Shifting to neutral while stopping

I am a stick-shifter for over 60 years even when driving my wife’s automatic Camry. For example when coming to stop signs or red lights I shift into neutral until/while stopped. My question is: does shifting an automatic into neutral while moving cause transmission problem?
Thanks, “Shifty”

It can but it is really an unsafe habit . If for some reason you have to move in a hurry you might not be able to . And shifting an auto just to be shifting is kind of silly.


Why would you take a chance on extra wear when there’s no good reason to do this? If you notice someone on a cell phone coming up behind you too fast (which happened to me), you’ll wish you stayed in Drive.

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The mechanical consequences of this pattern are zero. The transmission doesn’t care. Whether it’s unsafe or not is your call, after all the accepted wisdom is exactly what you are doing if you have stick shift car. If it’s driving your wife crazy and she’s letting you know, you are a fool to ignore her and you will pay a high price if you decide you are correct anyway.

With a manual there is less wear on the throw-out bearing and clutch system. No significant wear difference for an automatic.

The mechanical consequences are likely close to zero, but if you keep the car long enough, the extra wear and tear from repeated jolts of shifting into gear will take a toll on parts between the engine and the wheels, such as CV joints.

Most people who add unnecessary wear and tear to their vehicles like this won’t keep them long enough to experience the consequences, but some will without realizing they made a repair of the drivetrain necessary sooner than it would have been otherwise.

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I do the same thing when driving my truck and it doesn’t adversely affect the transmission. An argument could be made however that being in neutral at a stop light is less safe b/c if you see a car careening out of control in your direction you can’t step on the gas to get out of the way as quickly. On the other hand you could argue it is safer, b/c if your foot accidently slips off the brake pedal, being in neutral the car won’t move ahead and run over the pedestrian in the crosswalk ahead of you. Six of one, half dozen of the other. Doesn’t matter, so do however you prefer.