Brake or transmission

prizm
chevrolet

#1

Is it better, going down a hill, with an automatic transmission, to down shift to help the brakes, or just to brake.


#2

It has been asked and answered…brake maintenance is cheaper than the cost of transmission repairs…
however for every question asked there are many points of view…


#3

This really depends on the specific situation. In snowy/icy conditions it is pretty much imperative to downshift as it is the best way to control speed.

Regardless of conditions, if you’re talking about descending something like mountains, it is often best to downshift so that engine braking helps control speed. This would be if the other option is to use the brakes so much that you overheat them. If you’re talking about routine “rolling hills” type of driving then just using the brakes is probably best.

I believe there is an old rule of thumb among truckers which has to do with descending longer/steeper inclines in whatever gear is needed to get the truck up it. You could think that way - but this is only where you need to be able to control the speed of the decent.