Heading for a Stop Light

courtesy of Bob, The Auto Answer Man

Dear Bob,
Quite often I have arguments with my children about driving habits. When I am driving the car, if I see a red signal from a distance, I put the vehicle in neutral gear and let the car come to near stop before the signal. This gives me some time to reach the signal and come to a gradual stop. I prefer to use as little braking as possible. I do not switch off the engine.

My children, however, prefer to go almost full speed right up to the signal, brake and switch off the engine. They restart the engine when the signal turns green. My view is that my method of driving is better than theirs because there is less wear on the car system. Also restarting the car every now and then is strain on the battery.

Switching off the engine like that is the exact worse thing to do. The next worse thing to do is put the car in neutral. You see, by turning off the motor and then restarting it like that, you are creating havoc in the cooling system. My bet is that car will not last very long.

Now, about your transmission, is this an automatic or a manual? If an automatic, you are doing more harm than good by putting the car in neutral. You see, the pump stops spinning, and stops lubricating the transmission, however, you are still rolling. If this is a manual transmission, then that is okay, because it is designed to do that. Also, remember that brakes are cheaper to replace than a clutch.
Good Luck!
Drive Safely!
Bob, The Auto Answer Man

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