Automotive

Putting Car in Neutral at Stop Light?

  • Last Updated:
  • Feb 20th, 2013 8:55 am
Tags:
None
Deal Addict
User avatar
Aug 9, 2009
3747 posts
217 upvotes

Putting Car in Neutral at Stop Light?

Just out of curiosity. Is it recommended to put car in neutral at a long stop light? Does it save gas? Is it legal? I read somewhere that in some places its illegal?

Can someone list the:
Advantages: Auto, Manual
Disadvantages: Auto, Manual

Also some people say if you put the car in neutral, it brakes faster? (Its not turning the wheels)

Others say that the engine helps in the braking process. (Therefore, never brake with neutral?)
30 replies
Deal Expert
User avatar
Jan 27, 2004
34247 posts
1457 upvotes
Toronto
I always thought that doing this with an automatic screws up your transmission.
    [url=http://tinyurl.com/lbqqav3][size=100][B]
  • Urbanpoet's lottery pool is BACK![/B][/size][/url]
  • 2 Corinthians 5:7 "We Walk By Faith, Not By Sight."
Deal Guru
User avatar
Mar 1, 2004
12862 posts
1424 upvotes
Pickering
azncapcom wrote:
Feb 9th, 2010 4:50 pm
Just out of curiosity. Is it recommended to put car in neutral at a long stop light? Does it save gas? Is it legal? I read somewhere that in some places its illegal?

Can someone list the:
Advantages: Auto, Manual
Disadvantages: Auto, Manual

Also some people say if you put the car in neutral, it brakes faster? (Its not turning the wheels)

Others say that the engine helps in the braking process. (Therefore, never brake with neutral?)
Yes, sure it would save gas, but the amount would be so infinitesimally small, there is no point in bothering. I have my car in neutral at almost every stop light, but I drive a standard and I am not too worried about breaking the law.

Advantages: Auto

You could save .001 percent of your gas

Advantages: Manual

You will not be killing your leg holding the clutch to the floor, or killing your clutch pressure plate for that matter.

Disadvantages: Auto

You forget, apply the gas and then put it into gear because the guy behind you is honking and end up doing a "Neutral drop".
You miss "D" and shift into "2" and drive forward in an icy area, engine screaming and when you realize you put it into "D" and get a hard shift causing your car to spin out.

Disadvantages: Manual

None

A car in neutral will coast further than a car in gear. So not having the car in neutral will increase your braking distance, however this will be different for each car and each transmission type.
Deal Addict
Jan 22, 2004
3168 posts
36 upvotes
Toronto
I had a OBD2 computer (Maxitrip) for a few days and found that the difference between neutral and D is about 0.1 - 0.2 litre per hour. So you save about 0.2 cents of fuel if the red light is 1 minute long. If you have 10 red lights on you way home then here is your 2 cents :lol:

I don't think putting it in neutral will stop the car faster because there will be no engine braking so you also ended up with more brake wear.
Deal Addict
User avatar
May 24, 2006
1625 posts
93 upvotes
Only reason I do it is because I don't want to step on the brake for the long lights.

Didn't realize it is illegal though O.o
Deal Expert
User avatar
Nov 19, 2005
15580 posts
507 upvotes
RedFlagDeals!
azncapcom wrote:
Feb 9th, 2010 4:50 pm
Just out of curiosity. Is it recommended to put car in neutral at a long stop light? Does it save gas? Is it legal? I read somewhere that in some places its illegal?

Can someone list the:
Advantages: Auto, Manual
Disadvantages: Auto, Manual

Also some people say if you put the car in neutral, it brakes faster? (Its not turning the wheels)

Others say that the engine helps in the braking process. (Therefore, never brake with neutral?)
AFAIK i drive in Ontario so idk about legality in other places and stuff, I just neutral it at lights cause i do not like holding the clutch down long time. Tbh tho you should keep it in first gear for some emergency reason, say the guy behind u cant break in time so u see this and ur ready to move out of the way (very rare case, it happened to my friend of a friend (not me, srsly))

But yeah since cases like that are rare I usually leave it neutral, i drive manual btw. if its auto i leave it in D for drive and just chill there.

