come on, I just know to brake if I need to.

Weird, weird, weird.

ClashCityRocker Fri 27-Oct-17 21:10:31

I was always taught gears to go, breaks to slow.

My driving instructor did say that in 'the olden days' hmm people were taught to shift down through gears.

Either way, I've still not passed my test....

yerbutnobut Fri 27-Oct-17 21:10:58

Drivers overly using their brake and hard braking peeves me off especially on 60/70 roads, thinking of main A road near to where I live, drivers speed then tail gate a car in front , constantly tapping brake every few seconds which causes others to brake when you see the brake lights and you end up with a tail back of cars practically bumper to bumper all brake tapping! I was taught to use accelerator to control your speed (and gears of course), not constantly relying on brake.

hiddenmnetter Fri 27-Oct-17 21:14:33

If you have an electric or hybrid car, it effectively uses engine braking in order to generate electricity. Engine braking is perfectly sensible to use. It can be a much smoother and even brake especially when going downhill.

More importantly, if you're on ice, or gravel and your car goes into a skid, take your foot off the brake and lower your car's gear as a safe and effective way to slow your car down without locking up your wheels (although ABS of course has made using brakes much more effective).

thenightsky Fri 27-Oct-17 21:18:58

I'd rather replace brake pads than a worn out gear box.

VelvetSpoon Fri 27-Oct-17 21:24:34

Agree with pp that I like other drivers to see I'm braking.

On a similar note, do you all always use your clutch when changing gear? My bf never uses his clutch and says it's unnecessary if you're at the right speed changing gear. I've never heard of anyone else doing this though and am not willing to try it myself!

RandomUsernameHere Fri 27-Oct-17 21:26:46

The point of engine braking has nothing to do with the person behind you. It's used to help slow the car down so you don't have to brake so heavily, not instead of using the footbrake. It's also useful in situations like going down a long, steep hill.

llangennith Fri 27-Oct-17 21:36:18

Passed my test 45 years ago and was taught the usual 'mirror, signal, manoeuvre' sequence.
Brake lights are the first indication the car behind gets to know you're slowing or stopping. Even 45 years ago slowing through the gears was out of date.

ShowOfHands Fri 27-Oct-17 21:36:52

I was taught to engine brake and this was relatively recently. Doesn't fuck your gears because you change gear at the appropriate speed, not to force it to slow faster than it naturally does just by releasing the throttle. I drive a road daily which goes from 40 to 30 to 20 and I never brake, just ease off the throttle so that I'm doing the right speed when I hit the new zone. I select the gear to match when appropriate. Engine braking is very useful, economical and has its uses as a tool alongside the brake.

underkerstumbled Sat 28-Oct-17 00:05:00

ShowOfHands yes, I do that too, the car slows down naturally because you've taken your foot off the gas, and then you change down a gear when you're already going at the right speed for that particular gear. I think that others might be referring to changing down earlier than that - so it is the gear doing the slowing.

Frequently using the gearbox as a brake does wear it out sooner (according to my late uncle - an engineer who invented bits that go in engines). And it doesn't do a lot for the clutch either.

Lillygolightly Sat 28-Oct-17 00:20:00

Nothing wrong at all with engine braking, however changing down from 5th to 2nd at speed is a different story all together. New car was trying to shift down to 3rd, hit 1st by accident....was NOT good, and I was lucky all was fine.

Many many years of driving later I still downshift but only where appropriate such as driving on windy country lanes. Shifting down is far better than trying to stay in gear and labouring the engine.

LurkingHusband Sat 28-Oct-17 00:28:18

I was told by a police instructor (many years ago) to always be in the gear you need to accelerate from (if that makes sense).

His brake discs were like mirrors smile.

BriechonCheese Sat 28-Oct-17 00:45:56

I'm learning so much on this thread!

GunnyHighway Sat 28-Oct-17 00:46:09

His brake discs were like mirrors smile.

And is this good or bad?

By pushing the accelerator you will use the gears on the input (lay) shaft to turn the gears on the output shaft. When engine braking the gears on three output will push on the gears of the layshaft oddly enough those that design gearboxes thought that this may happen and used appropriate materials. Poor gear changes will fuck the engine and clutch. The transmission is a tough machine.

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