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1st gear vs. neutral

Regarding a stick shift, I was taught that you are supposed to leave the car in 1st gear with the emergency brake on when parking, however my husband says that you are supposed to leave it in neutral with the emergency brake on. This does not sound right to me. Which is it?

You are, leaving it in first (or reverse) provides an extra protection against rolling, as long as the parking brake is also used.

I always used reverse. 1st and reverse place the highest gear ratio in between the engine and the wheels. That means the wheels would have to turn the engine faster if the car were to roll than would be the case in other gears. That creates more resistance to rolling.

While I agree with the same mountainbike, I generally leave it in first. … No good reason, other than habit. I would say that on reasonably flat surfaces, it makes very little difference.

Leave the vehicle in either first or reverse gear with the parking brake on. Your husband’s procedure does not make good sense.

You’re right. Technically, you should use the lowest gear, which may be first or reverse depending on the car.

In my 40+ years of driving manual transmission cars I still use this method. Park the car, shut off the engine, put it in neutral and take your foot off the brake. If on flat ground and the car does not roll, park it in 1st gear. If you’re on a slope and you can feel the car roll, put it in 1st or second and set the parking brake. No need to stretch the brake cable if it’s not needed. If my car will be parked for a long time (e.g. airport, garage, etc.) I prefer not to use the parking brake. During snowy and icy winter conditions, there is a chance the parking brake cable will freeze up with the parking brakes “set.” Never park a manual transmission car in neutral.

No need to stretch the brake cable if it’s not needed.

How many of you have had a problem with the brake cable stretching on a modern car?

I never have.

In the old days of four wheel drum brakes, the cable used to pull further out as the pasd wore. With today’s setups I’ve never had the brake handle change.

Hey, I know this is not the theme of this posting but I cannot get on any other way. I cannot find anywhere that I can ask my questionm, (start a discussion) . It is this; I have an '09 Grand Caravan SE. The hubcaps have what looks like lugnuts on them. I need to know if those are lugnuts that hold the caps on or are they part of the cap. I don’t want to twist one off if it is part of the cap.
How do I start a discussion of my own?

Quoting @JosephEMeehan Quoting @twotone "No need to stretch the brake cable if it’s not needed.

How many of you have had a problem with the brake cable stretching on a modern car?"

I bought a manual transmission Mustang a while back on which the ball at the end of the parking brake cable had come off. I tried a couple of different set-screw-applied cable ends, but quickly figured out that they were unsafe. They’d probably pop off when I was parked on a hill and forgot to leave it in 1st or reverse. Ford wanted to sell me the cable along with the brake handle for $127. I got just the cable from a salvage yard for $25.

@EllyEllis Look at the upper right corner of THIS screen. See the red rectangle that says ASK A QUESTION in white letters? Bob’s your uncle.

This isn’t going to be popular, but I push it straight up and leave it in 3rd on flat ground. it’s just my paranoia, but I don’t want to have my centering spring held to one side over night every night. This is irrelevant if the car spends most of it’s time cruising in 5th.

In any case, parking brake is always set. One time I left my car at a shop for a lube job, the tech did not set the brake. When I got back in my car and put the clutch down, it almost rolled into another car. I went back in to throw a fit before I left

If the car is on flat ground or facing down hill then I’ll leave it in reverse. If it’s facing up-hill then I’ll leave it in first. NEVER leave it in neutral if on an incline. It may be acceptable if on flat ground…but it’s still better to put it in gear.

Chunkyazian, I think there are TWO centering springs, one on each side, and they have stops so that neither one will push past the 3rd-4th slot. I’ve never had a problem with them wearing or weakening.

Leave it in gear when you park. Your state may require you to set the parking brake, as Maryland does, even if the road is flat. If you park on a hill, turn the wheels full toward the curb just in case the car rolls.

Elly, if they’re on the hubcaps they’re simply a glued-on decoration. If you want absolute confirmation, hold a magnet up to them. If it sticks, than they’re metal and are lug nuts. If it doesn’t, than they’re plastic and are glued on decorations.

Thanks, Mountainbike, I never thot of that.

I also want to thank MG for his help. And what’s that about Bob being my uncle??


How many of you have had a problem with the brake cable stretching on a modern car?
The parking brake cable on my car has definitely stretched over the years. According to my manual, it is supposed to be adjusted so it only takes 7-9 clicks before it engages, but mine will go at least 15 clicks. I know it needs to be adjusted, but I've been putting it off because removing the plastic that covers the handle looks like a real pain in the butt. I'll get to it one of these days. I've been able to put it off this long by adjusting the rear (drum) brakes, but the cable has stretched too much to keep doing that.