Personally engine braking on a manual does slow down the car and saves the brakes but idk i do both i downshift to a stop sometimes, other times I just neutral and brake the rest, idk its ymmv for me.

let other ppl give u their replies

k takeiteez
PC IS MASTER RACE!
( ͡°( ͡° ͜ʖ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)ʖ ͡°) ͡°)
VAPE NATION \//\
Newbie
Jul 29, 2009
24 posts
Mississauga
You people, do realize that the "normal" for the automatic transmission is not to be put on neutral, and for the manual is not to be in any speed, when at stop?

I come from somewhere where automatic cars are less than 3-4 % and everybody (at least all the persons I know) are not leaving the cars in first speed (for manuals), but press the clutch pedal. It is not normal to press two pedals at once (brake and clutch). And the reason for pressing the brake at stop, for manuals, beside the angle reason which is not all the time, it's safety. If let's say somebody is coming from behind without stopping, you will not kill the pedestrians in front of you or you will not damage the car in front of you (if the crash speed is not so fast to project you anyway).

So, putting the gearbox in first speed (for manual) at stop (and I mean red light) it will protect your clutch, and leaving in drive (for automatic) it will protect your gearbox. In both cases, the brake should be pressed at red light.

Just my opinion :) .
Sr. Member
Nov 15, 2005
929 posts
44 upvotes
Medicine Hat and SW …
Vehicles with automatic transmissions are now being designed to automatically put the transmission in neutral when you are stopped and automatically engage the transmission immediately upon acceleration. The new Kia Sorento and Mitsubishi Outlander are two such vehicles. The stated intention of the manufacturers for doing this is to save fuel and transmission wear.
Deal Fanatic
Mar 21, 2002
5720 posts
508 upvotes
I always shift to neutral if I arrive at the beginning of the red light and am going to be sitting there for a minute or more.
Sr. Member
Dec 6, 2007
792 posts
8 upvotes
Ctrl-Z wrote:
Feb 9th, 2010 7:12 pm
Vehicles with automatic transmissions are now being designed to automatically put the transmission in neutral when you are stopped and automatically engage the transmission immediately upon acceleration. The new Kia Sorento and Mitsubishi Outlander are two such vehicles. The stated intention of the manufacturers for doing this is to save fuel and transmission wear.
+1. It will be standard on all automatic transmission cars in a couple of years. Not only does it reduce vibrations at idle, it also allows for a lower RPM when idling (if the car was designed with this in mind). So it definately does save fuel *if* it was designed to do this. If you put a car without this into neutral, I doubt it would have any noticeable changes.
Member
Sep 26, 2008
303 posts
33 upvotes
Orleans
zxcvbnm26 wrote:
Feb 9th, 2010 6:39 pm
You people, do realize that the "normal" for the automatic transmission is not to be put on neutral, and for the manual is not to be in any speed, when at stop?

...So, putting the gearbox in first speed (for manual) at stop (and I mean red light) it will protect your clutch, and leaving in drive (for automatic) it will protect your gearbox. In both cases, the brake should be pressed at red light.

