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Hill Descent Control

Would HDC be an effective solution for a very steep driveway. Homesite is on top of a mountain and the drive is 0.4 mile of hairpins and gravel. Descending in a 2 wheel drive car requires mashing the brake pedal all the way down. Seems that may cause excessive brake wear and may prove dangerous. Several makes offer HDC on 4 wheel drive models that use the ABS system to control descent. I believe they can be set as low as 4-6 mph using the cruise controls. Thinking Land Rover, Honda, Toyota. But would using HDC still generate excessive wear? Would a 4 wheel drive with low range gears be a better alternative to control descent?

I have never heard of HDC (Hill Descent Control)

The ABS system uses the brakes so that would not help.

Using engine braking could cause control problems because the drive wheels would be the only ones slowing the decent. Using the brakes would be the safest and likely end up being the least expensive in the long run.

A 4WD with engine braking would reduce the brake wear, but it would then be adding wear to other parts.

I suggest sticking to the brakes.

I would tend to believe that cruse control would be worthless in this situation. I don’t believe many cruse controls work at speeds that low, they also disengage as soon as you use the brake and they would do nothing more than just let the car idle, which you can do by removing your foot form the aerator.

In the end all you can do is rely on the friction between the tyres and the road. Paving the road and eliminating the gravel and parking at the end of the road in snow and ice conditions is the best you can do. (Of course use winter tyres when/if needed in your area.

HDC,is a great system,but only from a factory installed system.

I have never driven a car with HDC but I don’t imagine it is significantly more effective than having an attentive driver calmly make the descent with ABS and low gear. The amount of brake wear ought to be about the same in each case. There ought not be any brake overheating; you are only traveling 0.4 miles at low speed, not barreling down the slopes of Mt. Washington.

Well, you’ve made the trip yourself. If you truly don’t feel confident in your current car, then by all means look into this HDC feature.

do a search,and youll see the benifits,range rover has the best system as of this time,uses trans,engine torque,ABS,ect. great for true off road

You can’t just downshift in to first gear?

We have “down hill descent” control in our 4 runner. It’s really not made for going down steep drives unless it includes extreme slippery conditions. It usses the abs, and engine braking so you don’t save on brakes. We go down a steep mountain road every day too…have for years with a Subaru, Toyota trucks and RAV 4. Braking at low speed does not wear the brakes significantly, especially if you shift to lowest gear. Maintaining 10 mph down hill is a lot easier on the brakes than maintaining higher speeds going down hill.

As a matter of fact, you can add more wear on the brakes accelerating up hill in very slippery condisions with traction control. Just give yourself a “brake” and gear down and keep your speeds low…<10-15 mph.

The brake wear is inevitable which is slight at low speeds. I would simply suggest shifting your vehicle in lowest gear and using brakes as needed. In the grand scheme of things brakes are very cheap to replace.

I would never set cruise control in the type of driving you propose it is too dangerous.

I grew up in a similar situation and did fine with a Toyota Pickup, AMC Eagle, VW Jetta and variety of Subaru’s. Brake replacement was a bit more often than now but still even if your looking at replacing brakes twice as often its not that much in modern vehicles.

I spend most of my time in a small Mexican village in the mountains. The village is on a steep mountain side. Even in low gear, with considerable engine braking, the brakes are needed constantly.