Disagree with advice on parking on a hill

The post on the home page concerning how to drive a manual transmission vehicle contains, IMHO, some incorrect advice.

It suggests that when parking up hill you should cut your steering wheel all the way to the left. Presumably, this would cause the front end of the car to hit the curb preventing you from rolling down hill.

However, when facing up hill, I think the correct way would be to turn the steering wheel over to the right instead. Why? That way, the rear end of the vehicle, with all its weight, would peg the car against the curb, making it much less likely to slide down the hill.

I could see a car continuing to move down the hill using the way suggested, particularly on a steep hill. The weight of the car itself could pull the front end off the curb and send it down the hill on a diagonal from its contact point. This would be much more difficult with the way I suggest as the entire weight of the car would be on a vector pointing toward the curb.

Just my two cents! Thanks

Unfortunately, most driving manuals that I have seen, and most police officers whom I know, disagree with you.

Either should work.  Remember that the front end of most cars has most of the weight, there for better holding power.

The trouble with doing it the your way is, for one, even if the car doesn’t roll away, the front of the car will still swing out into the road, which could be just as bad.

The other thing is that if the wheel is turned to the left and the brake gives way, the wheels will only move a few inches before hitting the curb. If you’ve got them to the right, the back wheels will pivot and the front of car will be able to swing out several feet. This means there will be more momentum behind the car when it hits the curb and so it’s more likely to either jump the curb or bounce back and roll down the hill.

But don’t take my word for it-- find yourself a sparsely populated hill with a curb and give it a try.

When you cut your wheels away from the curb, you can “curb” your wheels before you set the parking brake and verify the curb is sufficient to hold the car, guaranteeing a fully-redundant system to prevent a rollaway.

If you cut towards the curb, who knows if the curb is steep enough to prevent a rollaway in the event of parking brake failure? Also, one would pick up momentum before the rear wheels ever make contact with the curb.

I agree, Jack. I live in a small mountain village, so this is an everyday issue for me. You have said it very well. Thanks. With the parking brake on, and the car in gear or Park, it probably shouldn’t run away anyway, the wheel against the curb is like putting a large rock behind the wheel, which a lot of people here do as well if their brakes are older.

Your way runs risk of back-end pivot made all the more likely because of the potential momentum in that front weight. Parking brakes, even today, are too often not doing their job.

The idea is pretty straight forward. You want to block (or trig) a wheel (any wheel) at the tread (or as close as possible) and turning a front wheel away from the curb does that effectively and immediately w/o rolling. Otherwise, the rear wheel is jammed at the sidewall (weaker)…not good for the tire and not as effective as has been pointed out if car has to roll outward to achieve desired results. I would check the rear sidewalls of anyone who did this regularly, for damage.

Well, Chris, I believe you are all wrong. You mentioned the weight of the rear of the car, but the front is the heaviest end of the car. And as others have said, turning the front wheels to the left and putting the front tire against the curb should prevent the car from moving. (if you set the brake and put it in low gear or park) I assume you park on the right side of the street.

The secondary thing is to avoid body or exhaust system damage. The body of a low car may be damaged if the right procedure isn’t followed. The rear tire doesn’t protrude out of the wheel well like the front one will if it is turned enough.

This procedure was invented when most cars were huge and it was easy to get out when you were close to the curb. You could also turn the wheel when the car was stationary without hurting the huge steering box.

On the plus side; some parking brakes really help. None of them used to work very well when parked uphill.

If you turn the wheels to the right, the FRONT wheels will hit the curb, and then only if you’re really close to the curb.

Not only that, but because of the angle at which they’ll hit, you’ve got a really good chance of scraping your wheels on the curb, and a greater chance of the wheel just scraping past entirely.

You turn your wheels to the right if you’re parking DOWN hill. You always point them at the curb.

I agree with you, Chris. By turniing the wheel hard to the right, not only do you peg the rear wheel to the curb, but if for some strange reason it jumps the curb and rolls the vehicle will head away from the road rather than into it.

Unfortunately, only a turned wheel can be “pegged” to a curb at the tread. Blocking wheels by jamming the block into the tread is the only safe recognized way of restraining equipment for safety. That’s what I use to restrain a dump truck when making deliveries on an incline with 12 yards of mulch in my summer part time job. The rear wheel cannot be turned and presents a much better opportunity to jump the curb at an angle.

My boss (and good friend) would shoot me if I left one of his loaded trucks Chris’s way on an incline to get a doughnut. I don’t know that his insurance would pay for the damage if anything went wrong. It’s a no-no amount truckers that I know. Maybe cars are different ? :wink:

Yeah, cars are different, they rarely haul 12 yards of anything!! And I don’t think we are talking about San Francisco!!

Hills even slight are the norm,not the exception most everywhere. And it doesn’t take much. But then I live on the side of a mountain so I see things differently.

You’re overlooking the most important factor here, which has nothing to do with the weight. If the car moves, you want the tires to hit the curb at a sharp angle (ideally perpendicular to the curb, but that’s not realistic, of course). At a sharp angle, it’s hard for the car to climb the curb. At a shallow angle, a car can climb a curb easily (as you’ll see if you watch enough poor parallel-parkers). If you have a beater car, you can try this yourself.

With the recommended approach, the front tires will hit the curb at a sharp angle. With your approach, the rear tires will hit the curb at a shallow angle and likely climb the curb and keep moving.

Okay, change my wording to “up against the curb at an acute angle”.

I had to share the truck driving in the Air Force, and they would have had my head for not chocking the wheels. I also would not dream of going unchocked if parking a truck or putting a car on stands and crawling under it. But for regular daily in-town parallel parking I think it can be dispensed with as long as the front wheels are turned, the tranny is in “P” (or “R” for manuals) and the parking brake is set. Opinions may vary. The exception would be unusual hills like SF as Elly pointed out.

I’ve been harping on that point for three posts. Maybe between the two of us we can get an agreement, some how, some where, some time… :slight_smile:

Well, daqosa. I agre with you and lionScar