1997 Ford Crown Victoria - brake questions

Please do not put your answer in the paper. I do not always get it.

I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. I would like to know which is better for the stress on the brake lines stopped on a hill - up or down? Is it better to just use your brakes with the car in gear? Or would it be better to put the car in neutral and step on the brakes?

Thank you.


Doesn’t matter

In gear


By the way, Ray’s not here, this is a forum and we don’t send answers to the news paper.

Thank you for your answer. I mentioned the paper because on Thursdays

the paper puts some question and answer in it.

Your answer surprises me because it seems I am putting more pressure on

the brake lines and the rest of the brake system when I am stopped on a

hill with the car in gear rather than putting it in neutral and stepping on the brake.


The engine puts very little stress on the car when in gear at idle when stopped. Don’t worry about it, you have better control if you keep the car in gear while driving.

Thank you again. Since the car has over 307,000 miles I worry about

parts starting to give out. So I have been worrying about something in

the brake system giving out when I am pushing hard on the brake on

these steep San Francisco hills.


Best thing to do is have a good independent mechanic give your brake system a thorough inspection.

… including flushing of the brake hydraulic system. If the OP hasn’t been in the habit of having this done every 3 or 4 years, he needs to have this done immediately if he wants to try to preserve the functioning of the hydraulic system.

When stopped facing uphill, keep the car in D, the engine will help a little keep the car from rolling backward. When facing downhill, N seems like it would be better than D on the brakes. But if you need to take emergency evasive action and the transmission is in N, that will add a delay to get it back into D, so N could be unsafe. I drive a manual transmission car in San Francisco from time to time and never have much trouble with stopping on the hills. I’m happy to have the parking brake handle by the side of the seat available though. With the old-style parking brake foot pedal, stopping at a red light going uphill would be more difficult. When parallel parking on steep hills in SF I try to park facing uphill. For some reason getting positioned into the parking place is easier, and the parking brake seems to hold a little more sturdy that way. Or just park somewhere that’s flat and take the bus.

Re: Car Talk newspaper column. You can read it here, just click “Blogs” on this page, upper left. There’s a well-stocked archive of Dear Car Talk blogs. The most recent is titled “What to do when your rear end is gone” … lol …


Thank you. My concern is not about the safety on a

San Francisco hill… My concern is that my car has 307,000+

miles. So I am concerned about putting unnecessary stress

on the brake lines and the rest of the brake system. Seems

I have to use a lot of pressure to keep from going down one

of the steep hills with the car in drive. With it in neutral

there seems to be less pressure necessary which to me

would seem it wold be easier on the brake lines, etc…



Thank you. The car works fine. Since it has over 307,000

miles I thought there might be a way to reduce the pressure

on the brake lines and the brake system but putting the car

in neutral and using the brakes. Seems to require a lot

less pressure on the peddle when doing it that way instead

of leaving it in drive and using the brake peddle.



Thank you. I am not concerned abut the brakes. The car

has 307,000+ miles. Just trying to learn which is easier on the

entire breaking system - car in drive and use the brakes or the

car in neutral and use the brakes. The can in neutral seems

to require less pressure, so I thought it would be less pressure

on the brake system.


If your brakes are in good shape, you have absolutely nothing to worry about as far as keeping your car in drive, it makes almost no difference.

How do you know the brakes are in great shape?

Bill , are you a new driver and have you not seen other people just drive without worrying about this brake thing.


No, I am not a new driver. My concern as I thought I explained is that

while stopped on a steep hill in San Francisco - up or down does not matter - I

have to use the brakes to keep from going up or down. I have found that if I

put the car in neutral I do not have to step on the brake as hard. That makes

me believe that the pressure on all of the brake system - lines, pistons, etc. -

will be different using the brakes with the car in compared to using the

brakes with the car in neutral. The car has 307,000+ miles so some part

are old.


The brake load involved in keeping a car stopped while in drive is a tiny fraction of the brake load involved in stopping that car. So, one more time, nothing to worry about.

Thats a bad habit! How can you avoid an accident if your car is in Neutral? Use your brake pedal instead and put your gear shift in Drive.If you are worried about a brake line bursting during a panic stop,have them inspected by an independant mechanic ASAP.