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Old Dec 9, 2007, 03:37 AM   #1
YS2003
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Do you put your automatic transmission into neutral at the long traffic light?

Is it recommended to put an auto trans to neutral at the long traffic light stop? Typically, I put step on the break pedal at the stop while the gear is in D. But, I am wondering if it is better to put it into neutral (to reduce the stress on the transmission).
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Old Dec 9, 2007, 03:49 AM   #2
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it not going to put any extra stress on the tranny leaving it in gear. Any extra stress is so minor it not going to matter. The torque converter does not have an issue with it and that would be the only location adding any stress to it. All a torque converter is a pump. It pumps fluid from one side to the other which spins the gears so it not an real issue if does not move. When a auto tranny fails it normally not at the torque converter. it with one of the other many moving parts in it.

Now on a manual the reason at a long stop like you put it in neutral is because keeping the clutch disengage can pivot bearing to take a lot of extra stress.
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Old Dec 9, 2007, 04:00 AM   #3
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You're probably putting more stress on it by going in and out of gear than just leaving it in gear.

When I get lazy, I'll yank the parking brake and take my foot off the break, but I'll still leave it in D.

Funny, I'm too lazy to keep my foot on the brake, and in less than 2 weeks, I'm trading in for a car with a 6 speed manual (my first manual). At least I can still use the parking brake at stoplights


Oh, and on an auto, going to neutral once stopped might not be too bad (probably more stress and wear, but I doubt enough to significantly reduce the life of the tranny), but NEVER, EVER go into neutral while slowing down to a stop, for 2 reasons:
1. You lose the added benefit of engine braking if the car's not in gear
2. If you have to quickly avoid something by accelerating and moving out of the way, you'll hit the gas and won't go anywhere
3. If the light turns green before you come to a complete stop, you'd have to go back into drive while moving. And you should only go into drive when stopped, really, really bad things may happen to your transmission if you shift to drive while moving.

Manuals are different, as you can go from neutral to gear while moving (just make sure to select the right gear for your speed). Hell, you're basically going from neutral to gear every time you shift since the clutch in is basically the same as neutral. But when stopping in a manual, from what I understand, brake while in gear, and just before the engine gets to stall speed, clutch in and shift to neutral. This is the same as reason 2 above, you want to be in gear for as long as possible for emergency maneuvers.

In short, an automatic transmission is meant to be, well, automatic. Put it in D and leave it there until you need to park (or back up). If you want to play with your shifter more than twice each trip, buy a manual
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Old Dec 9, 2007, 04:03 AM   #4
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i have the habit of disengaging clutch when i am braking as once i start moving again i will need to downshift since at slower speed lol
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Old Dec 9, 2007, 04:50 AM   #5
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When I had an auto I did when I remembered. Not to reduce stress on the drivetrain but as a politeness to the person stopped behind me who probably did not want to sit staring at the bright brake lights...
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Old Dec 9, 2007, 05:12 AM   #6
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The auto was designed to sit in gear with no ill effect. Just leave it in Drive.

OTOH, I happen to be quite fond of the Japanese custom of dimming one's headlights at a traffic light at night. So considerate!
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Old Dec 9, 2007, 07:11 AM   #7
YS2003
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Originally Posted by JohnNotBeatle View Post
OTOH, I happen to be quite fond of the Japanese custom of dimming one's headlights at a traffic light at night. So considerate!
I thought that was to save the headlight bulbs (however, turning off and on lights in a short span at the traffic light is not good for its longevity). With your post, now I know that practice was for that reason.
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Old Dec 9, 2007, 12:19 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YS2003 View Post
I thought that was to save the headlight bulbs (however, turning off and on lights in a short span at the traffic light is not good for its longevity). With your post, now I know that practice was for that reason.
Some of the higher-end sedans have that feature automatically. Very cool! When I got back from Japan (after 13 months) I was in the habit of doing that. The cops back here also thought it was a nice gesture, but not a good idea, and would I please stop doing that unless I really wanted a citation.

Between that and walking into any restroom without regard for separate gender, it only took a few weeks (and not a small amount of embarrassment) to reacclimatize to the Western ways...
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Old Dec 10, 2007, 07:40 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by JohnNotBeatle View Post
Some of the higher-end sedans have that feature automatically. Very cool! When I got back from Japan (after 13 months) I was in the habit of doing that. The cops back here also thought it was a nice gesture, but not a good idea, and would I please stop doing that unless I really wanted a citation.
If I turned off the headlights at the stop in USA, I know the copy would issue me a ticket for no head light at night. Old habits die hard; I keep my lights up at the light in Japan (I've been in the states for years).
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Old Dec 10, 2007, 08:09 AM   #10
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You can put it in N, but I think over time it would just add unnecessary wear to the equipment.

I know that if you are towing you should put in N at stoplights to take load of the transmission. I don't know how that works but thats what the manual of my car said. That was a strange manual though- written very Britishly and with a strange vocabulary.

On many cars if you put on the e-brake it turns off the headlights.
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