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Shifting from drive to neutral

I drive an automatic and I frequently shift to neutral during down or cruise to a stop light. Does this affect the gear assembly, brakes, etc. Thanks.

No gain
No problems to brakes or gearing
Just of lot of useless action on your part. No need to do any of that, you gain nothing for all your excess efforts.
Just drive.

For example, I experimented with my 08 Expedition, if I shift to neutral at 45 mph ( or 75 down 9mile hill in Albuquerque ) the rpm does NOT drop to idle rpm, it stays right about where it was at speed so I gain absolutely zero by doing so…so I don’t.

Each time you shift into and out of drive, the entire drivetrain takes a jolt. Keep it up, and some part of your drivetrain will wear out prematurely.

More importantly, you gain nothing by shifting into neutral. If you enjoy it so much, trade your car in for one with a manual transmission.

Why Do You Do It ?

According to a Popular Mechanics article:
Bottom line: Don’t coast in neutral. It’s dangerous and won’t save fuel. Turning off the key at traffic lights might.”

"Read more: Coasting in Neutral or Gear to Save Gas - Coasting and Fuel Economy - Popular Mechanics"


If your car is relatively new, you’re actually using MORE gas in neurtal. Most newer cars cut power to the fuel injectors when you take your foot off the gas pedal IN GEAR. This means you are burning ZERO gas as you coast in gear.

When you shift to neutral the injectors have to supply enough gas to maintain idle speed.

There is absolutely no benefit to shifting into neutral, and you may be costing yourself money. Care to reconsider?

My vote is for bad habit and totally pointless.

I’m what “during down or cruise to a stoplight” means, but on the assumption that it means decelerating, than shifting to neutral has no benefit and does no damage. The difference in fuel usage would be difficult to determine, but would be so small as to be inconsequential even over the life of the car. There would be a small amount of additional wear to the shift linkage, but, again, that would be small.

During deceleration at the speeds you’d be doing in preparation to stop, your engine and tranny would not be solidly attached. It would be attached only by the fluid in the torque converter, and that’s designed to take up differences in the speed of the engine and the tranny input shaft. It converts and differences into heat energy and dissipatess it via the tranny cooler.

In short, what you’re doing is neither helpful or ham

NOTE: if you’re shifting to neutral to cruise rather than when decelerating to stop, I recommned against it. In an emergency you may want to accelerate suddenly and you lose that option.

All great points. The only advantage I have been able to find, is that my SUV will shift in and out of awd mode from 2wd quicker, if I momentarily shift it into neutral. Otherwise, put my on the list of all those who feel it’s useless and with gate shifters with reverse on the other side of neutral, potentially a problem if I over shift into reverse and my “fail safe” fails to compensate for me being an idiot. Which for me and getting older, is a more frequent occurrence.

To also pick up on “same’s” points, on some 4wd vehicles, there is so much torgue generated in low range that shifting into neutral with an auto makes it easier to stop at speeds below 10 mph. It’s really a stretch for me to acknowledge any advantages as you can see.

No benefits. Risk is you may go past N and get to R which would engage reverse and damage could result.

I will pile on by saying that it is also illegal to coast in neutral.

I want to reiterate what Whitey stated.
Every time that you shift to neutral and then shift back into Drive, the friction surfaces in the transmission and other drivetrain parts get additional wear and tear.

Even if the OP’s practice saved gas (which it doesn’t), the cost of prematurely overhauling the transmission would far exceed any possible gas cost savings.

AND, here’s the main problem I’ve seen people do ;
This all happens in a matter of just a second or two so stay with me here then condense it.

While coasting in neutral, the need to accelerate comes up. The light changes, a lane opens up , etc.
At this point the driver steps on the gas, vrooooooom !!! oops, it’s still in neutral !!
Now they throw it in drive to get going but havent waited for the rpm to drop ( cuz now they’re sand-bagging the lane ).

BAM< into drive !

NOW they have a problem.

Ken, the problem you described is the one I worry about.

they call it an automatic for a reason, no need for driver input once it gets going forward.