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Hi all,

I've been driving stick shifts all my life before moving to automatics a few years ago. With the Pilot I have this habit of putting it in neutral if I'm stuck on a long red light (more than a minute still). With stick shifts, you either put it in neutral or keep pressing the clutch to prevent a stall.
I don't know if this habit of mine is causing any damage to the transmission with the frequent shifts to neutral and drive.
 

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I think that Tom and Ray answered this question quite well a few years back much to a husbands consternation.

30 years later and nothing has changed.
 

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I think that Tom and Ray answered this question quite well a few years back much to a husbands consternation.

30 years later and nothing has changed.
According to the Magliozzi brothers, it all depends upon whether or not you're going for a slice of pizza.
 

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According to the Magliozzi brothers, it all depends upon whether or not you're going for a slice of pizza.
What is the purpose of the Neutral? When do you ever use it? Is it if you come up to a long slope where you may put the car in neutral and simply roll down the slope and save some gas? Or is it only used for towing?
 

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I've never put an automatic in neutral at a stop light... I'll use Park if I'm stuck in traffic for an extended period of time but that's for convenience, not to emulate my manual driving days.
 
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I don't know if this habit of mine is causing any damage to the transmission with the frequent shifts to neutral and drive.
In the short-term this frequent shift to N with AT probably causes no harm but it could contribute to some unusual wear+tear with little to no benefit. Every situation will be different but I wouldn't hesitate to use PARK or shut down during long idling traffic jams. Transmission repair AT or MT is expensive and proper use is the better long-term recommendation for new drivers.
 

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According to the Magliozzi brothers, it all depends upon whether or not you're going for a slice of pizza.
Yes, but they also mention that this act, when going for a slice of pizza, is called Parking. Something that is a good thing to do if you're leaving the vehicle.
 

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What is the purpose of the Neutral? When do you ever use it? Is it if you come up to a long slope where you may put the car in neutral and simply roll down the slope and save some gas? Or is it only used for towing?
Car washes or moving the car onto a flatbed for towing.

For all the complaining around here about having to hit the auto shut off button, I'm surprised anyone would want to put the vehicle in neutral at stoplights for no benefit.
 

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What is the purpose of the Neutral? When do you ever use it? Is it if you come up to a long slope where you may put the car in neutral and simply roll down the slope and save some gas? Or is it only used for towing?
Some uses for neutral:
  • When towing the vehicle with the drive wheels on the ground
  • When the vehicle is traveling through an automated car wash
  • If the accelerator sticks and you're unable to shut off the engine and you need to disengage the transmission from the engine
Is it if you come up to a long slope where you may put the car in neutral and simply roll down the slope and save some gas?
Coasting in neutral is illegal in some states.

Coasting in neutral can actually use more gas because gas is required to keep the engine idling while the transmission is in neutral. When coasting in gear, the DFCO (Deceleration Fuel Cut-Off) stops the injectors from firing.
 

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Idling in neutral/park when stopped can help a little regarding TFT. Manual tranny, holding the clutch pedal pushed in is a slow death for the throwout bearing.
 

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Coasting in neutral can actually use more gas because gas is required to keep the engine idling while the transmission is in neutral. When coasting in gear, the DFCO (Deceleration Fuel Cut-Off) stops the injectors from firing.
But won't the engine turn off if there's no gas?
 

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I’ve never given it a moment’s thought. Despite coming over from the land of stick shifts myself.

Automatic boxes wear so slowly in comparison to a clutch. My Mum would wear out a clutch every 20,000 miles and my Dad every 60,000, my first gen Pilot went over 250k miles with just fluid changes. My old off road truck has 180k over 25 years. Just normal fluid and filters
 

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Does it put a lot of stress on the tranny if you put it in park while it's on an incline? Sometimes when other people drive the Pilot, they put it in park and take their foot off the brake immediately after pushing the button for park. It just hurts to see the car roll back a little bit lol.
 

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Does it put a lot of stress on the tranny if you put it in park while it's on an incline? Sometimes when other people drive the Pilot, they put it in park and take their foot off the brake immediately after pushing the button for park. It just hurts to see the car roll back a little bit lol.
It puts stress on the parking pawl, which is essentially a small piece of metal that keeps your car from rolling away when it's in park (if you don't use the parking brake). That said, there's no epidemic of cars just rolling away from broken parking pawls, so they're pretty effective at doing their intended job.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks everyone. I'll try to break the habit of putting it in neutral. Even when driving stick I would put it in neutral but never used the clutch pedal to idle (frustrates me that some people do this). That is just rough on the transmission. I've never had any clutch issues with my manual cars thankfully.
 

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Car washes or moving the car onto a flatbed for towing. ✅
Some uses for neutral:
  • When towing the vehicle with the drive wheels on the ground ❌ (Use a flatbed only for AWD, if at all possible.)
  • When the vehicle is traveling through an automated car wash ✅
  • If the accelerator sticks and you're unable to shut off the engine and you need to disengage the transmission from the engine (fortunately, this rarely occurs)
Coasting in neutral is illegal in some states. ✅

Coasting in neutral can actually use more gas because gas is required to keep the engine idling while the transmission is in neutral. When coasting in gear, the DFCO (Deceleration Fuel Cut-Off) stops the injectors from firing. ✅
It puts stress on the parking pawl, which is essentially a small piece of metal that keeps your car from rolling away when it's in park (if you don't use the parking brake). That said, there's no epidemic of cars just rolling away from broken parking pawls, so they're pretty effective at doing their intended job. ✅ (That said, by law here you must also turn your front wheels in toward the curb when parking in a slope.)
(Notes inline above)
 
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