Just my opinion :) .
:confused: I'm a bit confused by your post. I would agree with your first para, but you seem to contradict yourself in your last para. If you are driving a manual and you are in gear while stopped, you would need to keep the clutch depressed the entire time you are sitting at the light. How does this protect your clutch??
Member
Jun 14, 2009
252 posts
Toronto
am quite interested on a definitive answer on this topic as well... where i come from, only 10% drive automatic... and i used to drive manual all the time and i leave it in neutral as depressing the clutch the whole time will eventually "burn" the clutch as we'd say (local lingo translated to english)... so yes 100% i will always leave it at neutral when im at a stop light IF im using manual...

however, since i now drive automatic, i am at a quandary myself... on the one hand, i have heard (though not confirmed) that if you are at D in AT while waiting for the stop light, and you get bumped at the behind, your transmission will be toast... (even if you have your foot on the brake pedal)... hence, at this point, i sometimes put it in neutral (when i dont want to depress my brake pedal at a stop light)... at other times, i leave it in D while depressing my brake pedal...

what is the proper way anyways for AT?
Deal Addict
User avatar
May 22, 2009
3417 posts
284 upvotes
Caledon
I only drive manual and I always put it in nuetral, I don't like riding the clutch. When I drive an auto car, I also put it in neutral because I don't like to put my foot on the break.
Alex Fretes
Email me for more details on VWs and Audis
Thank me if you found my post helpful!
Deal Guru
User avatar
Mar 1, 2004
12862 posts
1424 upvotes
Pickering
eilrach wrote:
Feb 9th, 2010 10:32 pm
am quite interested on a definitive answer on this topic as well... where i come from, only 10% drive automatic... and i used to drive manual all the time and i leave it in neutral as depressing the clutch the whole time will eventually "burn" the clutch as we'd say (local lingo translated to english)... so yes 100% i will always leave it at neutral when im at a stop light IF im using manual...

however, since i now drive automatic, i am at a quandary myself... on the one hand, i have heard (though not confirmed) that if you are at D in AT while waiting for the stop light, and you get bumped at the behind, your transmission will be toast... (even if you have your foot on the brake pedal)... hence, at this point, i sometimes put it in neutral (when i dont want to depress my brake pedal at a stop light)... at other times, i leave it in D while depressing my brake pedal...

what is the proper way anyways for AT?
As I said before depressing the clutch for extended periods of time can damage the pressure plate (well not damage, but wear it out prematurely making it difficult to shift). If you slip "ride" the clutch, lets say like you could on a hill to hold your position, you will burn the clutch disc.

An automatic transmission is a fluid coupled device, so it is possible to have the engine and wheels turn at a different rate than what the gearing in the transmission was intending. It would be impossible to break anything from a bump from behind unless the transmission was directly coupled to the engine (like with a manual transmission which is coupled through the clutch).

You've seen people tow or pull something heavy with an auto? The revs climb to the point where the car should be travelling fast, but the car is barely moving as it tries to accelerate the object it is attached to. This is possible because the transmission is fluid coupled.

If it was a manual and you were towing something heavy, you have a few choices:

1. Slip the clutch to keep the revs high to get up enough momentum in the
engine to move the heavy object.
2. Don't slip the clutch, bog the engine and have it stall.
3. Rev it to the moon and rapidly release the clutch to jerke the heavy object you are towing into motion (this could cause a lot of damage to something)

So if you are at the stoplight with the vehicle idling (which is enough to move the car if you were in 123 or D/R) and you get hit from behind, since the engine and the transmission are not directly coupled, the transmission will not get hurt.

If you were in the same situation with a manual and the car was in 123456 or R and was not moving very fast and you got hit, it could damage your transmission. Of course it is impossible to be sitting at the light in gear with the clutch not depressed because the engine would stall.

I know people who have broken standard transmissions from going airborne. The car leaves the ground and the revs pick up to the point where if the car was on the ground you'd be going faster than you are currently flying. As soon as the car hits the ground, the difference with the wheel speed to the actual car speed causes a shock to the transmission and now you need a rebuild...
Member
Jun 14, 2009
252 posts
Toronto
there you go... where i used to live they called these guys "clutch riders" :D ...

so in AT land, should i diligently put it into neutral as well? will the brakes get "eaten up" more if i keep it in D? [on the other hand, will my transmission wear down faster if i always shift to N on a red light?]...

strangely enough, i wish there was no automatic and all cars were manual, truth be told :D
× < >

Top