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Engine braking

Question : I HAVE two cars, one an auto transmission and the other a manual.

With the manual, I tend to downshift whenever I want to slow down, from say 80km/h in 4th gear and drop down to 3rd.

This has affected my driving style while I'm with my auto car.

Whenever I want to slow down from the same speed, my right hand tends to push the overdrive off button to force the transmission to downshift.

Will the downshifting ( engine breaking ) affect the wear and tear of the transmission of both my auto and manual ?

Answer : The brakes of the car are designed to slow down the car and unless under difficult conditions such as descending steep hills, one has no need to use engine braking.

Commercial vehicles use a lot of engine braking simply because the engines are so large and can actually help a lot when slowing down.

However, with passenger cars the brakes are more than adequate and if one keeps shifting down to slow down you will find higher clutch wear and even higher piston and ring wear.

In an auto transmission, you will get higher clutch wear and in some models even premature bearing failure due to excessive thrust loads when shifting down.


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