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2018 Chevrolet Equinox - best way to descend hills?

I live in a very hilly area. When descending, is it better to apply the brakes evenly the entire descent or pump them hard every couple hundred feet? Which provides less brake pad and rotor wear?

No, it is best to shift 1 or 2 gears lower prior to the decent.

Pumping is best if the hill is steep enough down shifting the transmision is a good idea as Purebred said

and run the AC , the extra drag acts like the engine brake on a truck

The braking style does not matter. The energy dissipated as heat is exactly the same if you drag lightly or pump the brakes.

@Purebred has the right answer, shift down a gear or 2

Just because I like to be contrary, my vote is to use the brakes, any way you like. Several reasons:

  1. That’s what they are for.
  2. Brakes are designed so that the wear surfaces are easily replaced, because they are going to wear out.
  3. Engines and transmissions are much more complex, and harder to repair. They are not designed as disposable, wear out devices.
  4. The use of down shifting as a braking system is something that was needed when brakes were not as reliable as they are now. They used to overheat and fade easily, leaving you rocketing along with no control. We finally have access to brakes that actually work, so use them.
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I seriously doubt if the amount of braking force the AC compressor puts out can even be measured .


Yet driving in Appalachian Mountains my GF chose to use brakes only on her Subaru, brakes were pulsing and you could smell them when we stopped.
Previous day driving same route in my truck, with 6 speed automatic, I lock out 5&6, only had to touch the brakes.

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It is noticeable…I often descend a nasty hill near my house and when I had a stick shift and would go down there in 2nd gear (around 2,000 RPM), the A/C did put a bit more drag on things…Not enough that I’d use it for that purpose, though.

On short hills it doesn’t matter much but on long hills or actual mountains, if you don;t use the transmission, you may warp the rotors, but worst you may boil the brake fluid at which time you will have NO BRAKES. I will bet you will downshift then!


measurable or not, i find engaging the AC keeps my car at a steady speed going down long hills, without using the brakes; not speeding up is all I’m trying to do, and it works for me