Sudden Acceleration Options

My wife and I are having a discussion. She believes it’s a good idea to shift into neutral in the event her Avalon accelerates suddenly. I agree in principle, but she has chosen to practice the maneuver repeatedly while driving at highway speeds (in areas with little traffic). She lets the car coast a bit and then goes back into drive. I don’t think this is a good thing for the health of the transmission. Am I concerned for nothing?

Shifting to neutral, the first and foremost action to be taken.
Whether the floor mat, c.d. case, baby bottle, phone, or your big fat foot ( wet shoe soles on rubber brake pedal )

You maintain steering ability, power brakes and steering, and sanity as you pull to the shoulder.

In my vehicles the engine does not go all the way down to idle rpm when placed in nuetral at hiway speed, it only drops about 1 or 200 from running rpm so returning to drive presents no functional issues there.

Notice yours to see. If it bumps or clunks when re-engaging that’s bad, but she can use the pedal to return rpms to near cruising.

Practice IS a good idea, but compulsive behavior is not. I’d be more concerned that your dear wife is over doing the routine. She may put it into neutral at an inappropriate time inadvertently. It isn’t doing the transmission any good that’s for sure…

Hmmm…Does the OP’s wife drive around with the emergency brake ON, just in case she encounters an emergency situation?

As has already been said, it is good to know what to do, and practicing this action once or perhaps twice is a good idea, but doing it on a continuing basis is not going to help the transmission’s life span.

Tell her that she has achieved perfection and that no more practice is necessary.

I think it is a good idea to “test” putting the car in nuetral. In case of a real emergency she will have confidence in how to do it. Once “tested” and confident it isn’t necessary to practice the skill very often.

When she shifts to neutral while the car is moving, say 50 mph, she should note the number on the tachometer at 50 mph. Then when she is ready to put the transmission back in drive she should use the accelerator to bring the motor speed back up near the number on the tachometer to the same number as 50 mph before going to neutral. This will allow the transmission to go back into drive without much of a “shock” to the drive train.

A couple of practice runs might be good, but repeated actions could cause damage.

BTW I understand the likely hood is about 1 in 30,000. Don’t over worry about this one, you are far more likely to be hit by someone talking on a cell phone.

I have to slightly disagree with others. Assuming your is a late model Avalon, the transmission shifting is computer controlled by a Transmission Control module and the computer will not allow harm to the powertrain other than a bit more wear on the shift linkage.

But that does not make this behavior a good idea. Someday when she’s rolling with the car in neutral she may be surprised by an unexpected event and want to accelerate…and be unable to.

I agree with the others that it sounds like she’s mastered the maneuver and need not continue practicing.

Or someone precoccupied with practicing putting their car in neutral…

This behavior most likely will not hurt the transmission, but for the driver, passengers, and other motorists, it could be detrimental. Fiddling unnecessarily with the vehicle controls is a distraction, and removing power from the drivetrain can quickly become dangerous in the event you suddenly need to accelerate to avoid a collision. This is why it is illegal to coast in most, if not all, states. My advice is to stop ‘practicing’ for safety reasons.

Or she could just sell the car and get something known to not speed out of control, like anything besides Toyota. :stuck_out_tongue: