Toyota transmission "brake" position

I have a 2008 Toyota Camry hybrid and my wife has a 2005 Prius. We both have a “brake” selection on our transmissions. I am wondering if it is OK to use this “gear” for decelerating along with the regular brakes on a regular basis or if this is just for rare occasions when coming down a very steep hill. I have been using it to help stop the car on moderate downgrades being sure to never engage it above 40 MPH. This certainly prolongs the life of the brakes but does anyone know if I am harming the transmission doing this?

Thanks for any input.


You just want to use te “B” mode when desending a steep grade. Otherwise, leave it off.


I agree with Tester, as I usually do, but I have to wonder why the OP has not consulted the ultimate authority on this topic, namely the vehicle’s manufacturer, and the manual that was provided by the mfr.

I can guarantee that the Owner’s Manual discusses the proper use of this position on the transmission quadrant, and I urge the OP to read that section of the Owner’s Manual for “official” guidance on this topic. While he is at it, it would be a good idea to read the entire manual, even though starting with this topic should be first on the agenda.

‘‘When ALL ELSE fails…read the directions.’’

On my 06 Ford Escape hybrid you can drive all the time in the ‘L’ selection. Doesn’t effect driving but gives you engine braking when you let up on the accelerator…AND…during that time gives additional battery recharge…you can see it on the charge gauge as you’re decelerating.

‘‘When all eles fails , read the directions.’’

So I did,
just now , on owner’s manuals for the 08 camry hybrid.
I selected every page that might be pertinent to the ‘B’ transmission setting and it sound to be the exact same as my Escape.
You can drive all the time and all speeds in that setting if you wish. Depends on how you want your car to act when you let off the accelerator. Do you want to freely coast then use brakes ? Do you want to control most of your speed changes with just the accelerator pedal ?

My wife and I drive in our ‘L’ setting constantly. I’ts so much easier to adjust to traffic with only the accelerator pedal instead of switching constantly brake/accel/brake/accel.
It irks me that my big Expedition just coasts freely when I let off the gas. I have to switch off the overdrive or brake.

Strong regeneration (‘B’ or ‘L’ mode) transforms the throttle into a true speed control.
It’s a convenient and efficient way to drive in stop-and-go-traffic.
My eGo Scooter has it.