When you need to slow down your car and you don’t want to put wear and tear on your car there is a common misconception that engine braking is bad for your car. In reality, engine braking is fine and won’t cause you any additional wear and tear on the vehicle at all. If you’re a fan of downshifting to slow the car down, that will cause undue wear on your clutch and throw your car out of balance in the process whereas engine braking is able to slow your car without causing you any problems.
What is Engine Braking?
Engine braking is the simplest form of slowing your car that you can have and it will cause no harm to any aspect of your vehicle. All you’re doing to make the engine braking start is taking your foot off the accelerator. Once you do this the throttle valve closes which creates a vacuum with the engine. The engine continues to try and pull in air but is unable to, which causes the engine to slow down and slow down the wheels without having to use the actual brakes of the vehicle.
What Are some of the Benefits of Engine Braking?
The most obvious benefit is that you’re not going to be using the brakes at all which saves your brake pads. This type of braking also makes the cooling system of the engine, which has a dedicated cooling system to cool and slow the engine. This is a double benefit by making the engine get the job done and saving your brake pads and rotors which will last much longer when you brake by simply taking your foot off the gas and allow the car to slow down in a more natural way.
Engine braking is also more efficient for your vehicle. Most fuel injected cars only inject fuel into the chamber when you’re pressing on the accelerator. Once you take your foot off the pedal the injection process stops, saving fuel and making your drive more efficient than it would be when you go from the accelerator to the brake for the process of slowing the car down. Yes, you would end the injection process by hitting the brakes, but you wouldn’t have the benefit of coasting for a length of time without your foot on the accelerator.
You can also avoid overheating your brakes when you’re on a long descent by using engine braking to slow down on these long downhill drives. This will allow you to avoid having your brakes begin to fade because of the warping and changes that take place when this area of your car overheats. There are actually no downsides to engine braking and you’ll be able to use this during your drive to help you make your brakes last longer and save fuel without ever adding any wear and tear to your engine. Try this next time you’re out driving and make it a habit because engine braking can help your car last much longer.