CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Gas savings

I have been rolling down the Ct. hills in neutral, thinking I save gas by doing so. My son in law thinks this habit may do damage to my cars transmission. Should I stop doing this?? I really enjoy the feeling that I may be beating the oil companys out of some of my money!Also a challenge to see how far I can roll before using the gas pedal!

Is your car ten years old or newer? If so, then you are costing yourself gas, not saving it. Going down a hill, in gear, the computer shuts off all fuel to the engine, and the engine is turned by the car moving. If you put it in neutral, then the computer has to keep gas going to the engine so that it can idle and drive the power steering and so on.

You are unlikely to save any gas this way, and in fact, on a modern vehicle, you may actually use MORE gas this way. If you want an explanation, please let us know.

Each time that you re-engage the transmission after coasting, you are causing the clutches to slam into each other, thus leading to excess wear and tear on your transmission. Since some Pilot models (you did not tell us the model year of your Pilot) are more subject to transmission problems than many other vehicles, this extra wear and tear is definitely not a good idea.

If you need to accelerate in order to get away from a dangerous situation, there will be a delay while you engage the transmission, thus increasing the possible level of danger.

In many states, it is illegal to coast in neutral.

Is this really worth it? I think not.

You are saving no gas, may be using some extra, are reducing your control of the car, and are putting a little extra wear on your transmission.

I am willing to bet your Honda Pilot shuts off fuel when you coast in gear. By taking it out of gear, the engine must use fuel to keep running.

Is this an automatic transmission or a manual transmission? A manual transmission can handle being taken out of gear and put back into gear easier than an automatic transmission. With an automatic, each time you put it in gear, all of the drivetrain components from the engine to the wheels take a jolt. They are built to withstand these jolts in normal use, but what you are doing is not normal use. You will hasten failure of these parts over the long run.

Hi Folks, Thanks for the info on coasting down hills in my Honda pilot. My Pilot is a 2009, automatic. Sounds like ill have to come up with another way to save money. Back to the drawing board.

Agree with others; the increased transmission wear and additional brake wear will cost you dearly in the long run, and you will not save any gas in the process. Besides, unless you are an expert driver, this practice is too distracting for most, causing potential accidents.

Hope these are sufficient reasons to stop playing with your geat shift.

Your son-in-law is right!