Most cars have a gearbox that is responsible for transmitting different levels of torque and speed to the wheels. The lower gears are used for starting off and acceleration, while the higher ones are used to maintain high speeds. In between these two extremes is neutral, which seems to be somewhat of a mystery for many drivers. This article will explore what neutral means in a car, and how to use it effectively.
Putting your car into neutral disengages the transmission gears from the output shaft, which means no engine power is being transmitted to the wheels. It is not recommended that you drive your car in neutral for extended periods of time, as this can cause unnecessary wear on the clutches and transmission. However, there are several scenarios in which it is a good idea to shift into neutral, including being stuck in traffic, going through a drive-thru car wash, or being towed without a dolly.
In manual-transmission cars, shifting into neutral allows you to take your foot off the gas and brake pedals – ideal if you have aching legs. It can also be useful if you’re parked on a hill and need to be pushed back down, as you can control the vehicle with its own momentum rather than having to use the brakes.
It is not recommended that you shift your car into neutral at red lights or while driving on the highway, as this can be very dangerous. You’ll have less control of the vehicle, and it’s much easier for your car to roll downhill in neutral than in drive. Additionally, it can cut off the flow of fuel to the engine, causing it to slow down and stop lubricating itself properly – which can result in serious damage over time.