I just came across this excellent video that helps explain how automatic transmissions work and a few things that you should NOT do to avoid causing damage do your transmission. I, for one, am guilty of always placing my vehicle in Neutral when I’m stopped at a drive-thru or a red light. Based on this video you should not do that!
What NOT to do to your Automatic Transmission
Here is his list of things Jason Fenske explained you should never do:
- Never coast downhill in neutral: Modern automatic transmissions cut fuel to the engine on their own, so putting your car in neutral won’t save you any gas. Also, it takes some control away from you and it’s illegal in 15 states (full list at the link below).
- Never switch directions without stopping: Make sure you come to a complete stop before going from drive to reverse or vice versa. Otherwise you’re using your transmission to stop the vehicle instead of letting your brakes do their job.
- Never “launch” your vehicle: Don’t rev your car’s engine in neutral and drop into drive to launch yourself forward. It’s fast way to wear out the bands in your transmission (they’re expensive to replace).
- Never put your car in neutral at a stop light: It won’t save you any fuel (fractions of a gallon if any), and it can wear on the transmission.
- Never shift into park until you’ve come to a complete stop: Some cars won’t even let you do this, but you should never do it anyway. You can damage or break the locking pin that’s used to keep your transmission from running.
Washington State RCW
We looked it up and sure enough, it is illegal in the State of Washington to coast downhill in Neutral. Here is was the RCW says,