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2018 Toyota Camry doesn’t slow down when I downshift

why is it when I downshift, my car does not slow down or offer any resistance
to the speed i’m going? it doesn’t
do much of anything.

Is it an automatic? If so, it is built to do exactly as you decribe. If you want to slow, use the brakes. Brakes are cheaper than engine bearings.

For fuel economy, your carhas a lot of gears, shifting down one gear in a transmission that is also geared much higher than your old 3 speed was just doesn’t increase engine rpm much. You can use engine braking to go down hills, in fact in real mountains I consider it a necessity, it is just that you will have to go down 3,4, or 5 gears to do it.

I assume you have the 8-speed automatic? Just as @oldtimer_11 said, you need to downshift several gears most likely.

I always heard brakes are cheaper than transmissions, but I am pretty old.

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Brakes are cheaper than transmissions but on cars that are striving for fuel economy, they are not designed for maximum performance. If you overuse them in real mountains and get the fluid boiling, youwill have no brakes. If you are lucky enough to have a gravel escape road to usel you will need no further encouragement to start using your transmission to descend long hills.

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In the rare cases that oldtimer_11 refers to, you should be in a lower gear BEFORE descending, not after gaining excessive speed. But roads of that nature, for a car, are very rare. Lived in the Rockies for eight years, cars with drum brakes. Only on one mountain did I used low gear, a single lane, gravel road, with two way traffic. It went to a radar station on a mountain peak near Salt Lake City.

Some vehicles have much better brakes than others. I was driving a Plymouth Voyager with the same skimpy disc up front and tiny rear drums as the Reliant they used the mechanicals from to make the van. Fortunately it had the old 3 speed torqueflight rather than the more troublesome 4 seped.

from toyota website
Whatever the S* number is (S1, S2, S3, S4, etc), that’s the upper limit of the gear shifts that the transmission will normally allow. For example, in S5 you can floor the throttle from a start and it’ll go through gears 1 to 5 but it won’t go any higher than 5 unless there is a danger of over-revving.
When you come to a stop, the transmission will shift back down from 5 to 1 by itself even though it still says S5.
If you’re cruising along and you want to pass somebody and you need a lower gear, say 3rd gear, then using the paddle to downshift is really just limiting the upper limit of the gear shifts down from 5 to 3. The transmission will still downshift from 5 to 3 (unless your speed is too high for 3rd), but only because you’re limiting the upper range and not actually selecting 3rd gear.

In all situations, the transmission is programmed to disallow harmful downshifts (ie. going 80 and downshifting to 3rd). Upshifting to 8th gear does no harm (ie. won’t lug the engine) because it’s not actually in 8th gear, but simply limited the upper range to 8th. If the transmission fluid temperature is too hot, it’ll start selecting higher upper limits when you hit the paddles. Basically, the transmission is securely locked down to keep the driver from intentionally or unintentionally hurting the car.