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Just like any other day, you set off for work in your car. On the way, you encounter a traffic signal which just turned red. You slow down and stop the car. Now, would you shift the car to neutral or remain in gear?
Many people have this doubt. A majority believes that we should shift to neutral at a stop to avoid transmission and clutch wear. But some even think that shifting to neutral and then back to gear, in a short span of time, reduce the life of the transmission. Here's what you should ideally do at a traffic signal!
If you remain in gear at a traffic signal and uses the clutch to keep the car stationary, you will be causing a lot of strain to the throwout/release bearing of the transmission. Remaining in gear at a stop will also cause an accelerated wear of the clutch disc.
When you depress the clutch pedal in order to change gears, it is the throwout bearing that separates the clutch plate from the flywheel. When the car is in gear, the clutch plate and the flywheel are attached to each other. The rotation of the flywheel is transmitted to the transmission via the clutch.
So, in a short conclusion, we should always shift to neutral and engage the handbrake while at a stop light. But, what about automatic cars?
In automatic cars, it is always recommended to shift the car to Neutral (N) when the car is not moving. You also need to apply the brake pedal. If you keep the car in Drive (D) and use the brakes to keep the car stationary, chances of transmission wear are quite high.
When you are in Drive mode, the car is programmed to go forward. Applying the brakes (for a prolonged duration of time) obstructs this motion. This ultimately causes wear on the transmission and brake components. Also, the driver needs to be extremely cautious while remaining in Drive at a stop. Carelessly releasing the brake pedal will cause the car to move forward suddenly.
It is also advised not to shift to Park at a traffic light. Park is meant to be used only when the car is stopped for long durations, or simply, when the car is parked. If an unlikely situation of a car ramming from behind occurs, the wheels will be locked and the impact will cause severe damage to the transmission components. During a collision, the car needs to move in the direction of the impact to reduce the damage. Locked wheels would produce a reaction force opposite to the impact, causing more harm to the passengers as well as the transmission.
Thoughts On Which Gear To Shift To At Traffic Signals
Most of us have had the doubt of which car to shift to, at a traffic signal. While some still use the clutch and brake to keep the car stationary, it is not at all recommended to do that. Coming to automatics, faulty methods of using the transmission will leave you with a big maintenance bill at some point in time.
Before reading this, what do you used to do at traffic signals? Neutral or gear?