Brakes vs. transmission

there is a long hill going from my house into the village. the car is an automatic. i put the transmission into second gear to slow the car down. my son questioned wether it is better in the life of the transmission to use the brakes. brakes being cheaper to replace than transmissions. what are your thoughts? thanks, carol

It’s better for your life to down shift. That way, there’s no danger of the brakes overheating and not working when you get to the bottom. If you aren’t worried about the wear on the transmission going up the hill, why would you think it would be worse going down the hill?

On long hills, downshifting is the right thing to do. Yes, brakes are cheaper than transmissions, which is why you don’t want to downshift every time you slow down, but what you are doing prevents the brakes from overheating.

Putting the transmission in second gear doesn’t wear anything out. It doesn’t have any effect on transmission life.

thanks for your reply. i will continue to shift into second.

thanks for the info.

Odds are your owners manual will have a warning in it that reads something like the following:

From the owners manual for my 02 Sonata:

“Dont ride the brakes. This can cause them to overheat & malfunction. Instead when you are going down a long hill, slow down & shift to a lower gear. When you do this engine braking will help to slow the car”

The same advice is in the owners manual for my 87 Ranger.

Theres a long downhill stretch near my house & it never ceases to amaze me how many of the cars in front of me will ride their brakes all the way to the bottom of the hill.

I’d hate to have the bill for replacing the brakes on these folks cars.

BTW the way congrats on knowing how to drive your car properly.