My family recently purchased a car with an automatic after years of driving a standard. Because we live in a mountainous region, I have been using the automatic like a standard when going down hills, using the engine to brake rather than pumping the brakes all the time. Now the question: my father-in-law says brakes are cheaper to repair than a transmission and I should find out if my use for the gears this way is okay. Is it? – Pieter in Ucluelet, B.C.
I agree with your father-in-law. Let the brakes do the job they were designed for.
Wear might not be the issue here, but rather heat and its effect on transmission fluid.
Leave the transmission in drive and your hands on the wheel.
And pleased don’t use the term “pumping the brakes” – it makes me cringe. Apply the brakes smoothly to control the weight transfer of the vehicle until you have achieved the desired rate of speed, then release and let them cool.
Pumping the brakes causes issues unrelated to braking as it shifts weight onto and off the suspension and thus tires, creating uneven grip and potential handling issues. It also prevents a critical period of cooling as air passes over the rotors and pads.
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