Driving Useful tips

Is the heavy use of engine brakes bad for your car


We often hear that you should use engine braking on a descending slope, and there are sometimes signs recommending the use of engine braking next to the road.
However, if you frequently use engine brakes, will it not strain the engine or the car?

Impact on the engine

When you use engine brakes, the tachometer needle indicating the engine speed jumps up and the engine sound becomes loud, so you might wonder if the engine is ok.

However, even with heavy engine braking, modern cars engines suffer minimal negative impact.
But, caution is required as to how to apply the engine brakes.

Do not enter the red zone of the tachometer

Especially in the case of manual transmission cars, if you shift suddenly down from 5th gear to 2nd gear, for example, the engine speed will also rise suddenly.
At this time, if the engine speed enters the red zone, a big strain is imposed on the engine.
In the worst case, the engine will break.

Impact on Fuel Economy

Modern car engines have computers which decrease the supply of fuel to the engine when the accelerator pedal is released.
In this case, fuel consumption will be improved by using engine braking.

However, if acceleration/deceleration is repeated often, the number of repetitions of high revolution and low revolution of the engine increases, and fuel consumption will become worse.

Even though it is said that better utilisation of engine braking is better for fuel economy, you should avoid any driving that will result in accelerating and decelerating too frequently.

Can you use engine brakes even on flat roads?

Engine brakes can be used not only downhill, but also on flat roads.
However, there are points to note.

Natural braking

When stopping at a traffic signal or when lowering the speed according to the deceleration of the preceding car, use engine braking to gradually reduce the speed of the car and finally stop using the foot brake.

It will be smoother than stopping with only the foot brake and passengers will not suffer from any unnecessary forces.


You can reduce the wear of the brake pads and rotor by changing to the use of engine braking from decelerating using only the foot brake. You can even save a little exchange cost.

As mentioned above, you can also improve fuel economy.

Points to note

Brake lights

Engine braking is different from braking with the foot brake, in that the rear brake lights do not light up.
If you perform a sudden deceleration with only the engine brake, there is a possibility that you may collide with the following vehicle, so you should use the foot brake to illuminate brake lights as you decelerate.


Compared to engine braking by simply releasing the accelerator pedal, engine braking by shifting down gears has a strong braking force, so the car may suddenly lean forward and steering ability may be affected.

In this way, even if you frequently use engine brakes, there will be no problems if you are conscious of the points of caution.
You should use it well, in balance with the foot brake.

-Driving, Useful tips

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